Allegany Communications Sports
It was a mixed bag for the fans here in 2 Hours from Everywhere and for two of the three teams in our 2-Hour Drive Conference (2HDC), #NFLTheTVShow version, that played on Sunday.
The Washington Commanders continued to steal the show with another gritty victory, 19-13, over the Atlanta Falcons in spite of its ownership that continues to stoop to new lows with just the latest display of Dan Snyder’s infinite capacity for taking any situation – in this case, something that could have been very good – and making it worse.
At the same time, the Baltimore Ravens again proved themselves to be incapable of taking advantage of seemingly good fortune by laying a giant egg in Jacksonville with a 28-27 last-second loss to the now 4-7 Jaguars.
For the Ravens, they did everything badly — Mark Andrews’ fumble on the Jacksonville 30 to kill what had been a promising first-half drive, to having to settle for three field goals on three deep drives into Jaguars territory, also in the first half, to flipping the field position to Jacksonville’s favor with a bonehead decision to go for the first on fourth-and-one at midfield and culminating with the complete collapse by the defense on the Jaguars’ final possession of the game that ended up being the winning possession of the game.
On top of everything else, the Ravens have next to zero passing game, as their wide receivers are incapable of getting open with any consistency; and on the rare occasions they do get open, the deep passing accuracy of quarterback Lamar Jackson has left much to be desired this season.
Trailing 28-27 with four seconds left in the game, the Ravens turned to the incomparable Justin Tucker to bail them out once more with an improbable 67-yard field goal attempt. At that point, it was their only chance, but this one was too tall of an order for even Tucker, who hit the kick straight but came up a few yards short.
The Ravens cannot continue to depend on their kicker to bail them out every week, certainly not from 67 yards out, so they certainly got what they deserved with the red-zone issues they’ve been having now for two weeks in a row as well as the defensive collapse late in the game.
At 7-4 they are now tied with the Cincinnati Bengals for first place in the AFC North, but presently hold the tiebreak in head-to-head meetings. Yet this marks the fourth of all four of the Ravens’ losses in which they have surrendered two-score leads in the fourth quarter.
Clearly, this is a problem.
As for the Commanders, they continued to roll right along in beating the Falcons for their sixth win in seven games to keep their playoff run alive, as fans continue to grow more comfortable with embracing all that quarterback Taylor Heinicke is and not worrying about what he isn’t.
Whatever it is that Heinicke is certainly seems to fit for this team that has willfully followed the determined and focused leadership of its head coach Ron Rivera, which is fortunate, as there remains so much with this organization to stay focused away from.
Sunday at FedEx was the day the Commanders honored the legacy of the great safety Sean Taylor on the 15th anniversary of his shooting death during a robbery in his Miami home. The main event was to be the unveiling of the “Sean Taylor Memorial Installation” that far too many of us were foolish enough to believe would be a statue of Taylor.
Personally, there would be others from this organization’s history whom I would deem more statue-worthy, Sammy Baugh, Bobby Mitchell, Charley Taylor, Sonny Jurgensen, John Riggins and Joe Gibbs coming immediately to mind; but given all that Taylor meant to the organization and that generation’s fans, I believed this to be a worthy and noble gesture on the organization’s part.
I’ll never learn, will I?
The organization tried to honor Taylor last year on short notice by retiring his No. 21 jersey with a half-arsed ceremony, but they had a year to get this one right, choosing to announce the event in June and setting the hopes of the fans extremely high.
What the fans got, and what this disgraceful organization delivered prior to Sunday’s game, was what seems to be a faceless wire mannequin, with a Nike No. 21 jersey (Taylor wore a Reebok jersey, but Nike is now NFL issue) and soccer cleats with “World Cup” written on them.
Now, I am no art critic, but what the Commanders unveiled on Sunday looked more like a display one is likely to see in the team’s souvenir shop, not a form of art of any kind.
It looked like somebody told a team intern to throw something together a few hours before the game, as the words “cheap,” “irresponsible,” and “despicable” came immediately to mind.
All of which adds up to one cheap, irresponsible and despicable word we’ve come to know as “Snyder.”
God love Ron Rivera, a far finer person than the person who hired him deserves.
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