An examination of the in-game win probabilities and expected point values of every play this season reveals costly turnovers, big opposing passing plays, and crushing penalties to be the biggest swings in the Ravens' 12 close games.
Even as a turnover drought that had stretched over 62 series and seven games came to a merciful end in the first half, the Ravens defense blamed the balls that slipped out of their hands Sunday afternoon as the main reason why the game did the same.
New Ravens wide receiver Joe Morgan, who was signed after a tryout Tuesday, said after his first practice with the team that he¿s already fit right into a position group comprised of several undrafted free agents who fought for a role just like he has.
Steve Smith Sr., 35, had announced before the start of the season that this year would be his last, but there seemed to be momentum in recent weeks for him to return for another year. The Ravens, who have plenty of question marks at the wide receiver position both in the present and future, need and want him to return.
If you watch the Ravens long enough during this 2015 season, you'll inevitably get a reminder of why a season that once held such most promise has dissolved into one of the most disappointing years in franchise history.
It's mistake after mistakes after mistake. Even until the end, when the Ravens couldn't connect on a last-second pass in the back of the end zone.There is still the strong criticism that this team lacks playmakers and that's true. But that was only part of the problem in the Ravens' 26-18 loss to the Arizona Cardinals.
For the first time all season, the Ravens scored on their first drive. But they needed to settle for a field goal by Justin Tucker rather than a touchdown partly because of a curious call by referee Ronald Torbert.
Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco isn't really struggling, but he isn't comfortable yet. Six games into the season, Flacco and the offense have played well enough to win but not well enough to carry the team. The team lacks bona fide playmakers on offense, but the Ravens also need to change the pace of the game. The Ravens have to speed it up, not only in the two-minute drill but in the base offense.
Some of the names and opportunities will change, but the expectations won't. Even with top receiver Steve Smith Sr. expected to miss some time with microfractures in his back and Michael Campanaro on season-ending injured reserve, coach John Harbaugh said Monday that he doesn't foresee a dropoff in the Ravens passing game.
Timmy Jernigan, who is the man tabbed to replace Haloti Ngata after the Pro Bowl defensive lineman was traded to the Detroit Lions in March, and Carl Davis represent the most recent additions to a defensive line group that throughout the Ravens history has been the franchise's premier strength, due to its depth and continuity among the coaches and players.