The bye week can't arrive soon enough for a Baltimore Ravens squad that finds itself at a crossroads.
The Texans seized AFC supremacy, but Ian Rapoport warns against dismissing the Ravens. Plus, NFL-wide notes. **More ...**
Baltimore's long-forged team identity has flipped before our eyes this season. Ranked among the NFL's top-10 defensive teams for the past nine seasons, this year's Ravens have tumbled to 26th, leaning on their quarterback and a no-huddle passing game to pull themselves out of jams. The arrangement is awkward, and the results aren't promising.
"I'm concerned about everything," coach John Harbaugh told The Baltimore Sun. "What aren't you concerned about? Sometimes you get tossed out of the bar. We came in (against Houston) with hype, with good intentions and ready to battle. I thought our guys fought. We kept running back in and they kept throwing us back out."
It's too early to panic, but today's Ravens are far from the squad that outdueled the New England Patriots in Week 3 to gain revenge for last year's AFC title game loss. Baltimore was a popular pick to return to that game before a laundry list of injuries set in.
On the field, the absence of cornerback Lardarius Webb arguably is more problematic than losing linebacker Ray Lewis, but the Ravens on Sunday lacked a compass, which has everything to do with turnover and age.
Mike Preston of The Sun graded the returning Terrelle Suggs as the best player on the field for the Ravens. It says much about Suggs, and much about the state of this defense.
Ravens fans don't want to hear this. Their team is 5-2 and very much alive, but the trajectory is disturbing, and it will take more than Suggs to right the ship.