Frustrations, Absentees In Locker Room
Frustration oozed from the Ravens locker room after Sunday's 24-18 loss to the Cleveland Browns.
That was the sentiment from players who addressed the media. A couple Ravens, however, were absent.
Neither Terrell Suggs nor Ray Rice wanted to talk after the game, as Suggs declined comment while leaving the stadium and Rice was gone before reporters got into the locker room.
"It's time for players to stand up, not sneak out," wrote ESPN's Jamison Hensley.
Rice and Suggs stood up after the Ravens' Week 7 loss to the Steelers before the bye, and Suggs said his team was in a "state of emergency." Now, the Ravens are 3-5, and in third place in the AFC North.
Rice insisted that he felt healthy going into Cleveland after dealing with a hip injury for several weeks, but he finished with just 17 rushing yards on 11 attempts.
The rest of the locker room was gloomy.
"Ravens cornerback Corey Graham buried his face in his hands in the locker room Sunday night, occasionally shaking his head in apparent sadness and bewilderment," noted The Baltimore Sun's Aaron Wilson.
In the video below (mobile users tap "View in Browser"), cornerback Lardarius Webb barely spoke above a whisper with his hoodie sweatshirt pulled over his head.
"Can you remember a time where you've been this [frustrated]?" CSNBaltimore.com's Brent Harris asked Webb. "It clear, it's on your face that [your] frustrated."
"No, I can't remember," Webb said shortly.
Joe Flacco also admitted that he was frustrated, but with the division-leading Cincinnati Bengals traveling to M&T Bank Stadium next week, the Ravens still have a chance of turning things around and the quarterback believes his team has to move forward.
"You've got to be positive," Flacco said. "You've got to keep your head and eyes forward, and that's what we're doing to do."
GIFs Of The Game
Below are some of the top GIFs from the Ravens-Browns showdown:* *
Bess Breaks Webb's Ankles
Browns receiver Davone Bess caught a 20-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter after a nasty juke on Webb. "Someone might want to check on Webb's ankles," wrote SB Nation's Ryan Van Bibber, who provided the GIF below. "He got them snapped by Davone Bess."
Little Taunts Ihedigbo, Throws Helmet
These two didn't get along very well all afternoon. Following a scrum in the first quarter, Greg Little pulled off James Ihedigbo's helmet and launched it a few yards down the field, drawing a 15-yard penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct. Later on, Little was flagged again, this time for taunting, as he egged on Ihedigbo with a hand gesture after he was pushed out of bounds. Ihedigbo took a jab at Little in the locker room after the game. "He was trying to be a tough guy," Ihedigbo said. "Some guys that aren't tough try to prove that they're tough. It's all good. I wasn't worried about that."
Ngata personal foul penaltyHaloti Ngata drew an unnecessary roughness penalty when he simply landed on top of quarterback Jason Campbell while trying to make a diving tackle. Campbell played with injured ribs the rest of the way (he'll get X-rays today), but didn't take issue with Ngata's play. "He's not a dirty player," Campbell said, per ESPN. "He's a really good, standup football player." However, the Ravens did take issue with the penalty. "Haloti is in the air while Jason Campbell is in the air," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "Jason's running and because he ends up landing on him it's hard for me to understand why that's called."
Hensley: Flacco Now A Part Of The Problem
Until now, analysts had mostly pointed blame for the Ravens' losses at everyone except Flacco.
But after Sunday's defeat, Hensley said that Flacco was a part of the problem.
"Flacco is getting paid to be an elite quarterback," the ESPN blogger wrote. "He obviously isn't playing like one. The disturbing part is he doesn't play with the same confidence he carried in the Ravens' Super Bowl run earlier this year …
"He sleepwalked through the game's first 29 minutes. He struggled to throw the ball deep. And he didn't show any killer instinct in the final seconds of the game."
That said, Hensley acknowledged that even if Flacco was playing at the level of other elite quarterbacks like Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady, the Ravens still wouldn't be a playoff team because of so many other issues.
"If you want to single out Flacco because of his $120 million contract, I can give you 120 more reasons why Baltimore has its worst record (3-5) at the midway point in coach John Harbaugh's six seasons," Hensley wrote.
Phil Taylor: Ravens Not Going To Win Like That
Browns nose tackle Phil Taylor has some advice for the Ravens after his team snapped an 11-game losing streak against the AFC North rival.
With a struggling run game, the Ravens have moved toward a more spread offensive attack with three wide receivers. That change has meant less playing time for Pro Bowl fullback Vonta Leach, who saw just two offensive snaps Sunday.
"What they did, they changed their offense up," Taylor said, per the Cleveland Plain Dealer. "Leach probably had two or three offensive snaps. They're not going to win like that, and we know we could take advantage of them."
Flacco was the Ravens' leading rusher, garnering 25 of the 55 total running yards on the day.
Taylor backed up teammate Joe Haden's comment last week that the Ravens aren't the Ravens of old.
"They're just not, like Joe said, and I said too, they're not the same team as they were last year," Taylor said. "I don't know what's going on, but they're not the same team."
The last time the two teams met, things got feisty with Taylor accusing Rice of spitting on him. Taylor slapped Rice in the helmet, drawing a 15-yard penalty.
It seemed the two squashed the animosity this time around.
"He came up to me, shook my hand," Taylor said. "We're good."
- "So much for the bye week solving the Ravens' problems," wrote Clifton Brown. "So much for the Ravens never losing to Cleveland. Let's be real. People in Ravens country know what a contender looks like. And halfway through their 16-game schedule, the 2013 Ravens (3-5) don't look like contenders. Put all talk about getting back to the Super Bowl on the backburner. In fact, put talk about getting back to the playoffs on the backburner, unless the Ravens get back to .500." [CSNBaltimore.com]
- "Well, we all thought that this game would say a lot about this Ravens team, and it did," wrote Peter Schmuck. "It said that – after spending two weeks trying to figure things out – they still are not a very good football team, and they probably won't be extending the John Harbaugh-era playoff streak. They have fallen behind the Cleveland Browns in the AFC North standings, for God's sake. Enough said." [The Baltimore Sun]
- The state of the Steelers locker room wasn't much better than the Ravens locker room after they gave up 55 points in a loss to the Patriots yesterday. "Mike Tomlin, his jaw clenched, offered terse answers after one of the more embarrassing losses in his seven years as head coach," wrote Scott Brown. Tomlin told reporters that he was "angry" and that players who "lack effort" won't be playing anymore. [ESPN]
- @mzenitz: Only four teams in the AFC have a record worse than the Ravens at this point [Twitter]
- @GerrySandusky: Danger of cliché's. Ravens Arthur Jones: "The best way to get out of a hole is to grab a shovel and dig." No, probably not the best idea. [Twitter]
- @CliftonBrownCSN: Opposing quarterbacks continue going at Lardarius Webb this season, and they are having success. #RavensTalk [Twitter]
- @PMGleason: 51-yard FG by @jtuck9 is good. Tucker is now 6-of-7 from 50-plus during his career. #Ravens [Twitter]
- @BaltimoreLuke: Torrey Smith is easily the best receiver the #Ravens have, but where would they be without undrafted rookie Marlon Brown? [Twitter]
- @RavensInsider: Heard that Joe Flacco wasn't sharp in at least one practice this week as well, now carrying over to gameday. [Twitter]