Forget for a second that the Ravens held a 10-point fourth quarter lead over the Patriots yesterday afternoon and ended up leaving Foxboro with a loss.
Forget that the offense spent its last five drives acting like Jeff Blake was still at quarterback and Travis Taylor was its lone wide receiving threat; that the Ravens’ front-seven seemed to think Tom Brady had SARS and wanted no part of getting near him down the stretch; and that the Pats simply outplayed Baltimore on special teams in the fourth quarter and overtime.
Forget that the Ravens could have been one of only two teams in the NFL at 5-1 (hello, New York Jets), and that they had the opportunity to wipe the smug smile off Tom Brady’s face for the second time in as many meetings.
If you can, forget all that, and look instead to the Ravens’ record through the season’s first six games.
Despite road games at the Jets, Bengals, Steelers and Patriots, the Ravens are 4-2.
They’ve faced three teams that currently only have one loss, and have beaten two of them. They’ve played five teams that ranked in the top-11 in overall defense last year.
The Ravens have that 4-2 record even though they’ve been without arguably their best defensive player (although Haloti Ngata might have something to say about that lately) in safety Ed Reed, and their top special teams performer in Brendon Ayanbadejo, both of whom are expected to return to practice this week after starting the season on the Physically Unable to Perform list.
They’ve done it with two other key starters - offensive tackle Jared Gaither and cornerback Domonique Foxworth - out, and with an offense which is still learning how to incorporate its new playmakers.
Don’t take all this to mean I’m making excuses for this team or trying to say that yesterday’s loss to the Patriots is an acceptable one. The Ravens outplayed the Pats for the vast majority of the game and should have gotten another road win and earned the tiebreaker over one more potential AFC playoff team. Plain and simple.
But if I had showed you the Ravens’ schedule two months ago and told you that they would be 4-2 right now with six home games remaining, you most likely would have taken the deal, shook my hand, and walked around the rest of the day with a smile on your face.
With that said, here is your Monday morning question of the week:
A day later, how bad does yesterday’s loss hurt?
Are you still frustrated that another potential big road win slipped through the Ravens’ fingers? Does the fact that Baltimore was so close to 5-1 burn at you even now?
Or do you find yourself looking at the bigger picture as you ingest that bowl of Cheerios? Does the Ravens’ 4-2 record through a tough start to the season leave you feeling more optimistic than irritated with how yesterday’s game went down?
What’s your take on yesterday’s loss after having a night to think it over?