The Ravens may think officiating is against them in every game, but they proved to have a lack of discipline in their loss to the Catatonic, uh Cardiac Cats (Bengals). The refs made it rain on the Ravens and their defense, 10 penalties for 76 yards, not to mention inexcusable penalties in the closing seconds of the game, resulting in a 17-14 loss.
While the Ravens were struggling to impose their will on the Bengals, the orange striped ones were playing with a heavy heart and determination to bring home the victory for their defensive coordinator, Mike Zimmer, who lost his wife unexpectedly 4 days prior. The Bengals effectively pushed back and played defense in a strategy that-resulted in another thrilling win for the down trodden, now rejuvenated franchise
Offensively, the Ravens left more to be desired on the field. QB Joe Flacco returned to earth and showed he is still only in his sophomore campaign, as he went 22-31 with 186 yards and 2 interceptions. There were two distinct plays that defined Flacco's lackluster performance: 1) in the first quarter near the goal line, Flacco tried to dime a pass to TE Todd Heap but was intercepted by CB Jonathan Joseph; 2) late in the fourth quarter, WR Mark Clayton had his man beat and Flacco let it fly – albeit too deep for Clayton's out reached hands.
The Bengals only allowed the Ravens one offensive touchdown. RB Ray Rice provided the bulk of rushing work with 69 yards on 14 carries. Rice also led the receiving corpses (featured on this week's episode of CSI: Baltimore) with 74 yards. It is easy to recognize that CC (Cameron) wants his offense to test the air quality but when your receivers are coughing up smog and not running up yardage, there is going to be a lack of points on the scoreboard. The Bengals put the game on Flacco's arm and dared the Ravens to beat them in the air.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Ravens couldn't get after QB Carson Palmer if he was standing in front of his center. Palmer had time to tweet, wave to his Boo in the stadium and throw dimes. The Ravens only managed to hurry Palmer 3 times and accumulated only one sack. The pass rush is not getting to the quarterback and is putting more pressure on the underperforming CB's Fabian Washington and Domonique Foxworth. Matty has this team predictably blitzing from the middle and it is becoming highly noticeable that he is not as creative as former DC Rex Ryan with his blitzing from the concession stand packages. The Ravens D gave up 403 yards of total offensive while Bengals RB Cedric Benson confirmed his resurrection from the Vacants where the Chicago Bears had buried him. Benson broke the 40 game streak of the Ravens not allowing a 100 yard rusher by cutting up the Nest for a buck 20. No likey the Organized Chaos efforts even despite, Ed Reed's patent jumping the route interception and scoring a touchdown.
While each side of the ball struggled against the heavy-hearted Bengals, it's the little things that equal a win or a loss. The Ravens are known for their highly aggressive play and are just looking to lay folks out. But there is something called controlled aggression that has not been apparent in two games. Some will say that the game versus New England had plenty of questionable calls. Like in any officiated sport, you have to sense for how the refs/officials are going to make it rain with the yellow flags and penalty calls. Adjustments are necessary and you can't be blowing up a loud-mouthed receivers after the whistle, Ray Lewis, in the closing seconds of the game. It's one thing to be aggressive in nature, but it's another to give up plays and yardage to teams when the game is on the line. HC Jim Harbaugh has to rein his players in because the task will not get any easier going on the road to the Vikings versus Brett Farve and Adrian Peterson in Week 6. Uncontrolled aggression will get you sittinng at home in January and the Bengals let it be known that the Corner, AFC North, is up for grabs.
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Written by Lea Anderson