MIKE BURKE

Allegany Communications Sports

Chronologically speaking, it was Step No. 4 in the five-step disaster that will forever be remembered as the State of Maryland’s Most Miserable Sports Weekend:

  1. Landover (that’s Maryland) Commanders lose to the lowly Chicago Bears on Thursday night.
  2. Maryland Terps absorb first loss of the season at Ohio State after leading for over half the game Saturday afternoon.
  3. Baltimore Orioles falter against a starter-by-committee to lose Game 1 of the ALDS, 3-2, to the Texas Rangers late Saturday afternoon, with the Rangers’ top two starters waiting in the next two games.
  4. Baltimore Ravens completely stink up the joint on Sunday afternoon and send the stupid meter off the dial in losing, 17-10, to a bad Pittsburgh Steelers team in a game that should have been in their back pocket by halftime.
  5. Baltimore Orioles close the weekend Sunday evening by being handled by the Rangers, 11-8, in Game 2 of the ALDS.

Though the Orioles would be swept on Tuesday by the Rangers to bring an abrupt end to a fantastic season, Step 4 and the Ravens’ ongoing ineptitude take the weekend’s top prize for most ludicrous performance.

In the mistake-filled loss to the Steelers, the Ravens showed they haven’t learned from previous meltdowns, although it had been two whole weeks since the last one to the Indianapolis Colts.

All of the receivers joined forces to drop five passes that hit them directly in the hands, two in the end zone to Mark Andrews and Rashod Bateman on back-to-back plays.

Zay Flowers had two drops and Nelson Agholor had one as well, all on plays they were wide open on, and all on plays that easily could have resulted in touchdowns.

Baltimore’s five drops were the most in an NFL game since Week 13 of last season and the most by a Ravens team since 2021. The Ravens are third in the NFL with seven drops in the end zone since 2020.

There were also the usual turnovers, fumbles by Justice Hill and Lamar Jackson, and an interception by Jackson. Despite the interception and despite all of the dropped passes, Jackson still turned in the top quarterback rating in the NFL for the week.

There was also a blocked punt that led to a safety and then there was the unplanned snap on the final play of the first half when the Ravens were leading by just 10-3 when they should have been leading by at least 17-0.

On fourth-and-2 from the Pittsburgh 23, Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said the plan was to run down the play clock, call a timeout and kick a field goal. Center Tyler Linderbaum thought a Steeler jumped offside, though, so he snapped the ball to Jackson, who threw an incomplete pass, and the Ravens missed out on extending their lead. Nothing more than another case of “miscommunication,” according to Harbaugh

Nothing more than another Ravens clinic in how to blow a game they had complete control of.

“Same old scenario every time,” said Ravens linebacker Patrick Queen. “I’m pretty sick of it.”

He’s not alone.

I don’t know if Harbaugh actually calls these things, but through the many years, through the many coordinators and players, the same dumb, stupid and moronic things keep happening in Ravens games and Harbs just stands there with the Vinnie Barbarino “What?” look on his kisser.

It reminds me of when my therapist once asked me what I believe the common denominator had been in all of my failed relationships and I told him I had no idea what he was talking about. He looked over the top of his glasses and told me, “Oh, I believe you do.”

Ravens fans don’t care about miscommunication and a center surprising everyone by snapping the ball to try to get an offside call. The Ravens have the best, most accurate and highest-paid kicker in the history of the game. It’s a 40-yard field goal against a team that can’t score. It’s Justin Tucker … Just kick. The damn ball.

Instead? Harbaugh plays his usual Robert Conrad macho games of chicken on a fourth down when it’s an obvious field-goal situation. And the Ravens. Get nothing.

You didn’t see Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin hesitate to take free points for his offensively-challenged team. Free points, after all, are free points. The vast majority of head coaches — name any level — really like free points.

The Ravens themselves are the only reason they are not undefeated and comfortably in first place of the AFC North. And guess what else they did? They single handedly rejuvenated a left-for-dead Steelers team and vaulted them into first place, making them, according to Vegas, the odds-on favorite to win the division.

That’s so Ravens.

The good news is the Ravens are in London on Sunday unless Tyler Linderbaum flew the plane and thought it was a better idea to go to Paris. The bad news is the game with the Tennessee Titans begins at 9:30 a.m., which is about two hours too late to be too early to watch.

Mike Burke writes about sports and other stuff for Allegany Communications. He began covering sports for the Prince George’s Sentinel in 1981 and joined the Cumberland Times-News sports staff in 1984, serving as sports editor for over 30 years. Contact him at [email protected] and [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @MikeBurkeMDT