Kenneth K. Lam / Baltimore Sun
At this point, we’re chronicling a three-month march to oblivion.
What else can you say about a Ravens team that looks helpless against below-average quarterbacks, that makes boneheaded mistakes and forces no turnovers, that loses to the worst teams in the NFL?
Would any of John Harbaugh’s previous seven teams have lost these last two to the defensively inept and quarterback-challenged Cleveland Browns and San Francisco 49ers?
The last time the Ravens posted a losing record was 2007, the season that got Brian Billick fired. But that team started 4-2. You really have to go back to 2005, when the Ravens started 2-7 and couldn’t score any points, to find this kind of early-season hopelessness.
You know it’s bad when diehard fans start carping about Ozzie Newsome, the architect of so many winners.
The best thing you can say about these Ravens is they still refuse to quit on any game. But that’s not going to pacify a fan base accustomed to playoff football. The Ravens’ vaunted defense can’t cover opposing receivers or mount a consistent pass rush. Their $120-million quarterback makes inexplicable mistakes. Their most dynamic offensive player is headed for retirement. Their defensive leader suffered a potential career-ending injury in the opener.
The next wave of stars, meanwhile, isn’t emerging at the rate team officials or fans expected.
The coaches deserve blame, as well. The Ravens couldn’t extend their final drive against the 49ers with timeouts because they had squandered two — one to offensive confusion on their first drive after halftime and the other to an ill-conceived challenge.
There are less awful ways to spin this, of course. The Ravens have surely been unlucky in their failure to create turnovers and in losing five close games. They’re probably more mediocre than awful.
But for a team that harbored preseason Super Bowl ambitions, that ain’t real much.