The Ravens are a team of destiny.
That’s what we heard after their comeback win against the San Diego Chargers last week at Qualcomm Stadium.
Following a successfully converted 4th and 29 on a near miraculous play by Ray Rice I admit that I started to buy into all of John Harbaugh’s clichés. Maybe he’s right (I thought) and there really is something special going on with the Ravens. I mean, c’mon man, who converts a 4th and 29?
And then this past Wednesday we heard of a near mutiny in the Ravens locker room following the team’s bye week and how like a family, they plowed through the drama and emerged more galvanized than ever.
Good stuff, right?
But let’s be real here. The Baltimore Ravens are not the team of destiny that John Harbaugh would like you to think they are. They are plagued by inconsistencies and they’ll likely ride their self-inflicted roller coaster to a first round exit in the playoffs.
Apparently the players bought into Harbaugh’s fairy tale too and maybe they just thought showing up AT HOME against the Charlie Batch led Steelers would be enough to escape with a win.
Talk about arrogance…
The Ravens are lucky that Batch didn’t relieve Byron Leftwich in Pittsburgh because they then might be tied with the Steelers at 8-4 and technically behind them due to head-to-head tiebreakers.
Luck (unfortunately I’m not talking Andrew) has been the Ravens’ friend this season.
Against the Patriots Justin Tucker barely made the game winner; at home against the Browns they were a dropped pass from a possible overtime game; in Kansas City a potential game winning score by Dwayne Bowe was overturned by a questionable offensive pass interference call; the Cowboys mishandling of the game clock and a makeable walk off field goal was missed; the Steelers were forced to play both games against the Ravens without Ben Roethlisberger.
And that Chargers game, wow! Who among you wasn’t screaming at the TV when Flacco dumped it down to Rice? We all heard Flacco’s postgame explanation that he thought Rice was his best option. Seriously? Sure it worked out but if he’s not lying then he’s just not the sharpest tool in the shed.
Just a lucky team…
Even in Sunday’s loss the Ravens were lucky that they even had a chance to go into overtime with a Shaun Suisham missed field goal attempt. Batch’s horrific overthrow of a wide-open Mike Wallace in the end zone during the second quarter prevented the Steelers from making it 13-10. Suisham did hit the field goal to close it to 13-6.
And then in the third quarter, Batch hit Emmanuel Sanders in stride on a deep crossing pattern (they do exist folks) and he’d still be running if not for the unforced error (fumble).
Shoddy tackling; poor coaching; dropped passes; a quarterback who couldn’t hit water if he fell out of a boat most of the night; very little pass rush; boneheaded personal fouls; and let’s not forget – arrogance.
The Ravens likely believed that after watching Batch against the Browns last week that there was no way he could beat them at M&T. And it showed up in the way they played, lacking intensity on a night when they could have put away the Steelers, their bitter archrivals, in the quest for the AFC North crown.
Now the Ravens have the daunting task of facing a young playmaker in RGIII next week on the road, the Manning brothers at home on back-to-back Sundays, and then Andy Dalton and the hot Bengals in Cincinnati.
After a 23-20 loss at home to the soon to be 38-year-old Charlie Batch, is there a “gimme” win in any of those four games?
Team of destiny, eh?
But at this point, let’s just call it destination unknown.