Yesterday was not a good day at all for just about anybody outside of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ roster in the AFC North, as all of their division rivals dropped their games on Sunday, mostly in fairly convincing fashion. But the Baltimore Ravens’ loss to the Redskins was yet another close game in a string of them for the now 3-2 division runner-ups.
Whether coming out on the winning or losing end, the Ravens’ scores have been consistently close throughout the season. Every game was decided by a single possession, with yesterday’s 16-10 losses tying for their biggest scoring differential of the year.
The game was reminiscent of the season opener, a highly low-scoring affair in which they came on top over a struggling Bills team by the score of 13-7. Baltimore stormed back after going down 20-0 on the Browns a week later and ended up winning back a margin of 25-0.
A narrow two-point victory by a score of 19-17 put them over the Jaguars in yet another game in which they could have just as easily lost as they could have won, but the truth is that in their back-to-back losses the past two weeks, they could have just as easily won as they lost.
Last week, against the Raiders, the Ravens actually came through late in the game with a score to give themselves the edge, but Oakland came back with a game-winning touchdown drive to put them over the edge by a score of 28-27, beating a cornerback that they benched yesterday in doing so.
As for yesterday, Baltimore nearly hit on what could have been the game-winning touchdown pass with under a minute to play, but wide receiver Breshad Perriman was unable to tap his second foot inbounds in the end zone. The original ruling on the field, in fact, was that it was a touchdown, but a booth review confirmed that the receiver did not get both feet in.
That was on first down on a play from just outside of the red zone, however, so the game wasn’t over yet. A few more anxious plays for the visiting team lingered before they were able to celebrate the victory in nearby Baltimore.
The Ravens’ season, if anything, goes to show just how fluid an NFL season can be, and how fragile its outcome, that any result in any game can be decided by just a play or two. Baltimore has been on the winning and losing end of that reality multiple times already this season.
Although they are currently 3-2, their total scoring margin is just 94-88, meaning they have only scored six more total points thus far this year than their opponents, an average of 1.2 points per game, with the largest margin of any game being six points.
Compare that to the Steelers, who have won or lost by at least three possessions in four of their five games this year, with the line exception being an eight-point margin. Pittsburgh has scored 139 points and given up 93 for a margin of 46 points, or more than nine points per game, and that includes a 31-point loss.