The quarterback play during Monday Night Football was simply awful. The Jaguars won despite rookie Blaine Gabbert, who completed just 9 of 20 passes for 93 yards. Ravens veteran Joe Flacco, meanwhile, completed 21 of 38 attempts but totaled just 137 yards -- with only eight coming before halftime, and 90 on a single drive.
To put the ugliness in perspective, eight individual quarterbacks threw for more yards Sunday than Gabbert and Flacco's combined total Monday.
So why did the Jaguars win? Defense, first and foremost, but also because they let Maurice Jones-Drew run the ball 30 times. It wasn't always pretty -- he fumbled three times, though he only lost one -- but he kept the chains moving and finished with 105 rushing yards.
Ray Rice, on the other hand, finished with just eight carries for 28 yards, adding five catches for 35 through the air. Why did Baltimore ignore its Pro Bowl running back on a night the passing game clearly wasn't working? John Harbaugh will hear that question all week -- including from his own players. Terrell Suggs kicked off the second-guessing with his post-game remarks. From Pete Prisco of CBS Sports:
"It baffles me that Ray Rice only had seven carries [actually eight]," Ravens veteran defensive end Terrell Suggs said. "This is a Pro Bowl running back you're talking about. They fed their horse. We have to feed our horse. It's all right, just calling a spade a spade."
I asked Suggs if that meant he was unhappy with the game plan.
"I don't really know what the game plan was," he said. "When I have a Pro Bowl running back, and he's not getting his touches, I'm going to feel some kind of way about it. He wants the ball. And I think we should feed him. Ray Rice is a phenomenal player. You have to use your phenomenal players. I have to question how many touches Anquan [Boldin] had. We've got guys on this team that can do some great things. We have to use those guys. It's that simple."
Rice lost a fumble on his third carry of the game, ending a streak of 522 consecutive touches without putting the ball on the turf. He didn't touch the ball again until three possessions later, catching a 10-yard pass on third-and-17. He had to wait another three possessions for his next touch after that, a four-yard run on third-and-nine.
Suggs isn't alone in being confused. The Ravens were within a touchdown of taking the lead for most of the game, so the clock wasn't a factor. And Flacco clearly wasn't moving the ball through the air, with the Ravens not converting a first down until most of the way through the third quarter. So why go multiple possessions in a row without giving Rice the ball? And why wait until third-and-long until doing so?
Harbaugh has six long days to mull that one over.