Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton, No. 14, runs the ball for a touchdown against the Baltimore Ravens in the fourth quarter at Paul Brown Stadium. Cincinnati defeated Baltimore 34-17. (Mark Zerof, USA Today Sports / December 30, 2013)

As happy as I am not to watch CBS Sports butcher any more Ravens telecasts, I do have to admit I'm feeling sad that this weekly conversation with viewers is ending today.

I loved reading most of the things viewers wrote about Ravens telecasts this season -- as much of a letdown as the team itself was on the field.

So, let's go straight to the conversation about the CBS telecast of the Ravens 34-17 loss to Cincinnati, and my take on how the broadcast team did. Jim Nantz and Phil Simms were in the booth for CBS.

Here's Glenn with an email:

Been  reading your column for years and truly enjoy it. Nice to see someone who doesn't seem afraid to tell it like it is. At least you and your colleagues at the paper call out the coaches and players  when it's needed and don't sugarcoat it as some of your radio and TV peers do. Thanks, and I look forward to your column.

Z responds: Thanks, Glenn. I wish more folks in the local media called teams out. Look at the Orioles this year with all their self-serving talk about how "resilient" they were and how they were a great bunch of "grinders" who were going to "grind" their way into the playoffs. Right.

I believe it makes a difference when a player, coach or manager hears his performance getting ripped in the media -- especially if he knows his family is hearing about it as well -- say, on the car radio as the kids are being driven to school. But we don't do that so much here. Baltimore-nice can't compete with New-York-or-Boston-brutal.

Speaking of that, will somebody in the media ask Ray Rice to just quit talking? The way he played this year he should just go away and keep his mouth shut until he has a good game -- if that ever happens again -- next fall. Really, I don't want to see or hear one more interview with him. For me, he has come to represent all the poor play and blah-blah-blah big talk from too many Ravens this year.

OK, that's off my chest. Here's an email from John:

David,

Thanks for your column today, the highlight of the Sports section.  I would rather stories about our entrance to the playoffs had been the highlights, but maybe next year.  I have enjoyed your columns all year long and look forward to reading them in the future.

Dave M. writes:

Mr. Zurawik,

Did you notice the announcers did not point out the mistake that was made when the Bengals intercepted Flacco’s pass with 7:50 left in the 4th quarter?

It was on 4th and 10 from the 50 yard line.

The defender should have purposely dropped the ball.

The announcers said it was “as good as a punt”.

That is true if it was on 3rd down, not 4th.

After catching the interception, the Bengals took over at their own 15 when they could have taken over at the 50.

They never even advanced past the 50 and had to punt.

Had they started at the 50, they would have gotten into field goal range (probably).

This is huge blunder by CBS for not pointing this out.

It seems a Bengals coach may have been explaining this mistake to the defender after the play, but Nantz and Simms were clueless.

Do you agree?

Thanks,

Z responds: Hi Dave, I just went back to the DVR, and you are absolutely correct right down to the time. Way to go. I missed that. From the Ravens point of view, it was as good as a punt, perhaps. But Simms should have explained it as you just did to show how much wiser it would have been for the Bengals to not intercept Flacco's desperate pass. Thanks.

 

This one from Timothy, carried the following message in the subject field: "Phil Simms is a Moron." Hey, I am only reporting what Timothy wrote.

You missed the best one:  When the Bengals should have been called for running into the kicker (in the back of the endzone), Simms explained that the rule is different when the kicker doesn’t have as much space to kick.  Didn’t know the NFL stopped worrying about kicker safety in those situations!

Here's an email from Steve:

DZ: Loved the throwaway line about Nantz. Last week, he used his trademark "center cut" putting comment to describe a field goal. And as for Simms, don't get me started...

Z responds: Steve was referring to the line in my game review about Nantz showing a lot more passion for golf than he does Ravens football.

Mike writes: