8 Crazy Things That Have Happened To Ravens This Season
The Ravens aren't playing well enough to win, but that doesn't mean they aren't also suffering from a case of bad fortune.
"It’s] almost incomprehensible bad luck,” said ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt on [Sports Center after the Ravens' Monday Night Football loss in Arizona.
All of the Ravens' six losses this season have been by one score, and the eight-point defeat to the Cardinals was the most lopsided of the year. The Ravens have had a chance to tie or take the lead in the final two minutes of every game.
You'd think with so many close games, Baltimore would have one or two more wins, but nothing seems to be bouncing the Ravens' way. Head Coach John Harbaugh hit the nail on the head last week when he said:
"We've been on a little bit of a roll here for crazy things happening to us. It's going to turn, because we're going to make it turn."
Only it didn't turn Monday night. In fact, the list just grew longer.
Last week, ESPN's Jamison Hensley started a list of all the Ravens craziness this season, and I added to it after some of last night's unthinkable calls:
1) Referee inexplicably missed John Urschel report as an eligible receiver: How? I just … how? Harbaugh said the referee said he didn't see Urschel report, so he threw the flag. The call knocked the Ravens back, killing momentum on the opening drive and the Ravens had to settle for a field goal. Baltimore wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. was asked about the officiating, and he gave the refs a two-star Yelp rating.
The Ravens always come out on the wrong side of the eligible receiver rules — ryan van bibber (@justRVB) October 27, 2015
2) Johnson goes crowd surfing:It's almost like defensive tackle Brandon Williams caught a fish, and then the slippery little sucker got loose after being taken off the hook and swam away … for 62 yards. Johnson never hit the ground, crowd surfing on Williams' 300-pound belly. But why wasn't the play called dead for stopping forward progress?
3) Sinkhole eats Justin Tucker's foot:It took the greatest turf monster known to mankind to end Tucker's two-year streak of making field goals inside the 50. When the sinkhole at Levi's Stadium took him down, the Ravens were trailing 19-13 in the fourth quarter. Had Tucker made the field goal, perhaps Flacco could have been working for a field goal instead of a touchdown on the game's final drive.
4) The 'stupid' and 'really dumb' interception: Perhaps the sinkhole wouldn't have mattered if it weren't for this Flacco turnover. Some have called it one of Flacco's worst picks of his career. He called it "stupid" and "dumb."
5) The butt catch: Cleveland tight end Gary Barnidge caught a ball with his ankles and butt after it was knocked out of his hands. The Ravens were leading at the time, 21-16, in the fourth quarter, and the play aided in the Browns' comeback run.
6) Perriman's pregame warmup: All teams experience injuries, but this is one of the few that actually qualify as "crazy." Breshad Perriman was only supposed to miss a couple days in training camp after a knee injury, but at least he was able to sprint routes during pregame warmups before the Week 3 matchup against the Bengals. He was looking good, and then reporters saw him pull up lame. Harbaugh said there was no new injury, but the rookie first-round pick had his knee reexamined and scoped after the warmups. There have been no signs of Perriman since.
7) Thumb penalty: Flacco converted on fourth-and-3 with a short pass to Smith when trailing the Bengals 28-24 with two minutes left. The first down was wiped off the board when guard Kelechi Osemele accidentally got his thumb stuck in Bengals linebacker Vincent Rey's facemask. It put the Ravens in fourth-and-17 on the next play, and Flacco's pass went incomplete.
8) Josh Scobee angers Snoop Dog:Most of the crazy plays this season have worked against the Ravens, but Steelers kicker Josh Scobee's missed field goals from 49 and 41 yards in a span of 83 seconds late in the Week 4 Thursday night game and kept the Ravens alive. The misses allowed Tucker to kick a game-tying field goal at the end of regulation and a game-winning field goal in overtime. Rapper and Steelers fan Snoop Dog wasn't pleased, and Scobee was subsequently released.
Ravens Mistakes Cost Them Again
You can't blame everything on bad fortune. The Ravens know they make their own luck with strong play, but instead they continue to shoot themselves in the foot.
"It's like a broken record," wrote The Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec. "The Ravens make enough plays to make it close. But they make too many mistakes to win."
The Ravens had one of the worst turnover margins in the league at No. 27 with a minus-five mark, and that was on display Monday night when Jeremy Ross fumbled on a punt return late in the first half, losing momentum and subsequently the lead. Then Flacco threw a game-sealing interception in the final seconds. Meanwhile, the Ravens defense didn't force the Cardinals to make any turnovers.
Baltimore also hurt itself with penalties (seven in first half for 54 yards) and allowed Arizona to rattle off 19 unanswered points.
Despite the turnovers and penalties, the Ravens were still in the game because of a strong first half (until the fumble) and blocking a punt in the fourth quarter.
"The Ravens can play with anybody and they'll remain a dangerous team as they play out the string," wrote Zrebiec. "But they also remain their own worst enemy."
Ross' Fumbling Dates Back To Detroit
Ross has played well in return duties since the Ravens activated him to the 53-man roster on Oct. 10, but his fumble Monday night served as a reminder of why the Detroit Lions released him.
Hensley pointed out that Ross fumbled three times on returns in Detroit.
"Ross' fumbling problems resurfaced," wrote Hensley. "He had been one of Baltimore's bright spots over the last couple of weeks before committing the first turnover in the game."
If Season Ended Today, Ravens Would Have No. 1 Overall Pick
Only two teams tie for the worst record in the league: the Ravens and Lions (1-6).
The Titans already had their bye week and still sit at 1-5.
If the season ended today, it looks like the Ravens would currently hold the edge over Detroit for the top spot.
"These things are fluid, but the Ravens look like they could easily end up with a high pick come April," wrote CBS Sports' Will Brinson.
Ravens Kill Smith Trade Rumors, So Another One Begins
Both the Ravens and Smith made it very clear: the 15-year receiver isn't going anywhere. Harbaugh said there was 'no chance’ the team would trade him away, and Smith said he'd quit before he went to a new team.
With that idea firmly killed, CBSSports.com's Jason La Canfora started a new trade idea. La Canfora thinks the Cardinals might want to approach General Manager Ozzie Newsome about potentially trading for outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil.
This is another trade idea that would shock me. The Ravens only have three healthy true outside linebackers as it is, and the idea is to stockpile pass rushers, not trade them away. Dumervil has two more years on his contract after this season, and next year's cap hit is reportedly identical to this season's at $7.38 million.
- "Don't blame this loss on the Baltimore Ravens' defense, for once, or on the officiating," wrote Hensley. "The Ravens' offense takes the brunt of the blame for their 26-18 loss to the Arizona Cardinals on Monday night. After struggling most of the second half, Baltimore had a shot to tie the game, but Flacco's floating pass to tight end Crockett Gillmore with six seconds left was intercepted by Tony Jefferson, sealing another close loss. It was reminiscent of the Ravens' season-opening loss in Denver, where a last-minute pass to Gillmore in the end zone was intercepted." [ESPN]
- "Sadly, the Ravens have gotten very good at playing losing football," wrote Peter Schmuck. "They were in the lead and gathering momentum in the first half when that fumbled punt turned the game around. They also gave up a huge chunk because they didn't keep playing to the whistle and, of course, committed too many penalties. And still, it came down to the last minute." [The Baltimore Sun]