Week 15 – Ravens Recap & Grades

Browns 13, Ravens 3 : Week 15 – Recap & Grades :

Offense – Absolutely Abysmal. Perhaps the worst showing by this group in years. They once again got away from what worked & took to the air w/ a QB who just was knocked out of his last game, after gashing Cleveland on the ground for the entire 1st half. J.K.Dobbins leads the way w/ 125 yards on 13 carries, an average of 9.6 yards per carry & Gus Edwards churns out 55 yards on 7 carries, an average of 7.9 yards per carry as this group rushes for 198 yards on this cold Cleveland night. Tyler Huntley rushes for 15 yards on 6 carries, average of 2.5 yards per carry & goes 17/30 as a passer for 138 yards, an average of 4.6 yards per pass & 1 crucial INT inside the Browns 10 in the 3rd quarter, he is also sacked 3 times for a loss of 12 yards, including back-to-back sacks in the offenses final drive of the game. TE Mark Andrews leads the way in the passing game w/ 3 receptions for 31 yards, an average of 10.3 yards per reception & WR Demarcus Robinson catches 6 passes for 29 yards, an average of 4.8 yards per reception, but loses a crucial fumble after a 14-yard catch w/ 2:00 left in the 3rd quarter to give the Browns the ball back again as as S John Johnson forces it & also recovers it in Ravens territory at the 40. The offensive line does not hold up well in pass protection, even w/ Ronnie Stanley in the lineup as they allow 3 sacks on the night w/ a pair coming on the final drive w/ constant pressure on Huntley which makes no sense as to why OC Greg Roman was dialing up the passing game w/ a QB who just got out concussion protocol & abandoned the run game when it was working w/ the team only down by 1 score in the 2nd half. They go just 5 of 12 on 3rd down & 0-3 on 4th down, run 3 less plays (61) to Cleveland’s (64) but out gain the Browns 324 to 283 while both teams possess the ball 9 times, they also lose the turnover battle – 2 to 0. So they gain 324 total yards, yet lose the TOP battle 26:52 to 33:08. The plays continue to come in late & when they do they’re poorly called in certain situations, especially the red zone & poorly executed in the passing game due to the lack of personnel to run the plays that are being called & the HC isn’t an X & O’s guy who can takeover the play calling. Greg Roman continues to sabotage this team w/ his predictable play calling & terrible situational football while getting away from what he even does best & it’s almost like a guy who wants to prove something about his passing game at this point. This group marches 71 yards on 10 plays on their first possession but come away empty handed after failing to convert on a 4th & 1 FB dive w/ Patrick Ricard & after holding the ball for 6:25 they got nothing – That is absolutely inexcusable & should never happen. Kicking the FG right there would of set the tone right away but instead it led to a 14-play, 84-yard drive by the Browns who do end up kicking a FG & take a 3 point lead so it was essentially a 6-point swing. There has got to be some changes made to the way this unit operates or things will only get worse from here. Now they are missing several more key pieces & while the running game is great, failing to use it & trying to force a patchwork passing game to make plays is absolutely terrible & the fan base has finally started to call for Greg Roman’s head. They have a drive of 10-plays, 49 yards that results in a missed FG by Tucker, the next drive they march 60 yards on 11-plays but Huntley is intercepted, the next drive Robinson fumbles on the first play & the next drive goes for 60 yards on 6 plays but Tucker’s FG is blocked. Missed FG, interception, fumble, blocked FG. 4 absolutely terrible outcomes on 4 straight drives, added to declining to kick the FG earlier & that’s 1 score on 9 offensive drives which is atrocious. That doomed this team in the end, there is no other way around it. Overall, just an ugly effort all together on national television & in prime time for the whole world to see. 3 points scored in Cleveland to a team w/ 5 wins coming in. It doesn’t matter who is behind center, this offense, especially the passing game, is absolutely broken.
Grade : D

