I decided to do this a little differently tonight. When I go to a game, I am forced to check my “fan” status at the door to the press box and work as nothing more than an impartial analyst. When I watch games at home, I can let my emotions get the best of me, cheer loudly, and celebrate with friends. I was very emotional after the Ravens’ 31-26 win over the Chargers today, so I decided to take some time before compiling my thoughts about what happened in Qualcomm Stadium.
I can’t stress how significant the win in San Diego has the potential to be. The Chargers are a VERY good football team, and will be amongst the contenders in the AFC for the rest of the season. They will likely cruise to an AFC West crown (spare me the talk about how the Broncos are 2-0), and will be competitive for a first round bye, home field advantage, etc. Not only did the Ravens win a game that most analysts penciled in as a loss before the season, but they game themselves a leg up in potential tie-breakers just 2 weeks into the season.
But the accomplishments of the win over the Chargers are so much greater than that. The Ravens have established themselves as a team that SHOULD be there. A team that can win games no matter the circumstances, no matter the opponent. Beating the Chargers in San Diego shows that the Ravens are contenders in EVERY game they play, and are particularly unlikely to lose games in the blowout fashion that they lost to the Colts and Giants last season.
The win over the Chargers shows that the Ravens can travel across the country, face a quality opponent, succeed offensively, and figure out a way to win. The win over the Chargers shows that even when they don’t do everything right, they can beat teams that are on par with them.
It wasn’t a beautiful performance. Domonique Foxworth and Fabian Washington were left in difficult situations and struggled mightily. Norv Turner’s staff decided that they were going to have to try to throw the ball downfield, and they did it on every play. Greg Mattison’s defense didn’t get to the quarterback enough, and the secondary struggled.
But the Ravens won. On the road. Across the country. Against a very good team.
That’s what the Colts have done for the last ten years. When their passing offense was struggling, they found ways to win.
That’s what the Patriots have done for the last ten years. When Tom Brady struggled, they found ways to win.
That’s what the Steelers have done for the last ten years. When their rugged defense bent, they found ways to win.
The Ravens have done it at times, but they didn’t do it with regularity. Now they can. They are solid at every position. Great at some (DT jumps out at me), but solid everywhere. They are capable of winning no matter the circumstances.
This was an example of that. And it will absolutely resonate moving forward. This team will not just go into every game believing to win, or expecting to win, but knowing that they SHOULD win.
It’s a pretty cool feeling.
(Here’s Ray Lewis’ hit of Darren Sproles…..maybe his best ever.)
(And here’s Ray talking about the play afterwards)