Last Monday, the Ravens lost an embarrassing and downright unacceptable game to the Jacksonville Jaguars, 12-7. This was one of the most pathetic displays of football I've ever seen, and we frankly did not deserve to win. The defense played the way they needed to for most of the game, but the offense could simply not get things together. Jaguars K Josh Scobee hit two field goals from 54 yards in the first half, and it was 6-0 at the half. After another long Scobee field goal in the third, the Ravens needed to get it together, and quickly. That didn't happen until late in the fourth, when Joe Flacco finally decided to wake up. He found Anquan Boldin in the end zone, and with two minutes left, the Ravens were in striking distance. After Scobee nailed it through the uprights yet again, Flacco was faced with one final chance to put the Ravens on top and get out of Jacksonville with a win. But on just the second play of the drive, Flacco's pass was picked off by Drew Coleman, and the Jaguars pulled off the upset. With a loss like this, one must wonder, who is to blame? The immediate responsibility is put on the shoulders of the offensive leaders who were unable to get it going, Flacco and offensive coordinator Cam Cameron. Ravens fans can look at Flacco and say that this is a learning experience for a quarterback that is still young, but that excuse won't last long. Flacco has had these kinds of games before, and we keep waiting for him to learn from it, and it is a big problem that that hasn't happened yet. As for Cameron, my tolerance is quickly diminishing. One stat from this game that really jumped out at me was Ray Rice, or maybe the lack of Ray Rice. He got just 8 carries Monday night, the lowest since he became the Ravens' starter. When the biggest playmaker on this team gets only eight touches, it will be hard to win. Rice needs to be incorporated much more.
Player of the Game: Jaguars K Josh Scobee-4/4, all from 50+ yards
Last Week's Key to the Game: Last week, I said the Ravens needed to stop Maurice Jones-Drew. He put up over 100 rushing yards, torching the Ravens defense at the biggest moments of the game, and leading the Jaguars offense to a win.
Next week, the Ravens will host the 1-5 Arizona Cardinals, a struggling team who will have a tough task ahead of them. The Ravens will be extremely hostile and in need of a breakout performance after their game last week. That hostility and anger needs to come out on the gridiron Sunday afternoon. Simply said, I would not want to be an Arizona Cardinal on the field this weekend. Former Raven fan favorite Todd Heap makes his first return to the Charm City, so if he plays, expect quite an ovation for "Heaaap." Heap bought a half-page color ad in the Baltimore Sun thanking the Ravens organization and the Ravens fans on Friday. A classy act from a classy guy. As for the rest of the Cardinals offense, they could be in some trouble. RB Beanie Wells is not expected to play, which puts a lot of pressure on QB Kevin Kolb, who will be facing an angry Ravens defense. Kolb's main target is WR Larry Fitzgerald, who has established himself as one of the top receivers in the league, and could become an important factor for Sunday's outcome. On defense, the Cardinals have a potentially dangerous defensive line, that could cause problems for a struggling Joe Flacco. Their linebacking corps is weak, but they have one of the most underrated safeties in Adrian Wilson, and young cornerback Patrick Peterson, yet another dangerous combination. In one of the more intriguing matchups, Peterson will be facing Anquan Boldin, who is facing his former team for the first time. I have a feeling the Ravens will bounce back well, and put quite a vengeful beatdown on a weak Cardinals team, winning 27-10.
Key to the Game: The Ravens offense needs to put more points on the board, and Joe Flacco needs to help lead that attack. By sustaining drives, putting 7 points on the board, and giving our hard-working defense a break, this becomes a much easier game to win.
Key Matchups for Cardinals at Ravens
Ravens CB Jimmy Smith vs. Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald Edge: Fitzgerald
Ravens S Ed Reed vs. Cardinals QB Kevin Kolb Edge: Reed
Ravens WR Anquan Boldin vs. Cardinals CB Patrick Peterson Edge: Boldin
Ravens T Marshal Yanda vs. Cardinals DE Darnell Dockett Edge: Yanda
LB Dannell Ellerbe-Thigh-OUT
WR Lee Evans-Ankle-OUT
G Ben Grubbs-Ankle-OUT
CB Danny Gorrer-Thigh-QST
S Kerry Rhodes-Foot-OUT
RB Beanie Wells-Knee-QST
WR Early Doucet-Quad-QST
TE Todd Heap-Hamstring-QST
LB Joey Porter-Knee-QST
Well, that's it for this week's version of my Ravens Report, see you next week and Go Ravens!