Terrell Suggs Couldn't Sleep Last Night
Sunday's season-opening roller coaster ride against the Cincinnati Bengals led to at least one sleepless night.
If you're groggy and dragging yourself into work on this Monday morning, it may mean you found yourself with eyes wide open in the wee hours of the morning like defensive leader Terrell Suggs following his team's emotional 23-16 loss to the defending AFC North division champs.
Suggs tweeted at 2:10 a.m. Monday with the loss still on his mind.
After starting frustratingly slow start, the Ravens made a dramatic comeback late in the fourth quarter on a jump-up-and-down-in-your-living-room play, where Steve Smith Sr. caught a career-tying 80-yard touchdown, capped off by a stiff-arm and run. But the excitement was killed when the lead was lost just a couple plays later on an A.J. Green 77-yard juggle catch and score. Minutes after screaming and cheering, fans were slumped over with heads hanging when Flacco was sacked twice to end the game.
The Ravens will abide by the unofficial 24-hour rule to soak in the loss, learn from it and move on. Suggs knows that better than anyone.
"But it's a short week, fortunately for us," he said. "We get to look at this one real quick, throw it away and move on to our rivals."
Hensley: Flacco Most Frustrating QB In League
If you are one of those sleepless Ravens fans this morning, one of the causes behind your insomnia may be inconsistent play of quarterback Joe Flacco.
ESPN's Jamison Hensley has come up with a new nickname for Flacco. He wants to change it from Joe Cool to Joe Cruel.
That's because Flacco can be amazing one moment and then make a "stupid" play the next, using the quarterback's own words (see more on that below).
"Watching [Flacco] should come with an advisory: Prepare to experience the most frustrating quarterback in the NFL," wrote Hensley. "The Ravens' [loss] was four quarters of the best and worst of Flacco. He continually found ways to torment, enthrall and bewilder the sellout crowd of 70,925 at M&T Bank Stadium.
"Flacco can make throws only few can think about attempting, such as throwing across his body and hitting wide receiver Steve Smith on a fourth-quarter touchdown pass that went 58 yards in the air. He also can make bone-headed mistakes you'd expect out of rookie quarterbacks – not a Super Bowl Most Valuable Player – such as the time he ran out the clock at the end of the first half to squash any field-goal attempt."
Hensley was also quick to say that the blame for the Ravens' first home-opening loss can't all be put on Flacco. His receivers had an unofficial seven drops, according to WNST's Luke Jones. Steve Smith had four of those, per the game broadcast, which he owned up to.
But Flacco wasn't trying to transfer blame. He took ownership …
Flacco 'Brutally Honesty' About Gaffe
You can always count on Flacco to be straight up.
Multiple reporters, including CSNBaltimore.com's Clifton Brown, noted that Flacco used "brutal honesty" when addressing them after the game. He didn't try to sugar coat the Ravens' defeat, and he certainly didn't try to hide from his clock management blunder at the end of the first half.
With eight seconds remaining in the second quarter, the Ravens wanted to take one last shot at the end zone, but Flacco needed to get rid of the ball quickly in order to leave time for a potential field goal.
Instead, he scrambled and held on to the ball so long that time expired after he was tripped to the ground.
"That was probably the stupidest play I've ever made in football," Flacco said frankly.
Lardarius Webb Upset About Missing Opener
Cornerback Lardarius Webb was listed as questionable on the injury report heading into Sunday's game, but given the fact he was a full participant in practice all week, there was optimism he would play.
It wasn't to be, however, as the Ravens made a game-time decision to deactivate him against the Bengals, per The Baltimore Sun's Aaron Wilson. Wilson characterized Webb as "upset" about missing the game.
Webb hopes to play Thursday night against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
"Yeah, I'm hoping to be out there as soon as I can," Webb told Wilson. "Just waiting on Harbs and the coaches to feel like I'm ready to go. Whenever they're ready to put me out there, I'll be ready to go. I'm kind of just waiting on the call.
"No setbacks, I'm just waiting on Harbs. Harbs makes the big decisions around here. I leave it in his hands. I miss it out there."
After the game, Harbaugh declined to tell reporters the reasoning behind his decision, as it would reveal too much to opponents and potentially give them a competitive advantage.
