Normally, I would wait until at least a quarter of the season is in the books before looking back, but with two losses and an uphill battle for the Ravens to not only make the playoffs but to succeed in them, it is needed earlier than usual.
Few people were really expecting the Ravens to win in Denver, partly because it was so early in the season when Peyton Manning is still fully healthy and has the offense he does around him. Add to that one of the best defenses this season and you have a recipe for a tough game regardless.
That makes the fact that the Ravens got so close to winning even more impressive. Peyton Manning was forced into a pick-six and the Ravens were able to hold down the entire Broncos offense for most of the night. The secondary kept the Broncos to 150 yards passing and only 69 yards on the ground.
A defensive effort that the Ravens couldn't hold onto the next week, all while fixing the offensive woes.
Now comes the complete flip. The offense kills it by putting up 33 points and completely stopping the pass rush while the defense has no answer for the Raiders' passing or ground game. Both teams were able to drive at will against each other, but the Raiders were able to finish more drives with touchdowns instead of the four fieldgoals that Justin Tucker put up for the Ravens.
The defensive line got pushed around at the line of scrimmage and got little pressure on Derek Carr all game long, allowing him to pick apart the secondary that looked confused and out of position for most of the game.
What it all means
The Ravens are still trying to find their identity. Injuries have derailed both the offense and defense thus far, but it seems that the offense has been able to overcome that unless they are dealing with a top-five defense and top-three pass rush like they did in Denver. The defense is looking to get back Rashaan Melvin for the first time this season, which should help bolster a secondary that has struggled with outside coverage and regularly missed tackles.
It should come as no shock that the Ravens have not been great on the road, especially in two straight games where they are staying on the other side of the country. This is the same Ravens that we've seen just about every year in the Harbaugh umbrella and it is no different in 2015 thus far. While the Ravens were expected to drop the first game against the Broncos, the loss to the Raiders came as a shock to just about everyone, but it can be overcome if the Ravens figure themselves out and gel together.
The Ravens get their first taste of home cooking as they face off against the Cincinnati Bengals at M&T Bank Stadium. This should help ease the pain of the two losses so far in the season and should allow them to get back on track. This is a team and a city that always does better when it's back is against the wall and their back is firmly pressed against it right now.