As most of you know by now, I’m a native San Diegan and the Chargers have been my NFL team since birth. Even though I’ve lived in the City of Charm since 2000, my allegiance to my team hasn’t wavered.
And that could be hard since the Ravens have won two Lombardi trophies during that time and have one of the best run NFL organizations in the league.
But as the old saying goes, “the heart wants what the heart wants.”
So that brings me to Sunday afternoon at the Big Crab Cake, aka M&T Bank Stadium.
The Ravens were hosting my Bolts as both teams were in the playoff mix with identical 7-4 records. Some pundits were saying prior to the game that it would be an elimination game in regards to the playoffs and such.
And if that wasn’t enough pressure for a team from the left coast to handle, playing in a EST in the 1 pm time slot hasn’t exactly been friendly for the Bolts in the past. West Coast teams overall were 46-86 playing in East coast time zones in the last 10 years. Add in that no team from the West Coast has ever won in Baltimore (0-11) before yesterday and you can see why my confidence level wasn’t at an all time high.
But that’s why they play the game.
Adding to this great atmosphere at the “Bank” was the fact that I was bringing my son Jackson (6) to his first NFL game. And he decided earlier in the week that he would go as a Ravens fan. Which I totally was good with, by the way. He was born and most likely will be raised here in Baltimore so his allegiance to the Ravens is good with me.
And before I get into the minutia of the game itself, I would like to thank the Ravens fans I was surrounded by before and at the game itself for acting with class. I know I’ve ripped the fan base on other platforms for being obnoxious in the past, but based on my experience yesterday they were as classy as NFL fans get. Props.
The game itself was entertaining (outside of the refs) from beginning to end. Of course, the final outcome left me smiling on the inside, but I’m not one to puff my chest out after a win or loss. Especially in another team’s house.
Phillip Rivers was just better than anyone on the field yesterday, plain and simple.
Of course, the time “management” by Harbs late in the game will be a narrative this week as well as the “play” of the secondary as a whole.
But for me it was a combination of the Bolts 3rd down conversion efficiency (9-11) and the 14 penalties committed by the Ravens (most by a Harbs led team) that told the story. In a league that is so razor close week to week, you can’t give good teams with good QB’s extra downs to continue drives.
The Ravens had three different 10 point leads and based on their home record under Harbs, I could see why many of Ravens fans were heading for the exits after they made it 30-20 with 6 minutes to go. And even after the Bolts did trim the lead to 3, Jacoby Jones ripped off a 60 yard plus return that put the Ravens in position to seal the game.
But that is where the head scratching began for all the Monday morning QB’s in this city today. Why on 3rd and 4 are you passing when the Bolts are out of time outs and you’ve been running the ball down their throat? Even if you don’t get the necessary yards there, the time would have run down to the 2 minute warning before you trot out your automatic kicker in.
Instead the pass was incomplete, Tucker comes on and makes another FG that leaves Rivers plenty of time as well as the 2-minute warning to complete the historic comeback win.
All in all, it’s just one win and one loss for a couple of teams with major flaws. But in this week to week league, you can’t ever say “this one is a lock.”