You’re probably overreacting. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.
In one of the more disappointing results in recent history according to an informal social media scan, the Baltimore Ravens crushed the Washington Football Fellers, 31-17, Oct. 4 in a game that wasn’t even that close. And because we have nothing better to do with our lives, after the thrashing was over we decided to take to social media and go on about how disappointing the game was, how uneven the performance was and how incomplete the team is.
After improving to 3-1 by throttling a largely unlikeable team on the road, Ravens fans are … somehow disappointed.
And if you think for a second that I’m going to use a bully pulpit to scream at Ravens fans for not understanding how good they have, you’re absolutely right … of the mark.
Look, I saw the same things you did in the game. It was a sound but certainly imperfect beatdown. We do need to be fair about the former. The Ravens were never threatened in the game. They were the better team by far and put together a thorough performance. We can’t lie about facts to fit our narrative. Who do you think we are, White House doctors?
It’s the uneven thing that seems far more relevant as we reach the quarter mark of the 2020 regular season. The Ravens have easily won three football games and lost to the best team in the league. They are clearly among the NFL’s best teams yet … something just kinda feels off. It isn’t easily defined. The offense isn’t bad, the defense isn’t bad. The injury issues are minimal, provided left tackle Ronnie Stanley returns next week as expected.
They’re just … not the well-oiled machine we had expected. The pass rush showed signs of life against Washington, albeit against an underwhelming offensive line and a totally immobile quarterback. The Ravens have run the ball well when they’ve been committed, but they’ve been about as committed as this girl Jill I dated when we were going to separate colleges. The offensive line has certainly taken a step back post-Marshal Yanda, but that was to be expected. It truly seems as though the team could use one more true pass-catching weapon to emerge. Or arrive.
And if we’re being fair, Lamar Jackson hasn’t quite been the same player he was a year ago, either, for whatever reasons. But since we’re being fair, we recognize that’s like saying a movie isn’t quite as good as “Gangs of New York.” The standard is insane. Which is really the same for the entire team. Our expectations for the 2020 Ravens aren’t that they handle their business against the worst organization in American professional sports. Our expectations are that they are a machine more well-oiled than a WWE superstar.
And there should be no “expectation shaming,” either. There’s nothing wrong with reacting to the Week 4 victory with nothing more than a shrug. We should remember how fortunate we are that the Maryland-based team we root for is the one that is more centrally located within the state. But we shouldn’t lower our expectations simply because there are worse teams and situations in the league.
We expect the Ravens to be able to win a Super Bowl this season. Our faith took a massive hit when they were blown out by the Chiefs in Week 3. As good as the Ravens might be, we fear that they might still be far away from what they’ll need to be in order to win a Super Bowl due to the truly excellent team that stands in their way.
The Ravens’ win against Washington was conclusive. But it did little to make us feel more comfortable that this team will be able to beat the Chiefs if it gets another chance come January. And that’s the single standard by which we’ll measure everything they do between now and then (unless, again, something goes terribly wrong).
We acknowledge this is a good football team that has plenty of time to get even better. We just demand that it must do so in order to achieve the goals that we know the team has as well. There’s no consolation here. There’s no “just sit back and enjoy the ride.” We got to do that a season ago.
Now we acknowledge the result, appreciate that it wasn’t worse and hope for continued steps forward against the Cincinnati Bengals Oct. 11. The Chiefs question can’t fully be answered for months. But we need to see continued steps in that direction.
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