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What Did You Expect?

Seriously folks, what did you really expect to happen this past Sunday when our Baltimore Ravens lost a heartbreaker to the Indianapolis Colts? The 17-15 loss might have been close and even led many to believe that one interception or even a shanked field goal was the difference between winning and losing that game. Did you truly think that Peyton Manning would have choked in his attempt to bring his team back from a deficit late in the game against us if he needed to?

Going into this past Sunday's game, most Ravens fans were willing to accept defeat if:

A: We didn't get blown out, or

B: Matt Stover didn't beat us with a last second FG

Thankfully, (A) didn't happen and (B) did sort of happen, but the kick was made with more than enoughtime on the clock for the Ravens to challenge the rest of the game.

However, the notion that the Ravens had lost just about every close game against decent teams in this frustrating year but would play way over their heads and actually defeat the undefeated Colts was probably not in too many people's minds (although my brother-in-law swore we were going to win big!) before the game or even when we first saw it on the team schedule this summer.

But then again, we knew the Ravens were a much better team than the 5-4 record indicated and knew our losses were all to first place teams in games we were in until at least close to the very end if not the final seconds. Then again, this was Indianapolis, who had always had their way with us, and we did seem to always find a way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory time and time again.

So then how come what happened Sunday still sticks in your gut like grandma's heavy holiday fruticake (what)!? Once again, did you actually expect the Ravens to take the lead on that final FG or score that last TD and then stop Peyton and the Colts from going down the field and either scoring a touchdown or kicking the game winning field goal to send throngs of fans plummeting off the upper decks to put themselves out of another misery ending?

Puh-lease, there was no way that Manning was going to lose this game. Look what he did just the week before to a very good New England Patriots team. He led the Colts on scoring drives when he needed to and don't forget the game might not have even been that close had his reserve tight end, who had a career game against us fumbled on the goal line when going in with what should have been another Manning TD pass.

Do not dismiss the Colts defense by any means. Lots of people thought the injuries combined with a smaller but athletic defensive line would be an easy target for us to run the ball down their throats or have our young QB pick them apart. However, looking at the stats for the season, there sits Indy at #1 in least points allowed, which for those who know me, is the most important defensive stat of all (Ravens are up to #4). What do the Colts defense give up each week as their average? The exact same 15 points that they allowed to the Ravens Sunday. What did the Ravens give up Sunday? The exact same number of points that is our average (17). Sounds like a classic stats-confirming loss to me.

The scary thing is, had we won Sunday, we would be smack dab in the middle of the Wild Card race, tied with a bunch of other teams (Pittsburgh, Denver, Jacksonville) with the same 6-4 record. Even with the loss, the Ravens sit just one game out of the Wild Card race, although they sit there with a bunch of other 5-5 teams and will need to pretty much go at 5-1, if not 6-0 to grab a post season berth. But let's not get ahead of ourselves, as just look at the Tennessee Titans who started the season 0-6 and now are just one game behind the Ravens after just upsetting the Texans in Houston on Monday Night Football.

For now, the hated Pittsburgh Steelers are coming to town for a prime time Sunday night key AFC  North and possible Wild Card defining matchup. The Steelers have a ton of their own issues, most being related to the health of not only Ben Roethlisberger, but who will be backing him up as well. This game provides a great opportunity to get back on our feet and stay in the playoff race, but also could definitely spell the end of any hopes we are still clinging to. Let's put this last one behind us and focus on what we can do to snap the Steelers' streak and shut their fans up from gloating about their superiority over us for at least a few more weeks until we meet again in Pittsburgh.