Think about it. Whether the offense decides to wake up in the second half or if they choose to start early, one side of the football is never in sync with the other. On Sunday, the Ravens saw an offensive effort that provided their fourth scoreless first quarter of the 2013 NFL season. It also showed a defense that gave up over 400 total yards to the Packers and when the offense needed the defense to make a crucial stop to keep them in the game, Baltimore finally bent too far.
Want to know the storylines I drew from Sunday’s game?
First, if you can’t score from a yard away, you don’t deserve to win the football game … period. I can’t fault Ravens head coach John Harbaugh for taking the gamble and trying to gain some momentum against the Packers. Plus, given the way the defense was playing at that point of the game, you’d like the chances of being able to pin down the Packers in their own zone and continue to win the field position battle.
Second, the team was just 2-for-14 on third-down conversions. You have to wonder if a stat like this one not only drains a defense physically, but disheartens and frustrates an offense mentally.
The Ravens haven’t been able to sustain long drives that have become trademarks and staples of this offense for quite some time. Maybe it’s the fact that run game coordinator Juan Castillo uses zone-blocking schemes as opposed to the power game, relying on pulling guards and tackles to create holes. Or maybe the talent isn’t all that good.
Whatever the corrections that have to be made our, one thing is certain: Baltimore is 3-3 and has won ugly games because they still don’t have an identity … on either side of the football.
At times, they show flashes of the throwback, lunch pail defense they were in previous seasons, but other times, they show flashes of what the defense was during the 2012 regular season — average. Offensively, there is no balance or creativity offensively, but it’s hard to get creative when you can’t run the football.
Heading into an always big rivalry game against the 1-4 Pittsburgh Steelers in the Steel City in Week 7, the Ravens must figure out who they are before they try and look ahead to the big picture that is making the playoffs for the sixth straight year.