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One Winning Drive: Apocalypse in Baltimore?

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I’ve got to take a moment to comment, briefly, on something that’s been bugging me in the 24 hours since the Ravens loss to the Giants. This is an out-of-the-norm post for this blog.

Already today I’ve been greeted by numerous articles from local and national media outlets proclaiming “what do the Ravens do now?” and “what does this loss mean for the Ravens?” It’s as if the Ravens season has ended with their loss to the Giants. It’s as if all chances of making the playoffs have been squashed out.

But guess what? The loss wasn’t that surprising.

Even on Ravens-oriented sites, the Ravens were considered underdogs. ExtremeRavens has been experiencing server issues, so chat leading up to the game here was not possible. But I can bet you that if it were, you wouldn’t find anyone calling the game a *** I'm stupid for thinking this game is easy ***, a sure win, or anything else along those lines. In fact, for the first time all season, I even picked against the Ravens (that’s another story).

Look at the national and local media for a moment.  The Baltimore Sun’s eight sports writers all picked the Giants. Every single analyst on ESPN (both on the website and on Sunday Countdown) picked the Giants. Bill Simmons picked the Ravens… with the spread. He did not pick them flat out. I do not remember reading a single national voice that thought the Ravens would win on Sunday. Not one.

So why is this loss the end of the world?

It’s something that bothers me every year, in every sport. The #25 ranked team plays the #4 ranked team in College Basketball and loses. And suddenly that #25 ranked team is out of the rankings. But isn’t that what was expected?

Dear Baltimore Fans… Dear Football Writers… Dear Everyone…

The Ravens lost on Sunday. But somehow, they are still 6-4. They are still in the playoff hunt. In fact, the NFL believes so firmly that the Ravens still have a chance, they are going to let the Ravens play out the rest of the season. How merciful of them.

With every loss to a good opponent, the Ravens are learning. They are not a perfect team, but they are not an awful team either. Lucky for the Ravens, they have faced the two toughest teams in the league right now (the Giants and Titans) and they won’t have to face either again, unless they the playoffs become a reality.

So rather than spending this week doing our best impersonations of Chicken Little, why don’t we all settle back and actually discuss what this team can do and what they need to do as the season enters its final stretch? The sky is not falling, the season is not over. This team lost a game it was supposed to lose. It may not have been pretty, but to spin the old cliche, pretty doesn’t show up in the standings.

The players are going to get over it. The coaches are going to get over it. You didn’t see this team carry that loss against Indianapolis around for very long, did you? So let’s do our best to get over it ourselves, as fans and writers.

I’ll start: Joe Flacco has pretty well learned how to avoid making mistakes. He is a legitimate threat when he has the ball, both with his arm and his legs. He’s learned how to avoid sacks, make plays, and he is what brings our offense to life. Now we need everyone else on the offense to learn the same. They don’t have to make huge plays or become game-changers. But they do have to learn how to avoid mistakes themselves, especially against good opponents.

Your turn.

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