The Baltimore Ravens have been on both sides of the injury luck equation this year. While they have dealt with some huge injuries of their own, they have also benefitted from playing a number of opponents who have been severely weakened by key injuries even more significant than what Baltimore has endured, namely to starting quarterbacks.
One of those opponents was the Green Bay Packers, whom the Ravens shut out on Sunday in a truly futile effort from backup Brett Hundley. Yet the Ravens’ own backup quarterback, Ryan Mallett, may have had the dumbest moment of the day.
While the Ravens went on to win the game 23-0, the score was only 13-0 late in the third when Baltimore punted from deep in its own end. The Packers returned the ball out to their own 40, but Mallett—of course on the sideline, as a backup quarterback—was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct, putting Green Bay at the Ravens’ 45.
The unsportsmanlike conduct penalty was a product of hurling verbal abuse at an official. Head Coach John Harbaugh said that he did not hear what was said at the time, but that he was told later on, and that he would not repeat what was said.
Yet it was severe enough language that the head coach said the team would discipline him in-house for his actions, though it is entirely unclear what that might entail.
Mallett’s penalty comes at a time during which the Ravens and Harbaugh are explicitly looking for a boost from their special teams unit, which includes cutting down on penalties, so for a player who does not even participate in the unit in any way to hurt them is especially egregious.
“Until Ryan starts sitting in this room here during special teams meetings — unless he’s cheering for us — we’re probably not going to need his help that way“, Harbaugh said about Mallett’s verbal outburst.
Steelers fans will of course know Mallett best for the fact that he led the Ravens to a win over Pittsburgh starting in place of Joe Flacco a couple of years ago in a game that they clearly should have won. Overall, he is a quarterback who has failed to live up to his initial billing.
While Flacco was out during the preseason with a back injury, Mallett starting all four games. He completed just 31 of 58 pass attempts for 248 yards, completing 53.4 percent of his passes and averaging just 4.3 yards per attempt. He threw two touchdowns and two interceptions.
For his career, he has started eight games and his completing 55.1 percent of his passes for 5.3 yards per attempt. He has 10 touchdown passes to seven interceptions. This season, he has completed nine of 15 passes for 56 yards and two touchdowns.