Despite a dramatic fourth quarter punt return by Michael Campanaro that forced an overtime, the Ravens fall to the Bears 27-24.
Analyst Ronde Barber drove me crazy during the Fox telecast of the Ravens' 27-24 overtime loss to the Chicago Bears on Sunday.
Both what he did and didn't do were maddening — particularly in the first half.
For openers, he failed to develop a natural story line that would have had real resonance for Baltimore fans: the fact that two of the Bears defensive backs were from Baltimore high schools. And both of them, Adrian Amos, of Calvert Hall, and Kyle Fuller, of Mount Saint Joseph, were standouts in the Bears' victory.
With 5:02 left in the game, sideline reporter Kristina Pink did talk briefly about Amos being from Baltimore and having family and friends in the stands, but that was after he intercepted a Joe Flacco pass and took it back with a sensational 90-yard run for a touchdown.
The screwy thing is Barber was praising Fuller's play all day, so he could have easily made the homecoming into a great ongoing story line.
The other thing that drove me nuts were the calls Barber was making on penalties.
I don't usually write about analysts and their calls on penalties, especially when calls go against the Ravens. It's too easy to play to fan prejudice that "everyone is against us" that way. But Barber was really irritating in his certainty on the correctness of calls going against the Ravens, while instantly rejecting a call that finally went the Ravens' way in the first half.
He insisted a roughing the passer call on Za'Darius Smith with 11:53 left in the first quarter was the "right call," despite Ravens coach John Harbaugh's vigorous protest.
Then, with 2:51 left in the half, wide receiver Breshad Perriman took a huge hit just as he was hauling in a pass from Flacco, and the ball was intercepted on the deflection.
"I'm not sure this is a personal foul," Barber said. "… I think that's the wrong call."
That was the one that put me over the edge.
Play-by-play announcer Sam Rosen and the production team bear just as much blame for not emphasizing the Fuller-Amos-homecoming story line. That's not all on Barber. In fact, reminding viewers of story lines like that is often the job of the play-by-play announcer.
But Barber should have taken viewers inside the careers of Fuller and Amos — high school, college, draft position, etc. That's presuming he and the rest of the broadcast team had done their homework and had the information ready to go.
One other thing about Barber's analysis that puzzled me. In the first half, he criticized the Ravens offense for its lack of urgency. But in the fourth quarter, he was praising Flacco and the offense for its patience. It felt kind of subjective to me. I am never happy about Flacco's nonchalance when the clock is ticking off precious seconds.
On the other hand, the pictures were excellent. I have been giving CBS some praise lately, but the Fox cameras made me feel much closer to the field and inside the game.
How our reporters and editors saw the Ravens’ 27-24 loss to the Bears Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium.
By The Baltimore Sun
Oct 15, 2017 | 5:20 PM
With 1:55 left in the game, the Ravens defense crushed the Bears on a big third down. As I watched it live, the surge by the defensive line looked better by twice than any other of the day.
Instantly, I was offered a replay showing the perfect sideline-to-sideline view that confirmed how remarkable the defensive push of the Ravens was.
Seventeen seconds later, as the stadium rocked with fans cheering the Ravens fourth-quarter comeback, viewers saw Harbaugh on the sideline waving his arms up and down for the fans to raise the volume even higher.