Defense : This group did their job again, like they have been doing for the last few weeks. They allow 283 total yards, including 143 on the ground on 33 carries, an average of 4.3 yards rushing as a team as RB Nick Chubb gashes them for 99 yards on 21 carries, an average of 4.7 yards per carry. RB Kareem Hunt also turns out 24 yards on 4 carries, for an average of 6.0 yards per carry. They also lose DT Calais Campbell to a knee injury in the 3rd quarter as guys continue to drop on both sides of the ball for this team. The pass rush gets dialed up a little bit as they get to QB DeShaun Watson 3 times for a loss of 21 yards on the night as DT Brent Urban & S Kyle Hamilton each get to him once & OLB Odafe Oweh & ILB Patrick Queen register .5 a sack each as they both combine for a sack of the Cleveland QB. In only his 2nd game back from his 11-game suspension, Watson isn’t great but he does go 18/28 for 161 yards, an average of 5.8 yards per pass & 1 TD pass to WR Donovan-Peoples Jones. He also rushes for 22 yards on 6 carries, an average of 3.7 yards per rush & leads scoring drives of 14-plays, 64 yards (FG), 9-plays, 27 yards (FG) & 12-plays, 91 yards (TD) against this group who was put in some bad spots for most of the night. After Harbaugh declines to kick the FG on the opening drive & the offense fails to convert, they allow Watson to lead his offense right down the field for 14-plays & 64 yards & kick a FG to take the lead. WR’s Amari Cooper & Donovan Peoples-Jones both haul in 4 passes as Cooper catches 4 for 58, an average of 14.5 yards per catch & Peoples-Jones catches 4 for 31 yards, an average of 7.8 yards per reception, including the only TD of the game. They hold the Browns to go just 5/15, 33% on 3rd down but also allow them to go 2 for 2 on 4th down, both of which were huge, they also hold them to just 4.4 yards per play on the night, even as they survived 33 rushes from a great running attack & a mobile QB w/ fresh legs. This group has helped the offense out week after week, they just couldn’t sustain it anymore. ILB Roquan Smith amasses 11 tackles on the night & Rookie Kyle Hamilton has 6 to go along w/ his sack as this group looks like they have really begun to gel, although the score of this game doesn’t indicate that. This group got after it & if the offense would of held up their end, the outcome would of been different as DC Mike MacDonald has his group playing well at all 3 levels w/ the exception of the secondary possibly being the weak link. They have stopped the run all season long, the linebacker play & tackling has been much better w/ the addition of Smith & pass rush has been better as it’s gotten healthier. Now the only weakness appears to be the coverage although it has been much improved since earlier in the season it is still a weak link at times & just too inconsistent from week to week. This is a defense that knew it would have to carry the offense down the stretch but not to the tune of them scoring only 3 points & putting them in bad situations time & time again. That will not lead to good things & will start to create a divide no matter how together a team is, one group gets tired of carrying another – they have to help each other out. The pressure is now on this group more than ever, the offense doesn’t appear fixable so this group will have to carry the weight, there’s no way around that.
Grade : B

