Oh boy, I had to take a couple of days to cool off from this game to actually write about it. This was as frustrating of a loss as they come. The Baltimore Ravens marched into Heinz field Sunday night and should’ve come away with a win. There is no excuse for why they didn’t.
There’s nothing worse than being swept by the Steelers in a season. Last Christmas, the Ravens broke our hearts when they allowed Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown to march down the field in the last minute to win the game. One last defensive stop is all they needed.
This past off-season, it was clear what the Ravens wanted to build a team to stop Pittsburgh. They spent five of their seven draft picks on defensive players, despite clearly lacking play-makers on offense, and spending most of their money in free agency on defense as well by re-signing Brandon Williams to a big deal, they also signed players in the secondary: safety Tony Jefferson and cornerback Brandon Carr. So did this plan work? No. It sure didn’t.
Ravens fans everywhere had to watch nearly the exact same outcome this year. The defense needed one more stop, but they allowed Ben and Brown to march right down the field. It was absolutely sickening. Despite how well the defense has performed for the majority of the season, they failed to accomplish exactly what it was built for.
There are a few plays that could’ve changed the ending of this game in favor of Baltimore. A dropped interception by Terrell Suggs, which lead to three points for Pittsburgh. A missed opportunity for an interception by Marlon Humphrey, kicking a field on the first drive instead of Joe Flacco throwing an interception, and the most costly of all, Jeremy Maclin getting his feet down in bounds on the final drive. This would’ve put the Ravens in field goal range for Justin Tucker. It was a catch Maclin has no excuse not completing. The Ravens ended up losing by one point. If any of those plays are made, this is a different game.
As frustrating as this loss is, at least there are some positives to take away. For the second week in a row, we have seen an offensive explosion from the Ravens. They put up 38 points without a single turnover from the defense. Rookie CB Marlon Humphrey looked the part of a true number one corner, and the Ravens run defense was stout against the dangerous Le’Veon Bell. Not to mention how awesome Alex Collins continues to play. He is a weapon who can take Baltimore far in the playoffs if used correctly.
The bottom line is this. The Ravens had this game in the palm of their hands, but ultimately dropped it the same way they did this time last year. It’s a game that becomes more and more frustrating as you think about it. The players have already moved on to their next opponent however, the winless Cleveland Browns, and us fans should to. Baltimore has three easy games to finish the season, and if they win all of them as they should, they will finish 10-6 and most certainly land in the playoffs. If the offense continues their trend of late success, and the defense performs to the level we all know they can, this is a very dangerous team come January.