Even with their three consecutive losses, the Baltimore Ravens clinched a playoff berth this week. They owe thanks to the Dallas Cowboys who beat Pittsburgh Steelers, allowing them to advance the post season for the fifth straight year. The Ravens can still win the AFC North with one more win.
Making the playoffs is a good thing, losing three games in a row is not. The Ravens suffered a painful 34-17 loss to the Denver Broncos at home in Baltimore. It was the first time they lost three in a row since 2009.
The injured Ravens defense played against Peyton Manning; one of the best quarterbacks in the National Football League. It was hard to stop Manning’s powerful arm with a defense that looked like a piece of Swiss cheese and the Ravens offense couldn’t get the ball going.
Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco went 20 for 40 for 254 yards with two touchdowns. The offense only gained 119 yards in the first half; they had two turnovers which lead to 10 Denver points.
Running back Ray Rice had 12 carries for 38 yards. The Ravens had 56 yards rushing.
Their defense has been devastated by injuries and they lost another linebacker for the season when Jameel McClain suffered a spinal cord contusion on Sunday. Their linebackers are so banged up that they may have to sign another to place McClain.
Last week they fired offensive coordinator Cam Cameron; quarterbacks coach Jim Caldwell took over the position and wasn’t very effective against the Broncos.
Their last two games of the season will be challenging. First they face Super Bowl champion New York Giants. They end the season in Cincinnati where they will play AFC North rival Bengals who are fighting for a playoff spot.
Making the playoffs is always a goal, but after making them for the past four seasons, the Ravens need to finish the race and make it to the Super Bowl. They knocked on the door last season, but they didn’t get in.
Since it is the holiday season, it is my hope that some holiday magic will swarm over the Ravens and they figure out how to play like Ravens again. They can’t run out of gas yet, they’re not at their final destination…