For a team that was rated one the NFL’s best with a 4-1 start, things turned ugly awfully quickly Monday night for the Baltimore Ravens. And they stayed that way, with the Ravens losing 12-7 to the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The dog of an offensive performance was one of the worst in Ravens history and linebacker Terrell Suggs called the team out on its approach.
“It baffles me that Ray Rice only had seven carries,” linebacker Terrell Suggs said. He was off on Rice’s carries by one, but Suggs was on a roll. “This is a Pro Bowl running back we’re talking about. You’ve got to feed the horse. They fed their horse. We got to feed our horse. He’s a good guy. He wants the ball. I think we should feed him. Ray Rice is a phenomenal player. You’ve got to use your phenomenal players.”
Indeed. What a concept.
The Jags, with a rookie quarterback in Blaine Gabbert and a star running back in Maurice Jones-Drew, ran the ball. A lot. “They kept it simple,” Suggs said. “Jones-Drew had 30 carries.” And when they couldn’t do that, they kicked field goals.
Rice ended up gaining 28 yards on the night. Behind an offensive line that continues to struggle, quarterback Joe Flacco completed 21 of 38 passes (one was to himself) for 137 yards, one TD and one interception. His development may not be regressing, but it isn’t progressing, either. “How many catches did Anquan [Boldin] have?” Suggs asked. Answer: four, for 40 yards. “We have guys who can do phenomenal things. We’ve got to get them the ball. It’s that simple.”
Adding to the ugly, Ravens linebacker Brendan Ayanbadejo was ejected for getting into an altercation with Guy Whimper (Guy Whimper!) in the third quarter.
“The whole altercation started when the play [a third-and-5 stop of running back Deju Karim for no gain at the Ravens’ 7] was already over,” Ayanbadejo told the Baltimore Sun. “First, he grabbed me, and I’m just trying to get his hands off me. I’m just trying to get away from the guy.
“Then after he grabs me around my waist and spins me around, then I start getting a little agitated. And then he pushes me. And then I get back in his face and then he punches me in the face. This is all after the whistle. It’s like, ‘Can I get a little protection here? Can I get a little help – 225 pounds versus 325?’ So then he struck me, and I struck him back.”
With that, Ayanbadejo went out with a bang, not a Whimper. “I wish I had the wherewithal to not be such a scrappy guy, but that’s what I am,” Ayanbadejo said. “I’ve always been the underdog, I’ve always been a fighter, I’ve always had to fight for everything that I’ve ever had. That’s just the way that I’m built. I wish I did have the wherewithal to do it differently.”
The Ravens have a week in which to fix some of these things and ponder how to alter an early playoff picture that turned grim. They play Arizona on Sunday, followed by the Steelers, whom they now trail by a game (along with Cincinnati) in the AFC North, in a “Sunday Night Football” game in Pittsburgh.