Trap games are real, and the Baltimore Ravens fell for it against the Miami Dolphins. Head coach John Harbaugh made some concerning comments after the debacle on Thursday Night Football, which raised red flags.
The Ravens have looked like legitimate Super Bowl contenders at times in 2021. Now, this team must take a hard look in the mirror and realize it could be in big trouble.
The Ravens suffered an embarrassing loss to the Dolphins
The Miami Dolphins took it to the Baltimore Ravens in prime-time. Brian Flores’ squad spoiled the South Florida homecoming party for Lamar Jackson, Marquise “Hollywood” Brown, and other Ravens players.
It appeared the Ravens would enter this game a motivated bunch, but instead, they came out flat. As a result, they got smacked in the mouth.
The game was a typical ugly Thursday Night Football matchup in the first half. The Dolphins led 6-3 at halftime. The second half was all Miami.
Lamar Jackson and the Ravens’ offense failed to find any rhythm all night. They accumulated just 304 yards of total offense, well below their season average. The offensive line got bullied by Miami’s defensive front, and Jackson was on his heels for much of the game.
Baltimore’s defense didn’t perform any better. Missed tackles and blown coverages allowed an inferior Dolphins’ offense to make big plays against the Ravens.
John Harbaugh’s team squandered a major opportunity to create some separation in the AFC North and the playoff race.
John Harbaugh blames himself and the coaches
There’s plenty of blame to go around for Baltimore’s embarrassing loss to the Dolphins. However, the coaching staff deserves a good chunk of the criticism.
Head coach John Harbaugh addressed the media after the game and accepted responsibility as the leader of this football team.
“They played a very good football game,” Harbaugh said of the Dolphins. “Outcoached us, outplayed us, and won the football game. So the bottom line is this falls squarely on me as the head coach.”
Harbaugh took it a step further and admitted the Ravens were unprepared for the game.
“We were not prepared the way we need to be prepared,” he said. “Our schemes weren’t up to snuff. Our players played their hearts out. They worked hard all week. They did everything they could to be prepared and just weren’t ready. That’s on me.”
Sure, every team has off days, but those have become too common for John Harbaugh’s Ravens in 2021. The outlook for the rest of the season is now in question.
Red flags are surfacing for Baltimore
The Baltimore Ravens aren’t a bad football team, but you couldn’t tell against the Dolphins. They have battled adversity throughout the 2021 season. Each time, Baltimore has bounced back, but this loss could be a killer.
Injuries have decimated the Ravens’ roster since training camp. The number of players out for the season is getting too large to count. The cracks are finally starting to show.
Offensive line play is probably the biggest red flag for this team right now. Left tackle Ronnie Stanley’s season-ending injury left a glaring void, and defenses are attacking it. The Dolphins blitzed Lamar Jackson with their defensive backs 24 times. That is the most a team has blitzed a quarterback since 2015, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Lamar Jackson is one of the best players in football, but he can only do so much with defenders bearing down on him at such a high clip. Offensive coordinator Greg Roman’s elementary play-calling only makes matters worse.
Wink Martindale’s defense continues to get exposed, too. The unit is missing Pro Bowl cornerback Marcus Peters and safety DeShon Elliott. The Ravens missed way too many assignments, and Miami made them pay.
The Ravens are 6-3, but the AFC is super tight. John Harbaugh and company had little room for error, but they made plenty of them.
All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference