When you only play 16 games, no loss is beneficial.
Yes, it’s a marathon, not a sprint, and last night’s loss in Pittsburgh wasn’t catastrophic by any means, but that was what I term a “bad loss” on Monday evening.
If the rookie QB stumbles and bumbles all over himself in his national TV debut and the Steelers get 151 yards on the ground and they light up the Ravens secondary for 3 TD’s and Pittsburgh wins in a laugher, 34-10, you say, “ah, what the hell, you have a game or two like that on the road every year…”
But when you’re ahead 13-3 with 25 minutes to go in the game and you are CONTROLLING the flow of the game, you should win. Just about every time.
And when you don’t — it’s a bad loss. It’s a game you had won that you wound up losing. You go – in the Ravens case – from 3-0 and maybe starting to dream of the “P word” to falling to 2-1 and losing any momentum you established through the first four weeks of the campaign.
It’s probably going to take 9 wins to capture the AFC North this year. Having three in your pocket en route to 9 is better than having two in your pocket. First one to 9 wins, is my guess. Last night’s loss hurt our chance to get to 9 first.
To re-hash the dozens of “issues” from Monday night is senseless. The bad punt from Sam Koch, the dumb penalty by Jarett Johnson, the Flacco fumble that led to the 2nd Steelers’ TD, the non-factor of Heap, Williams and Clayton in the receiving corps, the decision to “sit on the ball” in the final 1:40 of regulation rather than press matters a little bit, and the penalty on the kick-off in overtime that hurtled the Ravens back deep into their own territory…those were ALL reasons why the team lost on Monday night.
No sense in beating any more of those specific things into the ground.
When Jeff Reed’s 46-yarder went through the uprights at 12:17am, one thing was clear. Ben Roethlisberger was the deciding factor in the game. He made plays – truly MADE plays – during the overtime period that put his team into position to win. To a man, Ravens players remarked after the game how difficult it is to stop Roethlisberger.
Do you know why I bring up Big Ben?
Because in spite of the loss, I think the positive for the Ravens is they’ve found their Big Ben. His name is Joe Flacco. For years, the Steelers searched for a quarterback and even though both Kordell Stewart and Tommy Maddox had successful runs in the Steel City, none of them were “the future QB”.
We all know about the Ravens QB woes. No need to discuss them here.
Pittsburgh’s franchise changed the day Ben Roethlisberger showed up.
And I think the Ravens franchise changed the day Joe Flacco was drafted.
Win or lose last night, Flacco stepped up and showed his game. Sure, he made a major mistake in the 3rd quarter. But he came back, better than ever, and guided the team down the field in the 4th quarter to tie the game.
They have Big Ben.
We have Joe Cool.
It’s a marathon, not a sprint.
Joe Flacco and the Ravens will be heard from again.