Say it ain’t so, John. The Ravens have now dropped four games in a row for the fifth time in franchise history.
The most recent loss came yesterday to the lowly New York Jets. Thanks to a lousy third quarter in which Joe Flacco threw two interceptions, the Jets were able to put 10 points on the board while the Ravens went scoreless. They held the lead from that point on, ultimately winning 24-16.
In a terrible twist, Joe Flacco set a franchise record on Sunday for most throws without an interception (176) before tossing his two picks and starting right back at zero. It’s worth noting that he played after being considered questionable only days ago for yesterday’s game with an injured shoulder. Furthermore, several of the Ravens’ key starters were out with injuries.
But the Jets, who were 1-5 going into yesterday, faced some of their own issues with quarterback Geno Smith hurting his knee after getting sacked in the second quarter. Ryan Fitzpatrick, who had started over Smith in all of the Jets’ games this season anyway, ending up stepping right back into his role and handed the Ravens another disappointing loss.
As Coach Harbaugh noted in a press conference, his team “didn’t play winning football.” He pointed to one terrible sequence of events in the third quarter when the Ravens forced a fumble, but then fumbled the ball right back to the Jets on the same frenzied play. The Jets put a touchdown on the board soon after. “Those are the kinds of things that are costing us games,” Harbaugh said.
Yesterday’s loss helped the Jets break their own four-game losing streak, but passed off the same ugly stain to the Ravens. Looking back, the team has only ever lost at least four games in a row in four other cases.
Nothing comes close to the abysmal 2007 season, when the team dropped nine games in a row before winning their final game of the season, finishing 5-11. The Ravens also dropped four games in a row in 2005, finishing 6-10, and did the same during the 1998 (6-10) and 1996 (4-12) seasons. If we’re looking for excuses, the latter two seasons could have unseen asterisks next to them given that the franchise was still new to town and getting its act together.
Streaky losing play is never a good sign, but it’s not always a harbinger of doom for the rest of the year. The Ravens had three-game losing streaks during the 2000 and 2012 seasons. In the end, they proved they could overcome their struggles and won the Super Bowl in both cases.
But the truth is that it takes a lot of heart, some crucial adjustments and solid leadership to make up for bad streaks. Hopefully the bye week will give Joe plenty of time to let his shoulder rest before he gets ready for their rival matchup vs. the Steelers on Nov. 6. Big Ben is still recovering from surgery and will likely be out, so the Ravens can at least look forward to his absence.
(An older version of this article said the Ravens play next Sunday, when in fact they have a bye week.)
Ethan McLeod is an associate editor for Baltimore Fishbowl.
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