When an offense is struggling -- like the 29th-ranked one for the Baltimore Ravens -- you'll often hear it described as "predictable" by fans and critics. But, if the report in The Baltimore Sun is correct, this label is a very accurate one.
A team source told The Sun's Mike Preston that the Patriots knew what was coming so often that they were calling out the Ravens' plays at the line of scrimmage. New England players yelled out "airplane" when the Ravens were going to pass the ball and shouted "car" when it was a run.
"It was pathetic," the source said. "It still comes down to execution, but you do need the element of surprise. We're giving a lot of things away and it hasn't gotten better throughout the year. Our play calling has been poor."
To be honest, it didn't take an NFL player to call out what the Ravens were going to run. In the first half, before the game got out of hand, the Ravens ran the ball on all but two first downs and threw the ball on all five third downs.
Unlike the previous five seasons, you can't blame Cam Cameron. The criticism now falls on offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell, who has yet to recreate the same magic from last season's Super Bowl run.
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The Patriots limited tight end Dennis Pitta to four catches for 34 yards because of a physical game plan. “We call it a hit call,” coach John Harbaugh said, via the team's official website. “Whenever [Pitta] was aligned within striking range of the box, the defensive ends came out and took shots at him. I think they were hitting him pretty much every opportunity within yards on crossing routes and things like that. They did quite a bit to keep him under control.”
Harbaugh isn't shy about his admiration for Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green, who is fourth in the NFL in receiving yards. “I think I was the first guy that came out two years ago and said I thought he was the best receiver in football,” Harbaugh said, via Comcast SportsNet. “I’m on record with A.J. Green kudos. I’ll just stand on that.”
As The Press Box noted, the Ravens had three starters injured in Sunday's game against the Patriots: defensive end Arthur Jones (concussion), linebacker Daryl Smith (Achilles) and wideout Marlon Brown (hip). "Nobody is ruled out at this time," Harbaugh said. "We’ll know more on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday -- in terms of who practices and those kinds of things. When we have an update on that, we’ll let you know.”