Classic in the sense that the Ravens elevated the blood pressure of their fan base, yet once again. Classic in the sense that the Ravens offense was non-existent for 3-plus quarters, yet once again. Classic in the sense that it appeared they pulled off another win by just being one play better than their “challenged” opponent. The Ravens are a tough team to watch. They are not a team for the light-hearted. If you cannot handle roller-coaster rides, than you cannot handle being a Ravens fans. This past Sunday, the game was another classic of Ravens frustration. They finally put a drive together and went up 15-12 with 2:05 minutes left. At that point, I thought the game was won. And then…….the game turned into an NFL Classic.
The snow and inclement weather was cool. It was cold. It was wet. There was poor visibility. There was poor footing. The fans were “primed”. The environment was inviting for a Classic to surface. Then for about 58 minutes we watched over-paid grown men playing a neighborhood backyard football game in the snow. Ok, we’ll add poor officiating, by refs that have no real accountability. Best part about those 58 minutes, you could surf between multiple 1:00 games – and most of them had snow or “classic” football weather.
The Ravens contribution to football folklore did occur in those last 2 minutes and 5 seconds. But the elevated blood pressure started with that late 4th quarter TD drive and the ensuing 2-point conversion (Flacco to Torrey Smith). That score put the Ravens up by 3. Was anybody going to feel real comfortable with the Ravens being up by less than a field goal with time still on the clock? So bang, 2:05 left Ravens up 15-12 “We won!”, 1:27 left – Gerhart run up the middle, Minnesota Whiners up 19-15, RUKM – “We lost”, 1:16 left Savior Jacoby kickoff return Ravens up 22-19, RUKM – “We Won!”, 0:45 left #84 burns Ravens again on 79 yard screenplay, Minn Whiners up 26-22, 0:04 left Flacco to Marlon Brown draggin’ his feet in the snow on the endline – TD, Ravens up 29-26 RUKM – “We (may) have Won!” There’s 4 seconds left and the Minn Whiners still have a chance to score. Squibb kick/tackle/game over – relief – now, what just happened?
If you were there and stayed……..you have a story to pass on to your grandchildren. If you were home comfy and cozy on your couch…….you have a story to pass on to family and friends. If you were lucky enough to catch it at all…..you have a story to tell anybody. Quite an experience. Pretty cool. It was even cooler that they won.
I have not been a big Flacco fan this year. I like Flacco. Been supporting him since day one. Maybe it’s the contract. Maybe it’s me expecting to much. Whatever it is, he is the cat running the show and the show ain’t been pretty. I will give him kudos for maintaining his composure while projecting a “Cool, Calm, Collected” – (The Rolling Stones), demeanor. The Ravens and Baltimore experienced quite the rollercoaster ride of win, loss, win, loss, win. Total ride in real time, 10-15 minutes. Good calls, no calls, bad calls, screw all that. The boys on the field and game environment dictated those 10-15 minutes of “Classic” football.
Do the Ravens have a shot for the playoffs? Yes, mathematically they do. What does your heart tell you? My first reaction – no way, the Ravens are not a very good team. They can’t run the ball, they can’t block, they can’t blow anybody out, they can’t close and they’re really not that good against the no huddle. What they can do is, win 7 games so far and keep playoff hopes alive one more week. They are not a team of destiny, like last year. They are a team, that if they hang close enough, they do have play makers that can make something happen.
What’s next? At Lions, Patriots here (augh – I don’t even like typing that name) and then at Bengals. It’s going to be a tough road. My thoughts – beat (I mean whoop) that team from the Northeast, then I really don’t care how they end up. Denver with Peyton healthy, looking fairly formidable. And I like the 49er’s. Suggestion to MASN if they make this a Ravens Classic for viewing down the road; condense the first 55 minutes into 15, then let the last 5 minutes of the game play out. Then finish with those post game interviews. Jacoby Jones establishing himself as a “must” go to interviewee. Go Ravens.