The Ravens beat the Steelers yesterday afternoon. But that's not all.
The win came in dramatic fashion, with Baltimore's oft-criticized quarterback besting the NFL's top scoring defense, and connecting on a game-winning touchdown with under a minute left. But that's not all.
The Ravens won in Pittsburgh, where they had previously earned just one victory in their last 10 tries. But that's not all.
The result in the Steel City, combined with a Bengals loss to the Browns (Cincinnati is pretty hit or miss, huh?) puts the Ravens on top of the AFC North a quarter of the way through the season.
Does it get much better than that, Ravens fans? I bet your cup of coffee tastes pretty good this morning.
Yesterday's victory was big for the Ravens for so many reasons, but I think the most important being that this team finally proved to itself that it can win a close game over a good (and possibly very good) team in a tough environment.
While the Ravens have been very successful under head coach John Harbaugh, they haven't accomplished the above feat many times. For every blowout win over the Browns or Raiders, there has also been a tough loss at Pittsburgh or Minnesota or Cincinnati.
Joe Flacco needed that win yesterday. The third-year quarterback has playoff victories under his belt, and he's won significantly more games than he's lost, but did you see the smile on his face after the game?
I watched an interview Flacco did with ESPN on the field as he was getting ready to walk into the locker room, and I swear, I have never seen the Ravens' quarterback that excited. It's not even close. He gave that interview grinning from ear to ear, and threw around words like "awesome" and "incredible" while describing the win.
He knew how big that game-winning TD was, not only for the team, but for himself as well. Those are the drives and plays that build confidence and will allow Flacco to have success in those types of situations in the future.
Which leads me to my Monday question of the day for all of you:
How do you assess this Ravens team through the first quarter of the 2010 season?
Are they a very good team that has earned the division lead despite playing a tough schedule so far? Are they a good team that has played well but is fortunate to be at 3-1 at this point? Or are you not sold yet and feel like they still have some work to do to become a legitimate contender in the AFC?
What's your take on this squad through the first month of the season?