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Was this John Harbaugh's best victory yet?

During the worst week in franchise history, Harbaugh focuses team for a dominating win over the Steelers

Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Nineteen months ago, John Harbaugh stood atop the NFL head coaching world, hoisting the Vince Lombardi trophy in the air as confetti fell onto his face. Harbaugh had led his team to the promised land, something that most NFL players and coaches will only dream about through the duration of their careers.

A Super Bowl championship is the pinnacle for any head coach's career. However, I believe that Harbaugh's finest display of coaching throughout his career came on Thursday night amidst the most difficult week in Ravens franchise history.

This past Monday, I walked into the Under Armour Performance Center like a deer in headlights. I was so wide-eyed, trying to digest as much as possible. The situation and subsequent fallout from Ray Rice's elevator video was bigger than anyone could have ever expected.

Inside the Ravens locker room, you could see the disappointment on the faces of Rice's former teammates. Everyone was upset at what they had witnessed on the video, some were upset that Rice was no longer a teammate, others welcomed the Ravens' decision to part ways.

To say the least, things were extremely depressing any way you looked at it.

That evening, the focus of the entire country was on the Baltimore Ravens. There were more media members at the facility than there were for most of the Super Bowl coverage in Baltimore. CNN was airing Week 2 Ravens press conferences and the whole world was watching.

As if it wasn't already a tall task to prepare for a short week, the Ravens had to do it against a team that knows them the best. Without distractions, games against the Steelers are already battles, but given the media circus surrounding the team, I honestly didn't expect them to be composed enough to beat the Steelers on Thursday night.

During Harbaugh's press conference, I asked him if the release of Rice's video was going to be a distraction given the short turnaround between games.

"We have a football game to play Thursday night. We have no control over that," Harbaugh said. "[Rice's video] will not impact us in any way, football-wise. You can't allow that. This is professional football, and we'll be ready to play Thursday night."

It's not far-fetched to believe that what Harbaugh was saying was typical coach speak. I mean, what else do you expect him to say?

I'm so glad the preconceived hunch — I, and many others had — was wrong.

Exactly three years ago to the day was the only time in the past 15 meetings of this bitter rivalry between the Ravens and Steelers that a game had larger than a seven point margin of victory. Somehow, Harbaugh didn't just prepare his team to win, he prepared them to totally dominate the game from start to finish.

This game was as advertised, hard-hitting and low-scoring (at least for the Steelers). Regardless if Rice was suspended indefinitely or not, he wouldn't have been a factor given this was his second game of his original suspension. In his place, the new running back duo of Bernard Pierce (22 carries, 96 yards) and Justin Forsett (8 carries, 56 yards) managed to pound a total of 152 yards on the ground. Quarterback Joe Flacco didn't set the world on fire under center, but he played a lot smarter and had a conservative 21 for 29 attempt night, totaling 166 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions.

Defensively, the unit overcame the absence of top cornerback Lardarius Webb, forcing three turnovers and keeping the Steelers entirely out of the end zone.

This game was a true testament of the "next man up" philosophy and it may sound cliche, but the Ravens overcame adversity in the biggest way imaginable.

Harbaugh is one of the finest coaches the NFL has to offer and he's more than just a public relations darling. I've always had a tremendous amount of respect for Harbaugh and don't think he's received the credit he's due for the success he's had in the league over such a short period of time. Especially because he's discredited because of the figureheads in the locker room that he has coached in the past.

What Harbaugh did against the Steelers was simply remarkable. Given that the entire country had essentially picked the Steelers to beat the Ravens, Harbaugh will now have many people scratching their heads as to what happened. Given all that has happened this past week, picking the Steelers seems acceptable, but I can't say that Harbaugh didn't warn us before.

I guess my "coach speak" meter is a little off.

Well done, Harbs. Well done.