It is time for the Baltimore Ravens season review. Surprisingly the Ravens season ended kind of like the Baltimore Orioles season as both teams finished around .500 and just missed the playoffs. The Ravens finished the season with an eight and eight record.
The Ravens season came down to one huge flaw and that was their offensive line. New offensive line coach Juan Castillo deserves a lot of the blame but the Ravens did miss center Matt Birk who retired. Gino Gradkowski did a poor job with picking assignments. The offensive line was an overall mess and was the reason behind all of the Ravens offensive failures. The Ravens offensive line could not run block or pass block.
The offensive line was so bad that Joe Flacco barely made it through the season healthy and honestly probably should not have been playing in the last two games.
With that being said lets take a look at the best and worst of the Ravens season.
Most improved player: Jimmy Smith was the Ravens most improved player. Going into the season a lot of fans called him a bust, later in the season people were saying “Smith’s got this,” when the Ravens were facing Calvin Johnson of the Detroit Lions. Smith finished with 58 tackles, two forced fumbles, 16 pass defensed and two interceptions. James Ihedabo comes in as a close second.
Best off season pickup: Daryl Smith was the Ravens best pickup and probably should have gone to the Pro Bowl, but who really cares about that game anyway. Earlier in the season I asked fans who was the better pickup Elvis Dumervil or Smith. Now there is no question that Smith was he had 123 tackles, five sacks, three interceptions, two forced fumbles, and 19 pass defensed. Smith was all over the stat card of every game. Smith also was a strong leader and called the defensive plays.
Biggest surprise: Marlon Brown came out of no where and became one of the Ravens top weapons. Brown and Flacco had chemistry right away which is rare for a rookie wide receiver and almost unheard of from an undrafted one. Brown lead the Ravens with seven receiving touchdowns and had 49 receptions for 524 yards.
Biggest moment: Justin Tuckers game winning 61-yard field goal which at the time saved the Ravens season. Tucker was a perfect 6 for 6 in that game. Marlon Browns game winning touchdown reception against the Minnesota Vikings comes in a close second.
Best game of the season: The Ravens Vikings game was the best game of the season. The game was in the snow and the last five minutes when each team was going the length of the field one after the other was just incredible. I will never forget that game.
Worst off season pickup: Micheal Huff was supposed to come in and be the Ravens starting free safety, he was so bad that the Ravens decided to use two strong safeties. The Ravens moved Huff to special teams and he failed at that. Huff was released making less than five tackles for the Ravens.
Worst moment: Losing to the Pittsburgh Steelers early in the season. Let’s face it the Ravens had a lot of close games but no loss hurt more than losing in the final seconds to the Steelers. The Steelers were having a horrible season and it should have been an easy win.
Worst game of the season: The Ravens have three really bad games that stick out. The final game against the Cincinnati Bengals, the New England Patriots game, and the Denver Broncos game. All three of those games the Ravens were in it at halftime. The Bengals game has to be the worse because the Ravens could do nothing on offense despite picking off Andy Dalton four times.
Biggest flaw: As I said before and have drilled home, the Ravens had a horrible offensive line. Marshal Yanda was the Ravens only great offensive lineman.
Worst injury: The injury to Dennis Pitta really hurt the Ravens and the face of their offensive. Ed Dickson got off to a rocky start and Dallas Clark was not a good enough blocker to be a complete tight end. When Pitta came back the differences were night and day.
Most valuable player: This goes to Tucker, the Ravens Pro Bowl kicker. Tucker was consistent the entire season and was the Ravens best offensive weapon.