submitted by Matt Pyne
It’s been a rough two days, no doubt. Nobody honestly expected to be out this soon. It feels like 2006 all over again. Back then, the Ravens had finished the Regular Season 13-3 and were in store for perhaps the biggest playoff matchup in franchise history, at least to the city of Baltimore. The #2 seed Ravens faced the #3 seed Indianapolis Colts. This was the first playoff meeting of the current and former Baltimore franchises, and the Ravens lost 15-6 in stunning fashion, failing to even muster an offensive touchdown.
The game on Saturday felt eerily similar in nature. The Ravens offense struggled to put points on the board despite Lamar Jackson accounting for over 500 total yards. This loss, like the 2006 loss, was at home. Fans at the game and in the bar in Federal Hill (where I was) looked completely lost. I had high hopes for this squad as we all did. 14-2, The All-Time leading rushing team, an MVP quarterback. The 2019-2020 Baltimore Ravens had it all. They were poised to make a Super Bowl run…or at least advance past their first game. None of that matters now. The season is over. We have to begin to move on.
Football and sports in general in the end are just a game. A silly little game. They provide us enjoyment or maybe a distraction from everyday life. But to me this season, Ravens football was more than just a game. It brought the city of Baltimore and the surrounding areas together. I saw the town light up in purple. I heard people talking about the team everywhere; I couldn’t escape it. The excitement was palpable. The Ravens have long provided Baltimore winning ways, but I hadn’t seen the fervor this exuberant in sometime…quite possibly 10 years or more.
So, in 48 short hours, you go through the Five Stages of grief after the initial shock (I don’t think I’m past anger yet). The 2019 Ravens will hold a special place in my heart. But here’s the good news: they aren’t going away. This team is poised to come back stronger than ever. With cap room and a young core, Eric DeCosta knows exactly what offseason improvements need to be made and he’s the kind of executive to make sure that happens.
Age for some key players on the Ravens:
Marquise Brown: 22
Lamar Jackson: 23
Marlon Humphrey: 23
Orlando Brown Jr: 23
Mark Andrews: 24
Chuck Clark: 24
Gus Edwards: 24
Ronnie Stanley: 25
Marcus Peters: 27
The future is bright in Baltimore😈
— Kevin Oestreicher (@koestreicher34) January 13, 2020
What’s going to be written about Lamar, the coaching staff, and the team in general in the offseason will just be noise. “They can’t win when it counts,” “Lamar choked,” “They panicked.”
What’s key now is to focus. Perhaps they won’t regain the magic from this season and that’s probably for the best. This team plays better when they are doubted. Revisiting what could have been seems useless now. I’ve been as critical as anyone about the game plan. Calling for 70+ passes is mind-blowing and absurd. It’s almost as if Greg Roman was trying to prove something instead of playing Ravens football.
THEY CALLED 70+ PASS PLAYS AND PAT RICARD GOT 7 SNAPS pic.twitter.com/DThfh65a3T
— Matthew Pyne (@Mpyne_) January 13, 2020
We’ll be back. I won’t look back on 2019 and remember this team for the playoff loss. I’ll remember what it did for the community. We rallied behind a great team and they really showed what it means to be a team. I want more in 2020.
2011 left a bad taste in everyone’s mouth. 2012 brought a Lombardi trophy.
We’ll see what 2020 has in store.