Injuries and bad play have plagued the Ravens all season long, but despite going into Sunday’s game with a 4-8 record the Ravens have been in every game. Each game the Ravens have played this season, win or loss, was decided by one score. but that did not happen on Sunday.
The first half was not great, but the Ravens managed to go into halftime only trailing the Seahawks by eight points with the score 14-6. However, the Ravens were shutout in the second half and allowed Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson to take over. Wilson finished the game with five touchdown passes and was not sacked once.
This game was a huge reality check for the Ravens. Many were praising the team for its improved play over the last several weeks. The defense was playing better as a unit, the running game was improving with the emergence of Buck Allen and even the special teams unit was being praised for their big plays, particularly in the Browns game two weeks ago.
I’m not trying to be negative here, but look who the Ravens have been playing in the last few weeks: The Rams, the Browns and the Dolphins. In that span, the Ravens went 2-1 and those two wins were against some of the worst offenses in the NFL.
In their game against the Rams, the Ravens held running back Todd Gurley to 66 rushing yards, but the Rams have the worst passing offense in the NFL and started backup quarterback Case Keenum. The Browns have the league’s 27th ranked defense that is 30th against the run. The Ravens held quarterback Josh McCown to 212 passing yards and only one touchdown, but after McCown left the game with a collarbone injury they let Austin Davis go right down the field and throw for a touchdown in the time Davis saw. The Dolphins game was a defensive battle but the Ravens had the ball in Miami territory twice late in the game and could not find a way to score. Matt Schaub was also hit eleven times and sacked three times, and missed the game on Sunday because of how beat up he was. Buck Allen had a great game, rushing for 63 yards and catching twelve passes for 107 yards and a touchdown.
However, on Sunday the Seahawks dominated the Ravens and Baltimore’s true colors were shown. As mentioned, the secondary was horrendous and allowed Wilson to throw for five touchdowns. The “improved” running game? Held to 28 combined yards rushing. Buck Allen had 14 of those and fumbled the fall once. Quarterback Jimmy Clausen, making his first start for the Ravens, finished with 274 passing yards but turned the ball over once and failed to score a touchdown in his second game facing the Seahawks this season.
Sunday’s loss mathematically eliminates the Ravens from the playoffs as they now have a 4-9 record on the season. This is now officially the Ravens first losing season under head coach John Harbaugh, who is in his eighth season coaching the team. The last time the Ravens finished with a losing record was in 2007 when they went 5-11 in Brian Billick’s last season as head coach.
Now, the Ravens will play three games that are not meaningful in terms of the postseason. Expect them to keep playing hard, because if they do not some players could find themselves without a job as the season comes to a close. It certainly will not be an easy finish to the season. The Ravens will play their final three games against three AFC teams that have winning records and have something to play for.
The Ravens play two more games at home and then go on the road for their last game of the season. Up next is the Chiefs (8-5), who have won seven straight games and currently have the #5 seed in the playoffs. They still have a chance to win the AFC West, as they are only two games behind the Broncos (10-3).
After Kansas City, the Steelers (8-5) come to town, and they are “in the hunt” for a Wild Card spot. The Jets (8-5) currently have the #6 seed in the playoffs. With Andy Dalton’s potentially season-ending thumb injury, it is still possible that the Steelers could still overtake the Bengals (10-3) for the division crown. Plus, Pittsburgh is already be upset with how the week 4 game ended (Hello Josh Scobee, how ya doing?).
The Ravens last game of the season will be in Cincinnati against the Bengals. The Ravens have not won in Cincinnati since 2011 and the Bengals have beaten the Ravens four straight times. Cincinnati is also trying to lock up the AFC North and potentially a first-round bye, so it is going to be hard for the Ravens to win another game the rest of the way.
The 2015 season will be one to forget when it is all said and done. Hopefully, this game against Seattle will be the one that sticks out as the worst and the Ravens play with a sense of pride the rest of the season. At this point, I do not expect them to win another game. I do, however, expect them to fight hard and stay in every game, something they did not do yesterday.
Thanks for reading,