Ravens' response to Week 2 loss speaks volumes

As you check the NFL standings this morning, you'll find that only one AFC team is undefeated through the first three weeks of the season.

That team, as we all expected, is the Buffalo Bills.

Wait, what?

Yes, the Bills are the lone 3-0 squad in the AFC after their shocking comeback win over the Patriots yesterday, a victory that now puts them alone atop the AFC East. New England had a 21-0 lead at one point yesterday afternoon, only to see a determined Bills squad battle back and pull off the stunner.

That, as they say, is why they play the games.

Every NFL team, even the ones bound for playoff success, will suffer a couple tough losses over the course of a season. Blown leads (like the one in Buffalo yesterday), close defeats, setbacks to inferior opponents - they happen to every team every year.

You often hear coaches and players say that a team isn't defined by the difficult losses; it's defined by how it responds to those bumps in the road.

A week ago, down in Tennessee, the Ravens laid an egg. They looked out of sync on offense, underperformed on defense and got thoroughly outplayed by a rebuilding Titans team.

Yesterday, the Ravens responded to the loss as they often do under John Harbaugh. They played with intensity and focus, and overwhelmed their opponent - a struggling, beat-up Rams squad.

Playing on the road, the Ravens took advantage of St. Louis' injuries and atrocious defensive play. They turned up the pressure on Rams quarterback Sam Bradford, picked up big chunks of yardage on offense and rolled to a convincing win.

It was just the type of bounceback performance this team needed after the subpar effort last week in Tennessee, and it showed that they have enough mental fortitude to put the disappointing performance in the Titans game behind them and move on to the next task at hand.

That's something that all teams talk about doing, but many are unable to accomplish. Look at the Eagles - a team that was basically crowned the NFC champions before the season began.

Andy Reid's Eagles took a tough loss in Week 2 in Atlanta and followed it up with a stinker at home against the Giants yesterday, dropping their record to 1-2 on the year.

The ability to set aside a poor effort and turn the page is crucial, and is one factor which separates the true contenders from those who won't be playing deep into January. Yesterday's victory over a still-winless Rams team is nothing to get too pumped about, but the Ravens didn't let their poor effort from a week ago fester and now they're back above .500 with a chance to enter the bye week 3-1.

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