Rob Long: Battle-Tested
As fans of the Baltimore Ravens prepare for the AFC Championship game, it’s obvious that the Charm City is on fire. For years we’ve been use to having a team that was competitive, but rarely have we witnessed similar magic from our football team.
Last week, when the Ravens were staring down elimination, it was going to take something magical for this team to move on to the next round of the play-offs. That magic came in the form of a 70-yard touchdown strike from Joe Flacco to Jacoby Jones on 3rd and 3. That play gave hope to the Ravens players and fans.
This week, the Ravens have a rematch with the New England Patriots. The Ravens game in the AFC Divisional Round was indicative of their 2012 season. They’ve been a team that’s struggled at times, but were battle-tested. They’ve faced a lot of adversity throughout the season, but that adversity has made them a stronger team.
The Ravens have battled injuries as well as a change at the Offensive Coordinator’s position. The team also lost three in a row and four out of five in the all important month of December. That’s had no negative effect on the post-season for this veteran bunch. Joe Flacco and company have looked like a team that’s been to the post-season once or five times. They looked like a grizzled team in the Wild-Card round against the Indianaoplis Colts.
In the Divisional Round, the Ravens took advantage of and made their own opportunities against the Denver Broncos. They withstood two special teams touchdowns to beat a team that was heavily favored.
Now, they go into New England to battle another heavily favored team, on the road with a trip to New Orleans hanging over their heads. In addition to that, the threat of Ray Lewis playing his last game is reality, once again. Can they beat the odds again and put themselves in position to win their second Lombardi Trophy?
I can’t wait until game time.