Baltimore Ravens vs. Chicago Bears Report Card
Baltimore Ravens Post-Game Report Card
The Baltimore Ravens rediscovered their ground attack in the loss to the Chicago Bears, and all it took was a game against the league's second-worst rush defense to do it. Poor run D or not, the Ravens have to hope Ray Rice's 131-yard day was something they can build on, as incredibly, Baltimore is only one game out of the playoffs in spite of the defeat.
In a bizarre game that took nearly five-and-a-half hours to complete, the Ravens could not escape Chicago with a win after staking out an early ten-point lead. Unlike the previous week against the Cincinnati Bengals where they blew a double-digit lead but escaped with an overtime victory, the Ravens could not hold on in this one as frustrated fans will face another week of “what-ifs” and “should haves.”
After an intense series of storms that caused fans, players, coaches and refs alike to seek shelter, strong winds and rains persisted throughout the game. Players slipped and slid, as the refs tried literally to hold onto their hats .
In the end, a couple of drops, a fumbled snap and two Joe Flacco interceptions were enough to seal the victory for the Bears. Rice came up just short of carrying the Ravens to victory as he had done countless time before in seasons past.
The running game was strong while the secondary stepped up and shut down the Bears' trio of giant receivers. Who else stepped up and who deserves blame for the Ravens' sixth loss of the season? Find out in the following slides.
Alexander Diegel is a columnist for Rant Sports. You can follow him on Twitter @ItsaDiegel, "like" him on Facebook or add him to your network on google
For the second week in a row, Flacco had two interceptions and a completion percentage in the mid-50s. However, his performance was not as bad as the raw statistics would suggest. His receivers had some crucial drops on on some big throws, and a muffed snap forced Flacco to miss the tight window Torrey Smith had at the back of the end zone that could have won the game, not to mention the adverse effect of the wind on his throws. By no means was it a great day, just not a terrible one.
Ray Rice looked like a three-time Pro Bowler again, not the guy the Ravens found from the mall to wear his jersey for the first nine games of the season. Rice looked as explosive as ever and gained nearly as many yards on the ground in this game as he had in the previous nine combined.
Bernard Pierce, on the other hand, had another subpar game with just 18 yards on ten carries, as it appears he just may not be the guy the organization thought he was after a promising rookie season. Still, the "Rice is done" talk can be put on hold for at least a week in Baltimore after the team's best day on the ground all season.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
On a day when the quarterback desperately needed his receivers to help him out, Tandon Doss had two crucial third-down drops to end drives for the Ravens. Torrey Smith stepped up as a possession receiver with five catches and caught Flacco's lone touchdown pass, while Dallas Clark made a nifty one-handed snag. The weather indicated there was not going to be a lot of production in the passing game, but the drops might have cost the Ravens this game.
It might have taken the a poor rush defense to do it, but the Ravens finally generated some production in the running game as the line paved the way for Rice's first 100-yard game of the season. The pass blocking was better as well, though new addition Eugene Monroe joined a long list of linemen to be abused by Julius Peppers, who accounted for two of Chicago's three sacks.
No sacks and just two tackles for loss came from this unit. Matt Forte had a solid but unspectacular day, minus his highlight-reel touchdown run. The D-Line wasn't dominated, but they didn't dominate either.
Terrell Suggs' blistering pace to the season has slowed as he was held without a sack for the second straight game. Breakout acquisition Daryl Smith was relatively quiet in this one as well, and in all the linebackers had their least disruptive game of the year. This unit was also the biggest culprit in Forte's tackle-breaking touchdown run.
The defensive backs did a standout job of containing the Bears' trio of 6-foot-3 receivers, as only Alshon Jeffery did anything to write home about. However, it's tough to tell how much of that was due to the tight coverage or the windy conditions. Jeffery likely would have turned a big gain in the middle of the field into a long touchdown had he not slipped in the soggy turf coming out of his break.
Though the unit did not get burned they did not create any turnovers against the Bears' backup quarterback, either.
Legendary return man Devin Hester was silent, so that was a huge plus for the special teams. Justin Tucker hit both of his field goals, including a 52 yarder. All in all, there were not any big plays created nor were there any given up.
John Harbaugh again made a costly, over-aggressive call late in the first half that led to Bears field goal. It's easy to play the "what-if" game, but when you lose a tight game questionable calls that don't go your way are going to be magnified. Special teams Coordinator Jerry Rosburg's unit executed well, only giving Hester two returns out of seven opportunities.