And yet, in a weird kind of way, now maybe Trent Dilfer knows how the other teams felt back in ’00-’01 when he and the rest of the Ravens offense stood back and let the defense punch everyone else in the mouth and win either via a Matt Stover field goal or a defensive score. He got “Dilfered” today, as the Ravens defense – circa 2000 – once again rose to the occasion while the Ravens offense sputtered along like an old ’73 Pinto with 180,000 miles.
Today in San Francisco, the Ravens won, which is obviously the most important element of any conversation you can have with a fellow purple fan over the next six days. How they won, why they won and can they win many more like this are probably questions better left to discuss tomorrow. Tonight, bask in the glow of a 9-7 win that puts Baltimore at 3-2.
That is, YOU can bask in the glow of the 9-7 win.
I’ll take the other path.
I’ll travel down the “we’re not very good and today proved it” lane, if you don’t mind.
What we saw today was a mixture of good fortune, a dynamic performance from our new running back and the trusty old leg of a field goal kicker who missed two chances last week, prompting a couple of nitwits to e-mail me Sunday night and proclaim that Stover “is done”. I wonder where those two buffoons are tonight? Stover’s three kicks were absolutely the difference today – because the Ravens could STILL be playing and they wouldn’t have yet gotten in the end zone. If the Ravens would have won 24-21, it would have been because Stover kicked 8 field goals. That’s how bad it was.
Bart Scott finally made an impact. So did Jarrett Johnson and Kelly Gregg. And even Terrell Suggs got some TV time today, something he’s been missing the last couple of weeks. Yes, today was a day for those four to shine.
But the boys in purple better enjoy the next couple of weeks. Hapless St. Louis comes to town next Sunday for an inevitable 27-0 thrashing and then the Ravens head to Buffalo the following week where they’ll probably win 19-13 on four Stover field goals and an Ed Reed punt return for a TD.
After that, the wins are going to be few and far between.
Unless something very dramatic happens between now and Halloween, the Ravens will do their trick-or-treating with a 5-2 record.
Unfortunately, unless something even MORE dramatic happens, the Ravens won’t double that 5-win total over the last 9 games of the campaign.
Right now, based on the first 5 games, the Ravens are not a 10-win football team in the very tough AFC.
San Francisco’s first-half offensive performance might have been the worst 30 minutes of offense I’ve ever seen – and that’s saying a lot because we here in Baltimore have seen some pretty “fugly” offense over the years.
I thought Mike Nolan’s team was going to petition the league to change their name to “3rd down and 9’ers” after that first half of inteptness.
Ah, but we knew the Ravens would make it difficult for themselves. And who knows, if not for Joe Nedney’s miss with 3:20 to go, the Ravens might have actually LOST this game, which would have been perhaps the cruelest loss ever witnessed here in Baltimore – well, maybe that 30-3 O’s defeat to Texas this August was worse, but no one in town cares about baseball anymore, so let’s stick with football and cruel losses. Yes, this one would have been a backbreaker.
Thankfully, their field goal kicker is just halfway decent and our field goal kicker should run for Governor.
What we saw today was one marginally decent team beating a team trying to find its way. Indianapolis, Dallas or New England would have won this game today 31-7. Hell, Seattle beat the 49’ers in San Fran last Sunday 23-3 and they lost in Pittsburgh today, 21-0.
The Ravens are good enough to beat teams like San Francisco. And they’re also bad enough to lose to teams like Cleveland.
I don’t have a good feeling about what lies ahead.
And yet, a win IS a win and, given the way the Ravens dominated, it was most certainly a game they fully deserved to win.
The next two weeks should be relative lay-ups in a league (and team) that doesn’t often provide lay-ups.
I think it might get ugly in another 6 weeks or so.
Until then, enjoy your season.
It’s still better than watching your baseball team lose 90 games every summer.
By the way, any chance we can trade for 49’ers defensive end Marques Douglass tonight?