Patriots 27, Ravens 21: The Blame Game

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Patriots 27, Ravens 21: The Blame Game

I’ll get to a more complete review of the game tomorrow, along with our not-so-standard game balls. But for now, it’s time to play something we like to call The Blame Game.

Offensive Play Calling / Cam Cameron: 40%.

Dear Cam, take a look at the numbers. Your offense ran the ball just 17 times for more than 100 yards, averaging 6.8 yards per rush. Meanwhile, you threw the ball 47 times for 264 yards, averaging just 5.6 yards per attempt. What does that mean? That our rushing game was actually far more effective than our passing game.

I don’t know that anyone thought the winning team in this game would come out with fewer than 25 rushing attempts… let alone fewer than 20. The Pats, despite managing only 85 yards, ran the ball 30 times. Where was Le’Ron McClain on 4th and short?

And please don’t give me that “game circumstances forced us into a different mode.” First, the lack of balance was apparent from the first moment of the game - the Ravens managed just 7 rushes in the first half. But additionally, the Ravens were never anywhere close to being out of this game. The rushing attack should have been featured more prominently. Period. It’s been said since our Week 1 victory against Kansas City.

Third Down Penalties: 25%.

I’m doing my best to not put blame on the refs. It truly wasn’t the refs fault (at least not most of the time). But despite being stout on defensive third downs throughout the game, the Ravens continued to give the Pats second chances. The second roughing call on Brady was extremely questionable. I heard it justified with a “if Brady doesn’t move his leg, he gets hit.” I didn’t know the NFL gave out penalties for almost roughing the quarterback.

Regardless of the calls, the Ravens need to be better about keeping their play in check. The defense looked confused and overmatched at various times and penalties are a symptom of that disorganization. Good teams don’t give second chances.

Meanwhile, a big kudos to John Harbaugh for letting the refs have it on some of the game’s more questionable calls.

Mark Clayton: 15%.

I’m trying to hold off on Clayton a bit here. If the Ravens perform better earlier in the game, if they play their game for three quarters, the team shouldn’t even be in that kind of position. But regardless, Clayton dropped the biggest pass of the game.  It was a great play call, a great route and a rocket pass to Clayton’s hands. Top receivers are paid to make those catches. We’re still waiting for you to prove yourself, Mark.

Chris Carr: 10%.

Carr has yet to be anything but a disappointment on special teams this season. We haven’t seen speed. We haven’t seen agility. We haven’t seen brilliant insight or smart moves. Until today, the most we had seen was the failure to make mistakes. Oops.

Carr’s fumble on the opening kick-off set up a long day for the Ravens. Instead of walking on the field, ready to establish the game’s tempo, Carr handed that opportunity to the Patriots. And it gave Belichick an early look at the Ravens D.

Dawan Landry: 10%.

Landry looked lost on the field for the second time this season. He was confused in Week 2 by the Chargers and looked similarly bothered by the Patriots schemes. He did a fine job in helping double Randy Moss and Wes Welker at various times throughout the game, but it didn’t make up for his mistakes.

Landry’s biggest mistakes cost the Ravens. Early in the game it was a pair of missed tackles on consecutive plays, leading to a Sammie Morris touchdown. The Ravens didn’t have any points to give away today.

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