PRESTON: Ravens' woes continue
Desperate times call for drastic measures and maybe that's why the Ravens wore those hideous gold pants Sunday.
Now, not only do they rival the Cleveland Browns in success on the field, but also in setting a new low in a fashion statement. Those pants are part of the story of the Ravens' 2015 season.
Nothing turns out right for them.
They aren't good enough to make plays on the field and aren't lucky enough to have a lot of plays break their way. That's not a winning combination. It's good enough for about four wins.
“Sometimes you have those types of years,” Ravens wide receiver Kamar Aiken said. “It's very frustrating because of all the hard work you put in during the offseason, but it makes you appreciate when you actually go to the playoffs.”
The p-word can't be mentioned in Baltimore, where a winning season is out of the question. There has been a lot of talk about the Ravens having 18 players on injured reserve, the most of any team in the NFL.
But Sunday wasn't all about injuries. The Ravens don't have any luck. Calling them “snake-bitten” would be an understatement.
Just about everything goes wrong.
“We have to find a way, I talked to them last night about it,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said, alluding to the lack of big plays. “We have to find a way to play winning football. If you're a young player and you want to stay in this league, you have [to have] a team that understands how to play winning football.”
Others teams must have voodoo dolls on the Ravens because they seem to have a black cloud following them around.
Trailing 27-14 with 4:50 left in the game at the Kansas City 14, Ravens quarterback Jimmy Clausen threw a 6-yard pass to receiver Daniel Brown at the 10-yard line. Brown slipped, fell and cornerback Marcus Peters stepped in front and returned the pass 90 yards for a touchdown.
Now, here's the weird stuff. I could see if Brown was being pressed at the line of scrimmage or was involved in some type of physical contact, but he just fell down. No one touched him.
“Like I said, we can't have those things happen,” Clausen said. “It's just unfortunate.”
Those things happen to losing teams. When it's not your year, it's not your year. There were several other moments Sunday when the Ravens appeared to be jinxed. On a Kansas City punt that would have given the Ravens possession at their own 49-yard line with 2:02 left in the third period if it had been fielded cleanly, returner Kaelin Clay slipped and the ball went over his head. The Ravens lost 30 yards. They punted nearly two minutes later.
You want more proof?
With 6:53 left in the first half, Chiefs receiver Jeremy Maclin fumbled at his own 44 after a 3-yard reception. The ball seemed to get kicked around like it was an indoor soccer league game, but the Ravens never got near a sniff of a possible recovery.
Two plays earlier Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith threw a pass that hit off Maclin's hands, but sailed over the heads of two Ravens defenders.
When those kinds of things happen, it's time to break out the ugly, pathetic-looking gold pants.
“It's tough. Playing in the NFL is tough, even if you're winning,” Ravens guard Marshal Yanda said. “But obviously, when you're losing, it makes everybody's job harder.”
Good teams make their own luck, but the Ravens aren't good. It would be nice if Santa gave them a gift or two in a game before the season is over, but he'd probably tear an ACL coming down the Ravens' chimney and go on injured reserve.
The Ravens did get a break when Aiken caught the 48-yard Hail Mary pass at the end of the half. They were otherwise generous, helping the Chiefs to three touchdowns.
Besides Peters' return, Ravens running back Buck Allen fumbled and the Chiefs returned it for a 73-yard touchdown in the first quarter.
There was also the idiotic unnecessary roughness penalty on defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan that kept a drive going and allowed the Chiefs to score on their first possession. Harbaugh also gift wrapped a touchdown for Kansas City when he called a fake punt on the Ravens' 17 with 1:24 left in the first quarter.
At that point, the Ravens trailed only 14-7. Three plays later the Chiefs scored on a 13-yard touchdown pass.
“If anybody wants to criticize us for going for it and being aggressive, have at it,” Harbaugh said.
OK. The rationale was understandable but the decision was dumb. The possession was way too deep in Ravens territory and way too early. The Ravens were down by seven and very much in the game. It would have made more sense to go for it on fourth-and-10 at the Kansas City 40 with 35 seconds left in the third quarter and down, 24-14.
But that's how it going this season. The Ravens can't do much right. If the other team doesn't beat them, they beat themselves. The final insult came after the Peters touchdown, when he did a familiar dance in the end zone.
“Playing in Ray Lewis' house, he was here for a long time and he did a very good job, that's an honor and salute to Ray Lewis,” Peters said.
When is enough, enough? The Ravens get blown out for the second straight week at home and then an outsider comes in to mimic the legend.
It could get worse. The Ravens could wear gold jerseys with those gold pants next week.