Bengals Sweep Ravens: AFC North Out of Reach for Baltimore?
Where do I start...
This is an emotionally draining loss that could have very well put our playoffs hopes down the toilet. The Bengals physically dominated Baltimore all afternoon. After a game last week against the Broncos where it seemed the Ravens' vaunted defense was back, they once again fell on their faces.
This one seemed more humiliating then ever.
The Ravens once again allowed a 100-yard rusher, this time to the man who broke the streak in week five. This man is Cedric Benson. He rushed for 117 yards on 34 attempts and one touchdown. It was just a frustrating afternoon for Ravens players and fans alike.
Offense: The offense just never seemed to establish a groove all afternoon. Flacco was consistently harassed, the line couldn't open holes for the backs, and receivers just couldn't get open. Johnathan Joseph did a tremendous job blanketing Derrick Mason all over the field. Ray Rice once again had a good day receiving. He was our only weapon who could actually get open. Todd Heap, Mark Clayton and Kelley Washington caught a combined four balls for 53 yards.
Key: Joe Flacco threw two interceptions on a pass defense that was ranked 28th coming into the game. The Bengals also kept Flacco from throwing a touchdown for the first time this season. It was Flacco's worst game of 2009.
Defense: Just another bad game from the unit formerly known as "Organized Chaos." The linebackers were consistently out of place to bring down the ball carrier. The line couldn't apply consistent pressure or clog any holes for the linebackers to rome free. Carson Palmer carved up the secondary all through the first quarter. These corners are just not serviceable.
Every play Dominique Foxworth was getting shaken out of his cleats by Chad OchoCinco. Fabian Washington is just soft. I hate to say it because I'm a huge Ravens fan, but it's time to start benching people. I'd like to see the rookie Ladarius Webb start for the rest of the season. Even with the bad day from the secondary, Webb seems like a bright spot.
Key: The Ravens missed mammoth nose tackle Haloti Ngata, the line was just physically dominated. Kelley Gregg just isn't the same player coming back from that knee injury. The line couldn't keep the pressure on Palmer, which is strange because we paid Terrell Suggs a HUGE contract for being such a dangerous pass rusher. Well, Suggs has fallen off the face of the Earth this season with only 3.5 sacks.
All in all, no particular person or side of the ball can be pinned for this lost. This was a TEAM lost. We got our butts handed to us on both sides of the ball. The Playoffs are light-years away. The defense needs change and immediately. The Offense needs to get back on track. The Ravens, need to look at themselves in the mirror. This team has a great veterean core, so there's still a chance at an 8-8 season. They just have to play like a Raven.
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