All things considered, I’ll remain quite pleased with 4-2 this morning.
Sure, I could lament the colossal losses in Ohio over the past month — the Heap catch in Cincy, the missed field goals, the McAlister breakdown in Cleveland, etc. But what’s the point, right?
Yesterday, the Ravens won another NFL game without their starting quarterback, center, two left tackles, two tight ends and a defensive Pro Bowl lineman. And they won big, 22-3, at home over a woeful outfit from St. Louis. Pity poor Gus Frerotte, who looked utterly overwhelmed by the purple defense yesterday. Pity anyone who gets chased down and caught by Kelly Gregg these days!
The Ravens have one football game to play over the next 21 days, and again, it’ll be another “deer in the headlights” quarterback waiting for them in Buffalo next Sunday in Trent Edwards.
The rest time and the bye week could not have been more strategically aligned this season for the Ravens. Just get through Buffalo, find a way to win and get to 5-2 and we’ll worry about the second half of the season when the time comes in Pittsburgh on Nov. 5th.
Right now, the Ravens — even starting third stringers at key positions — look like they can be a playoff team, and that’s all you can ask for.
Will they give New England or Indianapolis a game later in the regular season? Hard to say, but it’ll be a good problem to have if winning those games is the difference between playing in January or not. They’ll either be good enough (re: healthy enough) or they won’t be. But the good news for the Ravens is that they’ll get a chance to find out by actually playing those teams and both of them have to come here to Baltimore. (Dallas got to see firsthand what the Pats were all about yesterday, and right now, they aren’t good enough!)
With the team nursing so many injuries, it’s hard to evaluate exactly how good they can be. But in October, it doesn’t matter.
How many teams have we seen win championships in October?
The key is how healthy and how well you play in January. Just ask the Colorado Rockies, who will be going to the World Series later this week. Two weeks ago, they weren’t very good and needed help just to get into the playoffs. Now, they look unbeatable at the right time.
We all know the real tests for the Ravens won’t come until we start seeing some legitimate “January-type” NFL teams. You can’t learn much about your mettle by beating the Rams and the 49ers. But those games DO count!
In the meantime, praise the schedule gods for the cupcake games this month and pad the win column while you can.
New England and Indianapolis are coming soon…
Rest up Steve McNair and Mike Flynn. Get well soon, Trevor Pryce, Dan Wilcox, Todd Heap and Adam Terry.
With more wins like yesterday, we’re gonna need you in January!