While the Baltimore Ravens’ defense has certainly had a couple of good games this year to fall back on, regardless of what might have transpired in London, their offensive counterparts have no such performances to fall back on when attempting to assure the outside world that they are just experiencing a minor bump in the road.
Needless to say, they have been subject to heavy criticism over the course of the regular season, which only intensified—significantly—after suffering their first loss. It’s easy to forgive a poor showing on one side of the ball while the team is still winning, but at some point they have to be accounted for to pull their weight.
Quarterback Joe Flacco, who missed all of training camp and the preseason after suffering a back injury, and only began practicing shortly before the season began, was asked yesterday about why he thought his unit was struggling, and he didn’t care for the question.
“I think we’re getting ahead of ourselves when, all of a sudden, we say we haven’t played well for three weeks” ‘Joe Cool’ told reporters. “We played terribly last week; there’s no way around that. But the other two weeks, we did what we had to do to win and I don’t think that’s anything we can hang our heads over”.
Flacco’s false equivalence between doing enough to win and not playing poorly is not surprising, given the position that he is in, but the numbers don’t really back him up. While he threw three touchdown passes over the first two weeks, he also threw two interceptions and had only been averaging 6.6 yards per pass attempt.
The Ravens have only scored five touchdowns this year, and that includes a drive that began with first and goal at the two, while another began in field goal range, and another began 40 yards away from the end zone.
“Statistically it wasn’t the best performance”, Flacco said of the first two games, “but we did what we needed to do to win the football game, and that’s what this is all about”.
That is what it is all about as long as you continue to win games, but if the poor performances are going to cause you to begin to lose games, then it’s time to admit that there are issues and go about trying to fix them.
“That’s what you see when you go back and look at the film. It wasn’t anything major, but little things, each guy taking their turn doing their little thing that wasn’t correct, then you’ve got a blowout”, he said.
The Steelers have their own issues to work out on offense as well as on defense, but they have been pretty consistent in owning up to the issues and needing to get better. I don’t know if either side is going to show better in Baltimore, but chances are one of them is going to ‘do what they have to do to win’.