The Ravens have officially ended the first quarter of their season with a win, the first of the year for Baltimore. With the season a quarter of the way done, we'll spend some time to look at how the team has done so far and how they can go forward.
The Ravens started out their season in a tough way. Losing three in a row is something that few fans in Baltimore expected from a team that was a Super Bowl favorite heading into the regular season. Then again, when you look at the first three games of the season, it wouldn't be that surprising to see the Ravens have a slow start.
Denver Broncos - Week 1
The Ravens were going to have one of their toughest matchups of the season in Denver. Keep in mind that the Broncos are currently undefeated, sitting at 4-0 on their season. That alone should make you feel better about that loss.
Facing off against Peyton Manning in the healthiest we'll see him all season long, along with one of the toughest defenses in the league was going to be an uphill battle for the Ravens even at their best. While injuries immediately happened to the team, the Ravens were able to keep the game close and showed a defensive effort that we wouldn't see for the remainder of the first quarter of the season. A bounce in the right direction or a healthy Eugene Monroe through that game might have been the difference for the Ravens.
Oakland Raiders - Week 2
This is the game that I think most Ravens fans are upset about as it was likely penciled in as an automatic win to start the season and gain some confidence back. However, most fans forget that the Ravens were stuck on the west coast for two weeks by this point and that the Raiders have a solid team that looks to have a quarterback that is the real deal.
While the Ravens played Oakland soft defensively and might have been caught off guard, a loss in Oakland isn't really that shocking when you consider how many high first round draft picks they have on that team to go with a really good coach.
Cincinnati Bengals - Week 3
Okay, so the Ravens are finally home where they play out of their minds... Except this is a divisional game against a team that had been undefeated. Not only undefeated, but quarterback Andy Dalton had yet to be sacked and had yet to throw an interception. Seriously, there is talk right now that Dalton is a front-runner for NFL MVP!
Still the Ravens came out and were able to battle a divisional opponent to within the last few moments of the game. The offense looked solid while the defense had some issues in finishing for a third straight week. Looking back, this is a series that I think a lot of fans had split, which could still happen.
Pittsburgh Steelers - Week 4
A short week and without quarterback Ben Roethlisberger... A lot of people were rightfully still nervous since the game was in Pittsburgh and a divisional game that always seems to be close regardless of who is playing. They were right as the game came down to missed kicks by the Steelers and clutch kicker Justin Tucker doing his thing.
If you only look at the final score, you'd miss out on a lot of good that came from the game. With Steve Smith Sr. and Michael Campanaro out of the game to their various injuries, the Ravens were able to make a good final drive to secure the win. The defense tightened up immediately after halftime and started to play more physical while the offense was able to get the run game going again. The second half of this game was more in line with what we had seen from the 2014 Baltimore Ravens than what we had seen in the last 14 quarters of football.
And that is the most important thing here. While it's only a single win in the books, the Ravens were able to show a side of themselves that had yet to do all season long. That second half and overtime is exactly what the Ravens needed to have to get their confidence back and look forward to the remainder of the season with a blueprint on how to win.