Special Teams : Just 1 week after coming up huge & making plays to bail this team out against Pittsburgh, this group crumbles & falls apart at the seams when it matters most which is very uncharacteristic of them. They don’t get an opportunity for a FG on the game’s first drive & you got the feeling after that missed opportunity that it was going to be one of those nights. Watson then leads a 14-play, 64-yard drive as Browns K Cade York makes a 47-yard FG to give Cleveland the lead. When they finally did get their opportunity, Tucker drills a FG from 53 yards in the 2nd quarter to tie it but York makes another from 23 amongst the leaping arms of the Raven defenders, then the meltdown of this group begins. Tucker misses from 48 yards to try to tie it as his kick sails wide left & when Justin Tucker misses FG’s good things never follow. Tucker then lines up for a 50-yarder that gets blocked by Browns DT Jordan Elliott & recovered by Tucker at the Ravens 48. Tucker goes 1-3 on the night & while his stat line makes you do a double take, the only one that’s really on him is the miss from 48. The block is out of his control but is definitely a break down of what is normally a reliable unit & ST Coach Chris Horton could not of liked what he saw on that play. Tucker took the blame for the miss & as a leader in that locker room, you love to see that accountability from him, he could never make another kick again & he would already have the keys to the city. Pro-Bowl KR Devin Duvernay totals 48 return yards on 2 kick returns for 41 yards, an average of 20.5 yards per return & 1 punt return for 7 yards as this group is never able to make an impact on this game & you could see the difference in how the game was affected by it. Browns KR Jerome Ford returns 1 kick for 21 yards as the only kick return of the night & he is tackled by Tucker & WR James Proche II as the only time kick coverage was required. Rookie P Jordan Stout punts it away only 1 time for 41 yards & it lands inside the 20. Stout has been a nice fill in for former P Sam Koch who left his legacy in Baltimore & even gave Stout some tutelage after he was drafted, showing him a thing or two & passing the torch to the youngster. Games like these come as a shock when you see the best Kicker in the game miss a kick, have a kick blocked & not be used when he could of been, in situations that leave you scratching your head as to why a HC would continue to not use one of his best weapons & let him stand on the sidelines & watch as an offense that has been terrible in the red zone once again failed to convert. As a former ST Coach, John Harbaugh should emphasize the importance of taking the points instead of resorting to analytics but nothing about this team makes any sense when you try to understand why they continue to do what they do. This unit has been, hands down, one of the best Special Teams groups in the league for years & it happens to the best so you take this performance & throw it in the trash, we won’t see a performance like this from this unit for a long time.
Grade : C-

Coaching : Bad. Awful. Unacceptable. Shameful. Embarrassing. A Coaching staff made up of a Super Bowl winning coach & an OC who was his brother’s OC in that same Super Bowl & this is the results you get? 10 years ago is an eternity in the NFL & it appears that both of them have worn out their welcome in this league while hurting their team in the process. Harbaugh doesn’t appear to care or just seems to think everything is fine which has been the problem for years & it needs to finally come to an end. This is a team w/ way too much talent to be playing the way they are & underachieving year in & year out, once the head coach doesn’t get the results from his team that he used to get, it means his message has fallen on deaf ears. He isn’t holding anyone accountable like he should & that has been one of his flaws his entire career, he is loyal to a fault & it has become detrimental to the team he coaches. OC Greg Roman should of been gone long ago & yet he remains as the fan base only gets angrier, strength & conditioning coach Steve Saunders should have been gone after he was responsible for the COVID outbreak in 2020 but yet once again, nothing was done. Last year this team had the most injuries in the league & yet Saunders kept his job once again. The pattern that you’re seeing here is a HC who continues to get on the podium & point the blame or sugarcoat while never holding himself accountable for what this team has become. DC Mike MacDonald has been much better as the season has gone on & has made adjustments while having guys in & out of the lineup due to injury, meanwhile OC Greg Roman has looked awful at times. There is no balance within this staff, if 1 guy has his unit doing well & the other guy can’t get his together, the margin for winning becomes very slim. Coaches need to have their teams ready to go & on the same page w/ each other so the game can flow & when you have an imbalance plus no discipline in critical situations, the product starts to become sloppy. The team was flagged for 3 penalties for 25-yards in this one which is actually a small amount of penalties for a team who usually racks ’em up weekly. This Franchise has lacked discipline for awhile but the last few years it has only gotten worse & hurt this team even more. The leadership on this team should stem from the coaching staff but instead it seems like the coaching staff is starting to lean on the players instead. Constantly asking your players what they would do & resorting to analytics to make up for your lack of knowledge about game management are all signs that point to your time being up w/ this Franchise. This team was just embarrassed on national television & scored 3 points in Cleveland to a team who isn’t better than them & a QB who had never beaten them, all because their HC once again made bad decisions & made himself & his team look foolish. There is no emotion from a head coach who should be very emotional right now to show his team the importance of this moment, yet there he is, making the same confused faces to the same old sad song & getting the same old results in the end. The entire staff needs to get a complete makeover, they need a new message & a new voice in Baltimore, a voice who understands how the game is played in 2022, one who the game hasn’t passed by & one who can be a true leader of men like Harbaugh used to be before he went soft & let the game snatch his soul. After this season, barring some magical Playoff run to the Super Bowl, it’s time to hit the reset button on this staff.
Grade : C

Overall Grade : D