What is it about the Ravens that seems to bring out the best in the Colts’ defense time and time again? Year after year, Indy has a dog-crap defense, and year after year, that dog-crap defense looks like a mighty combination of the 1985 Bears and 2000 Ravens when the boys from B’More line up against them.
The particulars this time around? The Colts had the 18th-ranked defense in the NFL, and were 24th against the run. They gave up 100-yard rushing days to Maurice Jones-Drew, Ronnie Brown, Steven Jackson, Thomas Jones, Chris Johnson, and Fred Jackson. Frank Gore had a 91-yard day, and MJD had another 97-yard performance.
On Saturday night, the Ravens’ leading rusher, Ray Rice, managed just 67 yards. In the earlier meeting this year, you’ll remember, it was 71 yards. Le’Ron McClain and Willis McGahee were non-factors, with just four carries for 10 yards combined.
The Ravens failed to score a single touchdown in two full games against the Colts in 2009. In their 2008 meeting, it was the same story. In the 2006 Playoff game? Nary a touchdown scored.
This problem…of being absolutely offensively inept against Indianapolis, now spans several head coaches, and even more offensive coordinators, starting quarterbacks, and leading running backs. It defies logic. Here, Tony Lombardi makes the nauseating argument that the Ravens have NOT SCORED A SINGLE MEANINGFUL TOUCHDOWN AGAINST THE COLTS SINCE 2002!
So sure, we all remember that Peyton Manning never loses to the Ravens. But, in reality, these losses to the Colts are usually just as much on the shoulders of the Ravens’ offense as they are Indianapolis’.
I don’t really have any desire to dig a lot deeper into the Ravens’ dud of a season-ending performance. Those of us who watched the team all season knew that they had far too many issues to be serious Super Bowl contenders. After watching them destroy New England, we told ourselves that maybe, just maybe, they could catch lightning in a bottle and go on a nice little four-game run. In the end though, it was those same issues that were so obvious all season that reared their ugly heads to doom the Ravens.
The ridiculous penalties at inopportune times. Saturday, it was L.J. Smith, Corey Ivy, and Ray Lewis.
The lack of any big-play threats in the passing game. Demetrius Williams reminded us Saturday night why the Ravens are likely to let him walk after the season – his inconsistencies outweigh his considerable upside.
The inability to FINISH in the final minutes of any half. I’ll share another link here – Glenn Clark goes into painstaking detail about how the final five minutes of halves basically caused just about every loss piled up by the Ravens in 2009.
After reading that, we should all be able to agree that John Harbaugh’s main focus this offseason needs to be learning how to more effectively manage the final minutes of halves. Ozzie needs to figure out a way to get Joe Flacco some real weapons besides Ray Rice, so that he can continue the progression that seems to have halted about midway through this season.
We’ll use the next few months leading up to the draft to talk more about the team’s offseason needs.
And, some time this week, I’ll post some pictures and videos from the Nest’s trip to Indy.