Ravens vs. Chargers: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly from the Chargers Game
Well, yet another Baltimore Ravens nail-biter is in the books.
Once again, the Ravens were able to gut out a three-point road victory, as they did in Week 11 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh.
After an anemic offensive output in the first half, thanks in large part to Joe Flacco's road struggles and Cam Cameron's overly-conservative play-calling, the Ravens turned it on in the fourth quarter when their backs were to the wall.
They scored 10 points in the final 7:30 of the fourth quarter and rookie kicker Justin Tucker was able to boot home a 38-yard field goal to secure the win for the now 9-2 Ravens.
The Good: Baltimore's Defense
Christopher Hanewinckel-US PRESSWIRE
It was a magnificent game for Baltimore's defensive unit.
Other than Cary Williams getting burned for a lengthy touchdown pass, Baltimore held the San Diego Chargers to two field goals and was able to apply plenty of pressure on Phillip Rivers.
The Ravens sacked the Chargers QB six times, one of which came from Paul Kruger, who seems to have found his game, tallying his fourth sack in his last three contests.
Arthur Jones also made the most of his opportunity to start on the Ravens defensive line, picking up two sacks in the winning effort.
Brandon Ayanbadejo was also impressive late in the game, making some big-time clutch tackles and not allowing Chargers playmakers to gain yardage after contact.
It was nice to see such a complete effort from Baltimore's defense, something that hasn't been happening all that much so far this season.
The Bad: Pre-4th Quarter Joe Flacco
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It's amazing how different Joe Flacco looks at home and on the road, from being sacked at an alarming rate and being totally unaware of the pressure coming from his weak side to overthrowing balls by 15 yards when he's put under pressure.
Today, it was same-old, same-old for Flacco through three quarters of play.
While I applaud his tenacity and never-say-die attitude, and his ability to persevere and lead his team back to victory, the case can be made that watching the fourth quarter and overtime that the Ravens never should have needed to make such an improbable comeback. Heck, even during one of the drives that led to points he was sacked, forcing the Ravens to convert a 4th-and-29.
If Joe can find a way to play consistently well away from M&T Bank Stadium, there is no doubt that even with all the injuries on the defensive side of the ball that the Ravens are championship contenders.
Until then, the team will continue to struggle to squeak out games, and fans will continue to watch games with a sense of skepticism.
The Ugly: Cam Cameron's Play-Calling
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One has to wonder if some of Joe Flacco's struggles stem from his offensive coordinator Cam Cameron.
His incredibly conservative play-calling holds back Baltimore's offense far too much.
In fact, when Flacco and the Ravens were running a no-huddle offense early on, they picked up a few first downs before everything seemed to stall.
After a few possessions, the Ravens led the Chargers in first downs 4-1. By the end of the half? They had just five total first downs.
Cameron actually went from calling a fade pass for a tight end late in the first half to calling a fade pass to fullback Vonta Leach. Now that is getting creative.
In the city of Baltimore, Cam Cameron's name was trending throughout the game, and it was rare to find a tweet supporting the offensive coordinator.
What's worse is that once the Ravens were forced to be more aggressive when they were down 10 points with under eight minutes left, Flacco and the Ravens offense was able to succeed with more aggressive play-calling. This goes to show that the Ravens are a capable team on the offensive side of the ball. They just need to be allowed to execute.
Unfortunately, Cam Cameron's style doesn't allow for that to happen.