BALTIMORE — Following the Baltimore Ravens’ (8-4) loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers (9-3) Sunday night at M&T Bank Stadium, I bumped into veteran FoxSports.com NFL writer Alex Marvez on our way to the losing and winning locker rooms respectively.
Marvez has seen plenty of rivalry games during his time covering the league, but stopped for a second and shook his head almost in disbelief.
I said back to him “of all of the losses to Pittsburgh…for some reason…this one feels like the worst.”
He nodded in agreement. I then added “this couldn’t happen.”
There’s still a part of me that believes that.
I understand the hangover feeling that will play out throughout Charm City this week. In fact, “hangover” might not be a good enough word to describe it. “Coma” might be a better choice. I understand that I might as well forget about the word “rational” for 72 hours or so. I understand that this city will not recover from this one quickly.
This one really COULDN’T have happened. Not like that.
This really does feel worse than any of the losses to Pittsburgh before.
It’s hard to compare to the 2009 AFC Championship Game because the stakes were much higher at Heinz Field that day. But even with the reality of a trip to the Super Bowl being only a late scoring drive away, that one didn’t feel quite so crushing.
Much like the Ravens’ earlier loss at Heinz Field that season (on Monday Night Football), there was a feeling of “we were probably just fortunate to be here.” The Ravens had a rookie head coach in John Harbaugh and a rookie starting quarterback in Joe Flacco, and it appeared as though the heartbreak would be lessened by the likelihood of multiple return trips to that level in the future.
More so, the Championship Game was a game that the Steelers thoroughly dominated. The Ravens hung around thanks to a couple of pass interference calls in the endzone, but it never felt like they truly deserved to win that day.
The 2008 loss at M&T Bank Stadium felt similar to the disaster Sunday night, as it was a game that the Ravens controlled throughout, but couldn’t put away. The loss hurt because it ended amidst the controversy of a Santonio Holmes TD catch