Frustration builds in Ravens' locker room
It’s time once again to hand out grades to the offense after the Ravens’ 24-18 loss at Cleveland. Even after a bye week, the Ravens still look like they need to stay after school for extra help. The report card:
Joe Flacco’s final numbers –- 24-of-41, 250 yards, two touchdowns, 82.4 rating –- disguise how poorly he played. Yes, he faced some pressure, but Flacco was off target from the very beginning, throwing behind runners and missing open ones. His 46-yard pass to Torrey Smith should have been a touchdown, but it was underthrown and Smith had to slow down and wait for the ball. Some of the past passing game struggles have been on the receivers. At Cleveland, Flacco’s accuracy was the biggest problem.
RUNNING BACKS: F
The Ravens insisted that Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce would come out of the bye week healthy and rested and ready to go. They went nowhere and pretty much looked exactly as they have all season. Rice (11-17) and Pierce (6-11) totaled 28 rushing yards on 17 carries. On one play, Pierce plowed right into the back of tackle Michael Oher. Both backs had issues in pass protection and Rice was also a nonfactor as a receiver. He had an 18-yard stat-padder on the final play of the game, but otherwise had two catches for 3 yards. No more excuses; this is officially a crisis.
OFFENSIVE LINE: D
The Ravens again failed to generate any push on the ground, with the running backs again hit way too often behind the line of scrimmage. Pass protection was adequate at times, but at other times the Browns swarmed the backfield. Flacco was sacked five times, hit eight times, and scrambled away to turn three other potential sacks into gains.
TIGHT ENDS: D
Once again, the tight ends were a nonfactor. Ed Dickson and Dallas Clark each made one catch. Dickson couldn’t quite haul in one pass that hit his outstretched hand, and on another throw his way, he never quite turned for the ball. He and Flacco did not seem to be on the same page in terms of the route.
WIDE RECEIVERS: C+
Rookie Marlon Brown won the day for the otherwise anemic offense. He caught both touchdown catches and used every inch of his 6-foot-5 frame to haul in a two-point conversion grab. Brown finished with five catches for 54 yards. Torrey Smith had five catches for 78 yards, and would have scored a touchdown if Flacco hadn’t underthrown a deep ball. All five active receivers made contributions. Deonte Thompson even got involved, with three catches for 24 yards, but the receivers were not helped by Flacco’s inaccuracy.