This is certainly not how the Baltimore Ravens fans were expecting to start off their season after making it to the divisional playoff game.
Many of the experts saw the Baltimore Ravens starting the season strong, making a statement win against an aging Peyton Manning in Denver, a mop up win against Oakland, and a contested win against a strong Cincinnati team. However, they are staring at a 0-3 record for the first time in the franchise’s short history.
In Week 1, the world saw Joe Flacco struggle to find his feet, throwing 18-32 for 117 yards and 2 interceptions. His offensive line looked confused, which led to hit after hit on the Quarterback. Not all of it was Flacco’s fault, as a group of mainly unproven receivers struggled to help out Flacco, and
the run game was nonexistent. The silver lining of the day was their defense, which has been plagued by injury in the preseason, holding their own against future Hall of Famer, Peyton Manning.
That all came apart in Week 2, as the Ravens D could not stop 2nd year QB Derek Carr, and the young Raiders’ offense plowed their way into the end zone multiple times. Carr and the Raiders struggled all of last season on offense, yet the Ravens’ defense made them look like Tom Brady and the Patriots, as Carr drove 67 yards down the field to score the game, ultimately winning a touchdown with 26 seconds left.
Leaving Oakland deflated, the Ravens were now looking at their first 0-2 start since 2005. They were traveling back home to their own fans for the first time during the season, and were hoping that the visit would be the boost they needed.
However, the Ravens fell apart yet again. Andy Dalton and A.J. Green picked apart their defense all afternoon. Green had a career high of 227 receiving yards, and Andy Dalton hit Green on a 7 yard touchdown pass with 2:16 remaining to give the Bengals their 3rd win of the season and the Ravens their 3rd loss. Flacco failed to impress yet again as he finished the day with a passer rating of 53.5 and only throwing for 107 yards.
The Ravens will now have a short week to turn around and play the Steelers on Thursday Night Football. The Steelers are not easy opponents, and the teams have had a history of duking it out on the field. Lucky for the Ravens, Ben Roethlisberger will be sidelined for the next couple of weeks. After
the Steelers, the Ravens will see the Browns, 49ers, and Cardinals.
With what should be an easier streak in their schedule, the Ravens should pick up 3 wins in their next 4 games. However, after dropping the first 3 games of the season, not too many people are hopeful on their chances. The Ravens have been one of the most successful teams in the last decade. In addition, Head Coach John Harbaugh is the only coach to record a playoff win in his first 5 seasons in the history of the NFL.
Harbaugh turned to motivational tactics at his press conference on Monday, relayin to the media what he has been telling his team.
“When you’re going through hell, keep going,” Harbaugh said. “That’s what we are going to do. We are going to find a way out.”
Harbaugh has said the right remarks after a nightmare start. With an easier stretch in the schedule coming up, let’s see if he can stay true to his word.
Be sure to catch the next game for the Baltimore Ravens on Oct. 11th at 1:00 p.m. against the Cleveland Browns and on Oct. 18th at 4:30 p.m. against the San Fransisco 49ers.
-Blake Saathoff ’17, Junior Sports Editor