Monday, October 19, 2020

Intelligent Conversation

Ravens narrowly avoided Atlanta's fate four years ago

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Queen says key to rapid improvement has been “slowing myself down”

The Ravens rookie inside linebacker says he's processing the game and understanding his assignments better as time goes on.

Clark says Ravens should have beaten Eagles “a lot cleaner than what we did”

The Ravens safety lamented mistakes made by the defense over the final quarter that turned an 18-point deficit into a one-score game.

Harbaugh discusses weird bye week with players staying in Owings Mills

Ravens players will continue to be tested every day during a week when players usually get out of town for a few days.
Luke Jones
Luke Jones
Luke Jones is the Ravens and Orioles beat reporter for WNST BaltimorePositive.com and is a PFWA member. His mind is consumed with useless sports knowledge, pro wrestler promos, and movie quotes, but he struggles to remember where he put his phone. Luke's favorite sports memories include being one of the thousands of kids who waited to get Cal Ripken's autograph after Orioles games in the summer of 1995, attending the Super Bowl XXXV victory parade with his father in the pouring rain, and watching the Terps advance to the Final Four at the Carrier Dome in 2002. Follow him on Twitter @BaltimoreLuke or email him at Luke@wnst.net.

The Atlanta Falcons are predictably the butt of many jokes after surrendering the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history on Sunday night.
Coughing up a 25-point lead in the second half will do that to you, but Ravens fans should pause a moment or two before piling on Matt Ryan and company with too much enthusiasm. After all, Baltimore nearly suffered a similar fate in Super Bowl XLVII four years ago.
No one will forget the image of Joe Flacco raising the first Vince Lombardi Trophy or Ray Lewis celebrating the euphoric conclusion of his “last ride” in New Orleans, but the Ravens came dangerously close to squandering a 22-point lead in the second half. Such a notion felt impossible after Jacoby Jones’ 108-yard kickoff return for a touchdown to begin the third quarter, but San Francisco finally found its offense while the Ravens offense couldn’t run and managed only two field goals in the second half.
It didn’t take long for a comfortable 28-6 lead to become a heart-stopping affair.
You can blame the Superdome blackout if you’d like, but a defense led by Lewis and Ed Reed at the end of their careers gave up three second-half touchdowns and a field goal, which is exactly what the Falcons did before the Patriots marched down the field for the winning touchdown in overtime.
Just imagine how differently we’d view Super Bowl XLVII had Jimmy Smith been flagged on fourth-and-goal from the 5 or the 49ers hadn’t forgotten over their final four plays inside the 10 that Frank Gore was gashing a Baltimore front playing without the injured Haloti Ngata. Of course, unlike the Falcons, the Ravens were able to make a few plays to protect their narrow lead in the end, and that’s all that matters.
Super Bowl LI reminded us that you should never count out the New England Patriots and that the margin between winning and losing can be so razor thin. It also might help to run the ball when you’re protecting a 28-20 lead and are comfortably in field-goal range with under five minutes remaining.
But before mocking Atlanta too much, remember that the Ravens nearly became the Falcons four years ago and breathe a quick sigh of relief that a storybook ending didn’t turn into a nightmare.
** Many Ravens fans predictably went to social media to use Sunday’s result as validation for Flacco being better than Ryan — a tired debate that needs to end — but I’d hardly pin that loss on the quarterback as much as I would on the offensive play-calling of Kyle Shanahan and a defense that couldn’t stop a nosebleed in the second half.
Regardless, Flacco and the Ravens have a lot of work to do to give fans something more current to brag about. Even with the fallout of a devastating Super Bowl defeat, Ryan and the Falcons have a lot more going for them right now.
** After watching his limitations as a pass rusher with just five total sacks in his four seasons in Baltimore, Courtney Upshaw collecting the first quarterback takedown of Super Bowl LI wasn’t what I expected to see.
The former Ravens linebacker added weight to play on the Falcons defensive line this year, and that sack was his only tackle of the postseason.
** Every organization and fan base would love to be the Patriots, but Ravens director of public relations Patrick Gleason offered some perspective hours before Sunday’s kickoff in Houston.


It’s understandable to be discouraged by the Ravens missing the playoffs in three of the last four years and improvements certainly need to be made from top to bottom, but this organization has built up a ton of equity over the last two decades and is still just four years removed from winning the ultimate prize. Relative to most teams around the NFL, the Ravens have spoiled their fans for a long time, which isn’t easy to do.

Latest News

Queen says key to rapid improvement has been “slowing myself down”

The Ravens rookie inside linebacker says he's processing the game and understanding his assignments better as time goes on.

Clark says Ravens should have beaten Eagles “a lot cleaner than what we did”

The Ravens safety lamented mistakes made by the defense over the final quarter that turned an 18-point deficit into a one-score game.

Harbaugh discusses weird bye week with players staying in Owings Mills

Ravens players will continue to be tested every day during a week when players usually get out of town for a few days.

Ravens’ start has “super” company, but finishing is what matters

The "soul crusher" wasn't there when Baltimore needed it in the fourth quarter of Sunday's near-collapse in Philadelphia.

The many late mistakes and scare will be the story of a Ravens win in Philly

Luke Jones and Nestor discuss the many sins and errors that led to a near Eagles comeback in Philadelphia that would have really soured a bye week. Instead the Ravens are 5-1 and talking about needing to get better.

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