With an embarrassing loss to the Cincinnati Bengals in week 17, the Baltimore Ravens saw their season come to a close. With their 8-8 record, they wound up missing out on the playoffs, thanks to the 34-17 drubbing at the hands of the Bengals. So before we start looking ahead to the Orioles, let’s take a quick look back at the Ravens.
The Ravens did play well but certainly had their struggles in 2013, most notably their rushing offense, or lack thereof. Ray Rice “led” the team with 660 rushing yards on 214 carries for a terrible 3.1 yards per carry. Bernard Pierce finished with 436 yards on 152 carries, or 2.9 yards per carry, also terrible. As a team, the Ravens averaged 3.1 yards per carry—dead last in the NFL.
Joe Flacco didn’t really look like a Super Bowl MVP this year. He did throw for 3,912 yards, but his 19 touchdown passes were overshadowed by his 22 interceptions, tied for second-most in the NFL. Perhaps one key ingredient missing in the passing attack was Anquan Boldin, who left for the San Francisco 49ers.
One player who did have himself a good season was wide receiver Torrey Smith, hauling in 65 passes for 1,128 yards and four touchdowns. His 1,128 yards ranked him 12th in the NFL. Not too shabby.
Speaking of not too shabby, kicker Justin Tucker was probably the team’s MVP this year. Tucker finished fourth overall in scoring, tallying 140 points. Tucker hit on 38 of 41 field goal attempts this year and made all extra points to bring him up to that total. Tucker deservedly was the only Ravens player to make the All-Pro team, and he did so with style—being named to the first team. Tucker provided Baltimore’s biggest highlight of the year by hitting a 61-yard field goal to win the game against the Detroit Lions in week 15. That 61-yarder was actually his sixth field goal of the game, summing up how good he was, and how mediocre at best the rest of the offense was.
Overall, this team seemed to lack an identity, which could possibly be attributed to the retirement of Ray Lewis and the departure of Ed Reed who left for the Houston Texans before joining the New York Jets. Terrell Suggs did a decent job this year leading the defense with 10 sacks, and Corey Graham led the team with four interceptions. Linebacker Daryl Smith had a nice season as well, as he led the team with 123 tackles and three picks to go along with his five sacks.
As for the 2014 season, Baltimore has their work cut out for them. If they can get their running game going again, that will be a huge step in the right direction.
For now, let us reflect for a brief moment before we turn our focus towards the Orioles.
Ok, that was enough, I’m ready now.
by Andy Mindzak