The Baltimore Ravens clinched a playoff spot on Sunday when the Dallas Cowboys defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers 27-24, but the team’s confidence is fading.After starting the season 9-2, the Ravens have dropped three-straight games, which easily could have been four if it wasn’t for an improbable 30-yard catch and run by Ray Rice on a 4th-and-29 against the San Diego Chargers.
Joe Flacco said it best following the Raven’s 34-17 loss to the Broncos at home on Sunday, via the Baltimore Sun:
“We’re a 9-5 football team and it feels like we’re 0-14 right now.”
Out of the seven teams that have clinched playoff spots so far, the Ravens are in the worst shape, and yesterday proved it.
Against the playoff-bound Broncos, Baltimore fell flat. They failed to pick up a first down until midway through the first half and were shut out in the half after Flacco’s pass on the four-yard line was intercepted for a 98-yard Broncos touchdown.
It’s been a troubling few weeks for the Ravens, who once looked like a lock to compete for the AFC Championship. Their usually stout defence has been riddled with injuries and exposed in every facet of the game over the last three weeks. They were torched by Knowshon Moreno this week against Denver, Alfred Morris last week against Washington, Charlie Batch three weeks ago against Pittsburgh.
With the defence ranked 26th in the league, this needs to be the year that the Ravens’ offence finally carries them.
After 10 weeks that didn’t seem so far-fetched, but hope is quickly fading.
A week after offensive coordinator Cam Cameron was fired, Flacco’s struggles continued. He had an electric start to the season, but has struggled in the big moments of games in the last three weeks.
This team can only go as far as Flacco can take it, yet he has completed less than 55% of his passes in the last three losses, compared to 60.2% the rest of the season. He proved capable last season, bringing the Ravens to the brink of the Super Bowl until a missed field goal dashed their hopes, but his erratic play from seasons past has popped up once again.
The Ravens need just one win to clinch the division, but if nothing changes their playoff stay will be brief.