How many times have you already heard the phrase "Well it was only the Lions" after the Baltimore Ravens pounded the Detroit Lions 48-3 yesterday? What did you expect, with one of the worst teams in the league looked like they didn't want to be out there any more than many of the fans felt in the cold and wet at M&T Bank Stadium in downtown Baltimore? The only reason a little worry crept into peoples' minds was that if the Pittsburgh Steelers could lose at home to Oakland one week then at Cleveland the next, gasp could it then happen to us? Nope.
The Ravens did what they needed to do and that was just not to win to stay alive in the hunt for a Wild Card playoff spot. They needed an easy win, one that didn't have to wait until the game's final moments for a change and that they did, pretty much ending the game by halftime, and certainly putting it out of reach right out of the box to start the second half.
However, that has been the trend for this team most of the season. The Ravens beat the teams they are supposed to, but can't seem to bet the teams that they are not supposed to. Taking the San Diego Chargers game out of that trend is due to the Chargers not being looked at as a big force a the same time the Ravens were being considered one of the better teams in the league at the time. You can also take the Denver Broncos out of that group as well, as even though they were undefeated, many true Ravens fans knew we were the better team and certainly showed the league what pretenders the Broncos were in our decisive win over them. The Pats, Vikings, Colts and Packers as the teams that were "supposed" to beat us and did, while the Chiefs, Browns (twice), and Lions fit into the category of teams we were supposed to beat. That leaves the two games with the Cincinnati Bengals and the with the Pittsburgh Steelers as the games that were up in the air. The win over the Steelers was satisfying despite Pittsburgh not being at full strength. However, the two losses to the Bengals, especially the first one here in Baltimore, were very unsettling and the Ravens have a very good chance of seeing the Bengals again for another shot in the playoffs if we make it in as a Wild Card.
For now, the team can revel in it's return to "power." Beginning tomorrow, however, the team needs to focus its attention on the Chicago Bears next Sunday at home. Not until that game is in the win column can the team face the fact that it appears that the Pittsburgh Steelers are once again between them and continuing into the post season. When that game comes up, throw out all the records and stats, as this backyard brawl will be another street fight, as Pittsburgh knows they're out of the playoffs and would like nothing better than to force us to join them on the sidelines.
"Play like a Raven" did yesterday and that is a very reasonable possibility.