"I'm not going to get into all of that," Harbaugh said. "It's really not important. It's not information I really want out there. It wouldn't do us any good to explain all that."
Don't Blame Chykie For loss
In place of Webb, cornerback Chykie Brown stepped into the starting role.
And even though Brown took the blame for Green's 77-yard game-winner, Hensley says you can't blame him for the loss.
"Brown did get burned by Green for] the deciding score. That's just [not looking at the big picture," he wrote.
"Brown actually held up well in his second career start, and the Ravens would've been able to withstand one deep touchdown pass to Green if the offense had shown up before halftime. By my count, Brown gave up a handful of catches, which is a decent number considering the Ravens rarely got pressure on quarterback Andy Dalton and finished with no sacks. You can only fault Brown for making his biggest mistake at the biggest point of the game."
Our own John Eisenberg agreed, saying "Honestly, I thought Brown held up well, especially considering the Ravens' tepid pass rush produced zero sacks, putting even more pressure on the secondary."
2013 All Over Again
Despite an offseason of hard work to overhaul the offense and tweak the defense, The Sun's Jeff Zrebiec said the season-opener was "2013 all over again."
Zrebiec listed the many ways the game mirrored last season's issues:
1) The Ravens got off to a "terrible" start
2) Flacco made a couple of "head-scratching" mistakes
3) The offense "totally abandoned" their running game (the Ravens ran 62 passing plays, tied for the most in Flacco's career along with last year's season opener in Denver)
4) The defense let down in the fourth quarter
"The Ravens [are] long tired of hearing about last year, but this wasn't the way to silence the talk," Zrebiec wrote.
Let's Highlight The Good
As emotional and frustrating as the contest was, there was plenty of good with the game coming down to final seconds.
Can we focus one those positive plays for a moment? Here we go …
1) Steve Smith Grown-Man Stiff Arm
The 14-year veteran downplayed his monster catch and run, but I'm sorry, it was just too ridiculous to not watch over and over on a looping GIF.
The 80-yard catch and run was impressive, but even more amazing was tossing defender Adam "Pacman" Jones to the ground before strolling in for the score.
"That was a grown-man stiff-arm on 80-yard TD catch by Steve Smith," tweeted Clifton Brown. "That's why he was brought to Baltimore."
2) Justin Forsett Earned Start For Thursday
The Bernard Pierce fumble was devastating, but reserve running back Justin Forsett stepped up in a major way, churning out 70 yards on just 11 carries.
After the game, reporters asked Harbaugh why Pierce was sidelined (which he credited to the fumble), but nobody asked the head coach who would get the start Thursday night.
"Maybe it's not even a question at this point," Hensley wrote, adding that Forsett "earned" the right to the starting nod.
"To put it in perspective, Forsett averaged 6.4 yards per carry and Pierce's longest run was 6 yards. The Ravens have to go one more game without the suspended Ray Rice, and Forsett earned the right to get his first start since 2010."
Let's re-live Forsett's impressive 13-yard touchdown run.
3) Jeremy Miles Field Goal Block
4) Dennis Pitta Jukes Vontaze Burfict
"Vontaze Burfict's jock strap is somewhere around the 13-yard line," tweeted Ryan Mink. "Dennis Pitta juke moves."
5) Jimmy Smith Touchdown-Saving Defense
6) Joe Flacco Toughness
Flacco was blasted by Burfict on this play, but it was Flacco who got back up. Meanwhile, Burfict had to leave the game with a concussion.
"You can criticize Ravens QB Joe Flacco for a lot of things but you can't question his toughness," wrote Hensley.
Can't get any worse than that....we can't play that sloppy and expect to win...no time to cry about it...back to work for Thursday — Torrey Smith (@TorreySmithWR) September 7, 2014
- "0 — The number of sacks and quarterback hits the defense registered on Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton," wrote Luke Jones. "Cincinnati offensive coordinator Hue Jackson did an effective job using a no-huddle attack and calling for three-step drops to neutralize the Ravens' ability to create pressure, but the front four did very little to make Dalton uncomfortable in the pocket, especially in the first half. … 3 — The number of sacks taken by quarterback Joe Flacco" [WNST]
- A warning to the Ravens to watch out for THIS Thursday night … [Vine]
- Jim Basquil and Ron Jaworski break down the Bengals' win over the Ravens. [ESPN]