Yesterday had both ups and downs for Ravens fans.
With Titans and Raiders losses, the Ravens officially clinched a playoff spot for the fourth consecutive season, which is no small feat.
Then, John Harbaugh’s team went out and got beat down on national television, dropping them a half-game behind the Steelers in the AFC North and making it so that they no longer control their own destiny.
Today, Harbaugh reflected on both the highs and the lows that came out of yesterday.
“We haven’t let (home field advantage) get away yet, but the control of it we certainly let get away, and that’s disappointing,” Harbaugh said. “That’s something that we really wanted to hold on to. That was a target for us. (But) it’s a sense of accomplishment, because they first thing you have to do is make the playoffs. And it’s tough to do. It’s not so much a one-week accomplishment, either. It’s what you do over the course of the season that earns you the trip into the playoffs.
“So I’m proud of that for our team. I think that’s exciting, that’s something that we’re looking forward to. But now the next two weeks are going to play out in terms of what exactly that’s going to mean to us.”
The Ravens are aware that all they can do now is win their final two games - at home against Cleveland and then at Cincinnati - and hope for the best.
They still have a shot at the division title, the first-round bye and the home-field advantage, but they will need to take care of their own business and then get some help to accomplish more than just a wild card spot.
“To put ourselves in the best position that way, we have to win,” Harbaugh said. “We still have to win our next two games, starting with the Browns. So that’s the thing we can control. We have complete control over the next two weeks as far as what we do, and that’s what we need to take care of.”
Even if the Ravens had beaten the Chargers last night, they would have had their eyes glued to the TV tonight when Pittsburgh takes on San Francisco. That focus only gets intensified now, however.
This is by far the toughest test the Steelers have over their final three games, which is why Harbaugh will be pulling extra hard for his younger brother Jim and the 49ers to pick up a win over a beat-up Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers.
“We would’ve been really interested for a lot of reasons anyway, because it impacts our team, and it’s going to be interesting to see what happens,” Harbaugh said. “We have no control over it. We’ll be watching it, so just have to see how that goes.”