Late for Work 12/28: Poll: Which Ravens Loss ‘Hurt’ Most?

Plus video of Reed’s coat on fire, possible LS solutions and Ravens won’t rest players.

Posted by Sarah Ellison on Tuesday, December 28th, 2010 at 9:24 am | Categories: Late For Work, Sarah Ellison

Poll: Which Ravens Loss ‘Hurt’ Most?

The Ravens don’t control their own destiny, but they still have a chance to win the AFC North Championship this weekend with a win over the Bengals and a Pittsburgh loss to Cleveland.

But Baltimore could be going into the final regular-season game with the division in their control or even locked if just one of this season’s four losses had gone the other way.

"We’re a play or two away from probably having the division clinched already, but we didn’t get that done," said Head Coach John Harbaugh. "We have nobody to blame but ourselves. We also have nobody to blame but ourselves for the fact that we made the playoffs."

Harbaugh is not overstating the truth. Literally one play could have drastically changed the Ravens’ playoff standings heading into Week 17.

Which Ravens' loss hurt most?

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Baltimore is happy to have clinched a playoff spot with the opportunity to win it all. That said, each loss was heartbreaking.  In your estimation, which loss "hurt" the Ravens most? Feel free to base your hurt meter and vote on either emotional or standings implications.

Week 2, Ravens lose in Cincinnati, 15-10: In terms of competition level, this was the Ravens’ worst loss.  Up until that point, Baltimore had never been defeated by a sub-.500 team in the Harbaugh era. Since that game, the Bengals’ record never recovered and they are now sitting at 4-11. The defeat also hurt the Ravens’ divison record (now 3-2 instead of 4-1), which is what gives the Steelers the tie-breaking edge in the AFC North today.

Week 6, Ravens lose in Foxboro, 23-20: Contrary to popular perception, the loss to the Patriots hurt the Ravens’ playoff standings more than the Steelers loss. If the Ravens had held onto their 10-point fourth-quarter lead, Baltimore would have control of the No. 1 seed in the AFC right now. Both the Pats and Ravens would be 12-3 at this point (better than the Steelers’ record), and the Ravens would own the tie-breaking head-to-head matchup. That means Baltimore would have all the perks that come with the conference’s top spot (first-round bye, home-field advantage throughout AFC conference playoffs).

Week 10, Ravens lose in Atlanta, 26-21: This one was an emotional roller coaster. Despite 21 second-half points by the Ravens’ offense, Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan still engineered a game-winning drive with 20 seconds remaining. The win would have given the Ravens a better record (12-3), which would have been enough for the AFC North lead with one game remaining in the season.

Week 13, Ravens lose in Baltimore, 13-10: When it comes to pride, a loss to the Steelers always makes for the biggest hit — especially when the Ravens were playing with the lead with just over three minutes remaining when safety Troy Polamalu sacked and stripped quarterback Joe Flacco. The turnover led to the Steelers’ game-winning touchdown. If the Ravens had picked up that block they probably would be heading into Week 17 with the assurance of a clinched AFC North title, a first-round bye and home-field advantage in Round 2.

Video: Reed’s Coat Catches Fire

You already heard safety Ed Reed’s coat caught on fire and began smoking from sitting too close to the jumbo sideline heaters during the Ravens’ 20-10 win over the Browns Sunday.

But have you seen the video? Grab your marshmallows and enjoy!

(By the way, Reed’s on-field play wasn’t too shabby either. NFL Network’s Deion Sanders put Reed’s two interceptions at No. 6 on his weekly Top 10 performances list and SI.com’s Peter King named Reed his Defensive Player of the Week.)

 

La Canfora: Albright, Ingram Possible Long Snapper Solutions

Harbaugh announced that Ravens long snapper Morgan Cox is officially done for the season after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament and spraining his medial collateral ligament in his left knee Sunday.

That means the Ravens will be looking for a replacement snapper…and quick.

NFL.com’s Jason La Canfora believes long-time Redskin Ethan Albright and Jake Ingram, who was drafted by the Patriots in 2009 and also played for the Saints, will be among those competing for the job.

"[It's a] significant decision for [the] Ravens, who lost their [long snapper] for [the] season and have [kicker Billy] Cundiff and [punter Sam] Koch performing at an All Pro level," tweeted La Canfora.

Murray Not Sure Ravens Should Keep Kindle

In his weekly press conference, Harbaugh talked about trust with rookie linebacker Sergio Kindle after his DUI this weekend.

"When you look at somebody and you try to develop trust with a person, it depends on what you know about a person," Harbaugh said. "He’s got a track record for making really poor decisions, and he knows that. That’s a problem."

Harbaugh did not say he has lost trust with Kindle, but the Baltimore Sun’s Ken Murray is having a hard time giving the young linebacker the benefit of the doubt.

A fan asked Murray if the Ravens should move on from Kindle.

"It troubles me that Sergio is still drinking a lot with all that it has cost him," wrote Murray. "Almost like he still needs to learn the lesson of not drinking. He was a big loss this year because the pass rush would have been better with him. But it’s possible the team will decide to move on. I’m not sure he’s worth the trouble at this point. But I do not know what the team is thinking there. We will all see soon, I think."

He added, "It seems obvious to me that he has trouble regulating his social habits. … No one knows exactly what led up to the fall down the stairs. We’d be foolish not to think there was a party at the house. But until this instance, I was willing to give Sergio the benefit of the doubt. Now I’m not so willing. Not sure what the Ravens think."

Ravens Won’t Rest Players; Going For Win, Division

Fans have been discussing the benefits of resting Ravens players in Week 17 and simply getting ready for the first-round of the playoffs.

The Steelers matchup vs. the Browns is scheduled for the same 1 p.m. slot as the Ravens-Bengals game. The game’s outcome partly determines the Ravens’ division-winning chances.

That’s why Harbaugh admitted he will probably be scoreboard watching, but regardless of what happens in Cleveland, he intends to beat the Bengals.

"I’m sure we’ll be looking at the scoreboard… but we’re not pulling anybody out of the game. We’re trying to win," said Harbaugh.

Momentum is another key benefit of beating the Ravens’ division rival, as they could potentially head into the playoffs on a four-game winning streak.

 "It’s our thing; it’s the situation we face," Harbaugh said. "So, we’re playing for something, so, we’ll play. Heck, it’d be great to have the No. 1 seed all wrapped up and be able to rest some guys, but we’re not in that situation.

"We’ve got something to play for. You continue to play, and you keep momentum going and you continue to improve."

Quick Hits

 

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