Letdown. Meltdown. They were too confident. Read too many newspapers. Heard too many good things being said about them.
Those are just a few of the many lines we’ve heard throughout this week from Ravens fans who simply cannot understand how their team that looked so dominant in Week 1 could come out the next week and barely cause a stir in Nashville.
Looking back on the game, I’m of the opinion that the Ravens just got beat. Plain and simple. In every aspect of the game. Coaching. Preparing. Playing. Competing.
Look, a part of me saw this coming. Before I bought into the hype that the Ravens would easily handle the Titans, I was weary. Is was the Titans’ home opener. It was Mike Munchak’s first home game as head coach. The Ravens and Titans have been longtime rivals going back to the Steve McNair and Eddie George years.
But then I listened to everyone else, and honestly listened to what my eyes told me on September 11 when the Ravens came out like gangbusters and put it to a Steelers team that has since rebounded quite nicely. I thought the Titans would keep it closer than people thought, but of course, most people THOUGHT the Ravens would win by 14-17 points.
The fact is that in today’s NFL, teams don’t just walk over their opponents every week. If it was so easy, we’d all bet the Ravens and Steelers and Patriots and Jets every week and go home millionaires after the season.
There are going to be weeks when the Ravens play below their standards. There are going to be weeks when their opponents will play above their heads.
Last Sunday, all the ingredients were there for the Titans to play over their heads. It was one of those magical days in Nashville when the stars aligned for the Titans to play what may turn out to be the best game they’ll play all season.
Having said that, it wasn’t just luck. The Titans really had a great plan and they executed it perfectly. On September 18th, the Titans played like a good football team. If the Titans came out every week and Matt Hasselbeck played like that and Kenny Britt exploited every mediocre corner and Nate Washington sped past defenders as he did in his old Pittsburgh days and their defense got pressure on every QB as they did to Joe Flacco, then they’d be a pretty darn good football team in 2011. They really would.
I don’t expect that to happen, just like I didn’t expect Cincinnati to look like they did in week 2 last season for the duration of the 2010 season.
Just as I don’t think the Ravens had an emotional letdown last Week 2, I don’t think they did this season either.
And just as the Ravens rebounded to go 12-4 last year and come an avalanche short of their second AFC Championship appearance in three seasons, I think the Ravens will rebound from this loss and find themselves at 3-1 heading into their BYE week.
We all want to make excuses. As fans, we want to blame someone for the loss. We never want to admit that the other team could possibly beat our team unless someone on our team screwed up.
It wasn’t the Ravens this time. It was the Titans.
They beat the Ravens, and they beat them in every phase of the game.