Something happened on the way to 11-5

December 29, 2008 |

– Did it start with the firing of Brian Billick a year ago ?

-Was it Jason Garrett saying no to the Ravens and them picking John Harbaugh ?

– Was it the retirement of Jonathan Ogden and Steve McNair ?

– What about Rex Ryan getting no head coaching jobs this year and coming back to Baltimore ?

-Did it come in the form of Cam Cameron losing his job in Miami and connecting with his old friend John Harbaugh ?

-Was it the kid from Delaware named Joe Flacco that some people were suspect about if he could play at the NFL level ? Then not only taking this team, but the whole city on his back and marching them into the playoffs.

-The injuries to Troy Smith and Kyle Boller that paved the way for this guy from the Blue Hens to be a starter in the NFL.

-Was it the trying times at training camp when everything that could have gone wrong injury wise did ?

-Remember when we were talking about how letting John Welbourne leave without a deal was a mistake and Chad Slaughter and Mike Kracalik starting at the tackles in a game while we wondered how long Adam Terry and Jared Gaither would be out ?

-Questioning what Lorenzo Neal had in the tank when he showed up during training camp ? Willie Anderson ,who was told he could not play any more with the Bengals or in the NFL and being a huge part of this offensive line ?  How about Fabian Washington going from being run out of Oakland to one of the unsung star players this year ?

-Was it a fullback that would go on to have one of the best seasons of any Ravens running back ?

-Watching Kelly Gregg, Dawan Landry, Dwan Edwards, go down and the team not miss a beat. Seeing your all pro corner leave the team with an injury, and it possibly being a blessing in disguise.

-How about a guy who looks more like a coaches kid than a guy who came from the  Buffalo Bills and stepped into the secondary and they never missed a beat ?

-How about the punter who last year people were talking about how to pronounce his name and what it sounded like to being a huge factor for this team and helping the defense have the success that they have had ?

-How about a linebacker that many people questioned how much he had left in the tank going out and having a remarkable season 13 years into the league ?

-How about the safety who questioned if he would ever play football again in training camp, only to play and possibly be Defensive Player of the Year ?

-What about the wide receiver that many said is nothing more than a possession receiver, having a huge year including one of the more amazing performances any one has seen against the Cowboys ?

-Was it maybe not having a bye week and the focus this team showed going through 15 straight weeks of games including 6 out of 8 straight games on the road ?

-How about going into Texas Stadium for the final game in that stadium and beating the Dallas Cowboys in front of the whole world ?

-What about the character the team showed in responding from two tough losses to the Steelers and Titans on some some what controversial calls ?

-That wide receiver from Oklahoma that people said was not a deep threat, putting up some of the bigger deep plays of the season, and being the first Ravens receiver to have eight 100 yard games.

There are many more we could sit here and name, and they all plus the ones included would be reasons collectively as to why the Ravens are 11-5 and going to the playoffs. This has been an amazing run by a football team that seemed like they were going to be more like the 5-11 team the year before than a 11-5 team that people are talking about as a serious threat in the playoffs.

This has been one of the best years I have had covering a team. At every challenge that has come at this team, they have stared it down and moved on.