This week's Ravens loss came with more than the usual reminders of the flaws of this year's team, as two former Ravens wide receiver led the charge for the 49ers. Both of San Francisco's starting wideouts, 26 year old Torrey Smith and veteran Anquan Boldin spent most of the past five years in Baltimore.
While both left Baltimore due to financial concerns, with Boldin being traded in the offseason following the 2012 championship, and Torrey Smith leaving for a 5 year $35 million contract in free agency this past offseason, the Ravens have let the wide receiving corp's become a weakness. The year following Boldin's departure was the worst group in the Ravens history, with only Torrey Smith performing well. The Ravens brought in Steve Smith for 2014 which stabilized the unit for a season, but Torrey Smith left after his rookie contract expired, leaving a void. The Ravens drafted Breshad Perriman in the first round to replace him, but the rookie has yet to suit up, and with injuries to Steve Smith and Michael Campanaro, the unit has struggled to maintain consistent production.
Both Torrey Smith and Anquan Boldin showed the Ravens exactly what they are missing this past week, with Boldin posting 5 receptions for 102 yards on 9 targets, and Torrey Smith contributing 3 catches for 96 yards on 6 targets, including a beautiful 76 yard touchdown strike from QB Colin Kapernick halfway through the second quarter. The Ravens defensive backs had trouble staying with the 49ers receivers, especially recent 49er Shareece Wright, who Boldin said after the game they purposely targeted.
This Ravens team is severely flawed, and at this point it looks as if this year is going to be a year to grow and build for the future. While it is hard to watch, the ramifications of a salary cap are extremely hard to avoid at some point and this was seemingly inevitable. Most teams cannot withstand the losses of players like Torrey Smith, Boldin, Pernell McPhee, Arthur Jones, and Haloti Ngata and keep chugging along without missing a beat. Eventually it catches up to you.
As key parts to our Super Bowl run in 2012, this writer wishes players like Torrey Smith and Anquan Boldin well. I just wish they could do so without rubbing it in our faces!