After so much anticipation and a full week of purple passion that saw the city of Baltimore embrace their Ravens and we saw examples of our support everywhere you went in town, the return on our investment made many of us feel like we were just swindled in the stock market. The lack of return on our "investment" was not only poor, but after it was over, we felt almost betrayed in that it seemed we put much more into our preparation than what we saw out on the field.
The 20-3 loss to the Indianapolis Colts last night showed more than just a premature end of our season and playoff run. It showed something that everyone in the Baltimore Ravens organization and all the fans should be uncomfortably aware of. That "something" has proven itself over the past eight times and more specifically the last four times these teams have played and that is that the Ravens are still just not prepared or built to win these games from the top of this organization to the bottom.
Strong words coming from a simple fan, but the proof is in the pudding. Looking at the past four losses since and including the Ravens 15-6 loss in the 2007 playoffs, the Ravens have consistently underachieved and lost all those games the exact same way. Until the leadership of the team realizes their misgivings and makes the changes necessary to compete, the Ravens will continue to be a team that bounces from good to mediocre and back again. Good enough to beat the bad teams and the ones we are supposed to beat, but mediocre enough to stay in the game but find a way to lose against the better teams like the ones we keep losing to in games we could have and should have won but didn't.
In the past four games against the Colts, the Ravens QB's in those games were Steve McNair, Kyle Boller and Joe Flacco. Ironically, only Boller was able to lead the Ravens to a touchdown in those games as McNair (once) and Flacco (twice) have not been able to get this team into the end zone at any point. In three games over the past two years, Joe Flacco has led the Ravens offense to a total of 21 points, all on field goals, against the Colts defense. The Ravens running attack has not had a rusher gain more than 71 yards against the Colts defense in any of the four games since the 2007 playoff game.
The major problem that this team has proven itself incapable of over the years of losing tough games to tough teams is their inability to adapt or even re-load with players that are better designed to win those games. The Ravens pride themselves on winning by running the ball and playing suffocating defense but when the Colts are the opponents, it seems like the Colts are the suffocating defense and our run game disappears leaving the team without any chance of winning, as their passing game has consistently been among the league's worst for a decade at the very least.
The inability to change, regardless of the coaches, the players and front office, shows an alarming trend that makes us fans feel that the more things change, the more they stay the same. The cry on the airwaves and on Baltimore Beatdown for a big name wide receiver might be the answer, but more than likely, would not change a thing in the team's success. It is much more deep rooted and as long as this team stubbornly sticks to what they want to believe will be successful and in the end proves not to be good enough, is just so absolutely frustrating to us fans that probably has us more upset about the constant losing for the same reason than the players themselves feel.
I'm thankful that we have a team and ownership that is committed to having a class organization, puts a good product out on the field and embraces the city that embraces it. However, there always seems to be much more potential than the results show and that trend is where the high level of frustration begins to overflow. Until this team realizes that its defense is not as good as they think, that their running game is not good enough to win the game, the lack of either a passing attack or an imaginative game plan is more than just a lack of execution and their inability to play within the rules, then this team is destined for the mediocrity and a slew of "what if's" that we've seen over the past few years and especially throughout this season.