The Ravens have fallen to 2-7 on the season after losing to the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday. Even though the game and entire season have been mired by a bunch of other issues, penalties have cropped up in every loss while disappearing in every win. With 9 games in the books, that can't be a coincidence any longer.
Let's rewind just a bit though. The Ravens were leading the game 20-19 in the final minute of play against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday. Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles was forced to throw into the middle of the field and with no timeouts, the clock was ticking it's final seconds off. The Jaguars got up to the line and snapped the ball quickly with little clarity on what everyone was supposed to do as the clock fell to 0:00. Bortles falls backwards and looks to be flustered as linebacker Elvis Dumervil is closing in and grabs him. Bortles would go down to the turf, but not before Dumervil would grab and yank on the quarterback's facemask. It would give the Jaguars a final play and an additional 15 yards, which would line them up for a 53-yard field goal.
But seriously, look at how egregious that penalty was. The entire offensive line was standing there looking around and even some of the receivers were doing the same. The Jaguars offense had no idea what was going on and the play certainly wasn't going to be the touchdown that would have been necessary to win the game. While a sack would have been icing to top the cake, just pressuring Bortles, who by that point had shown an inability to stay composed in those moments, would have sealed the win for the Ravens. Yet, 2-7 beckons for the Ravens.
The Ravens would finish the game against the Jaguars with 9 penalties and 122 yards against them. With all of the Ravens games being down to the final drive, the added 100+ yards in their losses can easily be pointed to as the difference between a win and a loss for this team. In fact, let's look at each and every game played by the Ravens in the 2015 season and see how many penalties they had along with the outcome.
- Ravens vs Broncos (13-19): 3 penalties - 15 yards
- Ravens vs Raiders (33-37): 10 penalties - 109 yards
- Ravens vs Bengals (24-28): 13 penalties - 116 yards
- Ravens vs Steelers (23-20): 4 penalties - 30 yards
- Ravens vs Browns (30-33): 12 penalties - 98 yards
- Ravens vs 49ers (20-25): 3 penalties - 15 yards
- Ravens vs Cardinals (18-26): 9 penalties - 64 yards
- Ravens vs Chargers (29-26): 5 penalties - 46 yards
- Ravens vs Jaguars (19-22): 9 penalties - 122 yards
While definitely not the full answer, it is pretty clear that the Ravens win when they have under 50 yards in penalties and they lose outside of that. Their 2 wins come at a combined 9 penalties for 76 yards, an average of 4.5 penalties for 38 yards per win. Their 7 losses come at a combined 59 penalties for 539 yards, or an average of 8.4 penalties for 77 yards per game.
The penalties and yards can speak to a lot of things for this team, but mostly it speaks to inexperience and undisciplined play. Either way, guys aren't staying calm, cool, and collected and are finding themselves complaining about penalty flags hitting the turf. Once the Ravens can clean up their act, they will have a much better shot at winning these close contests and finishing closer to .500 than where they are now.