The flags are back up and we’re still steaming about the Ravens 31-24 loss to the Steelers in the AFC Divisional playoff round. Now we begin to go through the grieving process together. There have to be certain questions asked as we piece together the Ravens disappointing exit from the playoffs.
Today, my question is does the John Harbaugh/Joe Flacco duo have what it takes to win a Super Bowl?
As I watched the Jets run through New England and advance to their second straight AFC Championship game, I realized that the Ravens don’t have the fire or the swagger that they did when they won it all in 2000. The Ravens are soft. When Rex’s Jets jumped out to an early lead on the Pats they kept the pressure up, they continued to keep Tom Brady off the field, threw him to the ground and kept running their offense the same way they did in the first half.
Baltimore took a 21-7 lead in the first half and snoozed through the remaining thirty minutes. This isn’t unusual though, the Ravens did this all season. In fact the only game they played for a full four quarters was last week against Kansas City. I’m not sure what’s being said in the locker room at half time, but whatever it is it isn’t motivating a team who arguably has more talent than any of the other 31 teams in the NFL. That’s got to be put on John Harbaugh.
Remember last season when fans were saying “wait until Joe Flacco has some weapons?” Well, he did this season and did nothing with them. In fact, they got worse this year moving down from 13th to 22nd in total offense between 2009 and 2010. I stand by my opinion that we didn’t learn anything about Flacco’s ability or future from his play this season. Maybe he was shackled by Cam Cameron’s play calling or maybe he’s just not a leader.
We heard the Ravens say that Joe doesn’t even audible, even when a future Hall of Fame safety is lining up to blitz from his blindside. Even the punter, Sam Koch, called an audible this season. You can tell me all you want that Joe Flacco was ranked among the top 10 QBs this season and that’s great. But I haven’t seen a strong ability to throw down field and that killer instinct just doesn’t seem to be there.
But what’s the goal for this franchise? Owner Steve Bisciotti said that he wants to be in it every year. Three years, three playoff runs. I guess he got what he wanted. Shouldn’t the goal be to win a championship?
We’re all emotional this week and I realize that I’m being very critical of a team who has made the playoffs three straight seasons. But the Ravens underachieved this year and you have to wonder why.
Nice guys don’t win. Did you see Bart Scott tell ESPN that the Pats couldn’t even stop a nose bleed? He’s a winner with an attitude.
If the Ravens want to win the big game, they have to get their attitude back. That’s what gang green did and they defeated both the Colts and the Patriots on the road. Baltimore should follow Rex Ryan’s example.