Reason for optimism or cause for concern?

There are two ways to view yesterday’s 30-27 Ravens win.

You can choose to look past a sloppy first half, focusing instead on a dominant final 30 minutes by the guys in purple in which they outscored the Cardinals 24-3, outgained them 249 yards to 56 and played at a high level on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball.

Your other option is to question what the heck happened in those first two quarters, in which we saw Baltimore turn the ball over twice inside its own 20-yard line, allow an 82-yard punt return for a touchdown and put up just six points against the NFL’s 26th-ranked defense.

Why do I have a feeling most of us will pick the latter view?

Billy_Cundiff-celebrating-tall.jpgThe Ravens deserve credit for the way that they battled yesterday. Regardless of the opponent, it’s never easy to fight back from a 21-point deficit, as evidenced by the fact that the Ravens had never done it before. They scratched and clawed their way back into yesterday’s ballgame, got big performances from their offensive and defensive stars, and now will head into Pittsburgh coming off a dramatic win rather than riding a two-game losing streak.

But man, was it ugly there for a while.

Linebacker Terrell Suggs, who spent much of the afternoon dancing around and playing to the 71,022 fans at M&T Bank Stadium, was asked after the game about his overly rambunctious demeanor during the game.

“I was having fun early because sometimes you have to laugh to keep from crying,” Suggs responded.

There might be a few members of the Ravens organization brought to tears when they watch back the film of the first two quarters of play.

Baltimore might have had a bit of an excuse last Monday night when they got pushed around by the one-win Jaguars on national television. They were on the road for a primetime game, and were facing the NFL’s eighth-ranked defense, a group which had held the Steelers to just 17 points a week earlier.

This time, there are no excuses. The Ravens were playing at home against one of the worst teams in the NFL. They were facing a defense which had allowed its last three opponents to record at least 31 points and gives up nearly 275 passing yards per game.

Yet, the Ravens looked ready to hand the game over to Arizona with uninspired offensive play, another special teams breakdown (that’s now two kicks this unit has allowed to be taken back for touchdowns this season) and silly penalties.

The Ravens very nearly dropped their second straight game to a one-win opponent, and if they bring that type of first half effort with them to Pittsburgh this upcoming Sunday night, they could be in for another primetime embarrassment, this time at the hands of their arch rivals.

We can celebrate the win and enjoy largest comeback victory in franchise history if we want, but we can’t forget how the Ravens got in that hole in the first place. The bottom line is that this team has a lot of work to do in the coming days.

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