Late for Work 12/6: Mason Vents Disappointment in Offense

Plus King on 4th-down decision, critiques for Flacco and Ravens still talk winning North.

Posted by Sarah Ellison on Monday, December 6th, 2010 at 10:32 am | Categories: Late For Work, Sarah Ellison

After managing just 96 total yards and three points in the second half of the Ravens 13-10 loss to the arch rival Pittsburgh Steelers, veteran receiver Derrick Mason expressed frustration with his offensive unit.

While not pointing his finger at anyone specifically, Mason repeatedly said the Ravens offense isn’t good at times and hopes it can become great, according to National Football Post’s Aaron Wilson.

“I’ll get crucified for this one, but all the people that we’ve got on offense, we’re not a good offense at times, we’re really not,” Mason said. “You just call it how you see it. Call a spade a spade. If we were a good offense, we’d be moving the ball up and down the field, especially with the people that we have and the quarterback that we have. I have a lot of confidence in our personnel, but we’re just not a good offense at times.”

Baltimore’s offense boasts seven Pro Bowlers, including three at receiver, two at running back and one at fullback and tight end.

During the offseason, Mason had considered retiring, but the 36 year old opted to return for another year with the hopes of winning a Super Bowl ring – something he has yet to accomplish in his storied career.

“You wonder why you come back and play after stuff like this, because there ain’t no way, I mean, Pittsburgh’s a good team, can’t take it away from them, but there’s no way we should have lost this game,” Mason said. “Seriously. This just makes me personally wonder why I came back. To play in a game like this and to lose a game like this, it hurts worse than any other game.

“It’s sad to say, but we’re not a good offense at times. We’re really aren’t. For whatever reason it is, I don’t know. But we’re not a good offense at times. I’m not pointing any fingers at anybody, because I’m a part of the equation, but we’re just not a good offense at times, and it showed up today.”

Mason said he doesn’t know what the solution is to solving the offensive problems, but wants to start consistently blowing out opponents because he believes the team is capable of doing so. The 14-year veteran said the defense played “lights out” against the Steelers and said he knows those players get frustrated.

“I know it has to [be frustrating], because you could see their faces coming off the sideline,” said Mason. “But, we’re in it as a team, and we’re going to fight. But, those guys get frustrated, and rightfully so, because we’re not doing the job in the second half.”

“We’re all in this together. I’ve never been one to point a finger, and I’m not going to do it now. All of us, collectively, all 11 guys on offense, plus the guys on the side, the backups, all of us. We’ve got to make up our mind – do we want to be a good offense or a great offense? We’re neither right now at times. So, we’ve just got to make up our mind which one do we want to be? Because good offenses make it to the playoffs. Great offenses make it to the Super Bowl.”

King: Don’t Second-Guess Harbs’ 4th-Down Decision

With 37 seconds remaining in the game, Head Coach John Harbaugh opted to go for it on fourth-and-2 instead of sending in kicker Billy Cundiff for a 48-yard field goal.

SI.com’s Peter King thinks that Harbaugh made the right call.

Don’t second-guess John Harbaugh’s decision to forego the 48- or 49-yard field goal attempt that could have sent the game to overtime in the final minute,” wrote King. “There was a 17- to 31-mph wind in the kicker’s face to contend with, and even the strong-legged Billy Cundiff (he leads the NFL in touchbacks) would have been very hard-pressed to make a long kick.”

L. McClain Felt Ready Play

After missing two consecutive days of practice because of an injured ankle and returning to practice Friday on a limited basis, fullback Le’Ron McClain was deactivated for the Steelers matchup.

Ravens coaches felt McClain was still hampered by the injury and was more comfortable with packages they practiced during the week with their tight ends.

The Pro Bowl fullback wanted to play in the rivalry showdown.

“It was for the AFC North, the championship,” McClain told the Baltimore Sun’s Edward Lee. “I know I’m ready, but they made the decision to put me down, so I just went with that. Looking forward to Houston [on Monday night].”

Despite Loss, Ravens Still Talk About Winning Division

Even in the frustrating moments after the heart-breaking loss, the Ravens still talked about winning the AFC North.

The Steelers’ last four games: Bengals (2-10), Jets (9-2), Carolina (1-11) and at Browns (5-7). The Ravens’ last four: at Texans (5-7), Saints (9-3), at Browns and Bengals.

“Hard to imagine the Steelers blowing it,” King wrote. “Winning at Cleveland won’t be easy – for either team. But the Steelers have two relatively easy ones to Baltimore’s one, and the Steelers have three of four at home while Baltimore is two home and two there.”

Critiques for Flacco

First, King on quarterback Joe Flacco allowing a sack-strip with about three minutes remaining in the fourth:

You cannot, if you’re Joe Flacco, be strip-sacked at that time of the game, at that spot on the field. This is not Flacco’s first strip-sack, and offensive coordinator Cam Cameron’s has to drill it into him to have better field awareness against an attacking team like Pittsburgh at such a vitally important time of the game. To me, with a blitzing team like the Steelers on the other side of the ball, you have to assume you’re only going to have two to three seconds, max, to get the ball out, and throw it away if something doesn’t come open immediately. What’s the worst thing that can happen? Punt? For the Ravens, that’s a good thing.”

And the Baltimore Sun’s Kevin Van Valkenburg on Flacco’s mechanics on the pass that fell short to wide open tight end Ed Dickson with 37 seconds remaining:

“Flacco has made some real strides this year, and for the most part, he’s convinced me that he’s a permanent answer to the franchise’s quarterback search. But if you’re a Ravens fan, it has to be a little disheartening to see him throw off his back foot on 4th-and-2 and leave that ball three feet short of Ed Dickson. The ball wasn’t tipped. And the pressure wasn’t overwhelming. He just made a poor throw, and seem[ed] to admit as much.”

NFL Confirms J. McClain’s Hit Was a Penalty

Linebacker Jameel McClain’s hard hit on Pittsburgh tight end Heath Miller did not draw a flag, but NFL Vice President of Officiating Carl Johnson confirmed to NBC that it was a penalty.

After the hit, Miller fell immediately to the turf and McClain quickly signaled for trainers to come to the field. Miller suffered a concussion and did not return to the game, but was fortunately able to walk to the sidelines on his own.

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