(WJZ)- The Ravens’ hopes of a Super Bowl were ended unceremoniously on Saturday night with a 28-12 loss to the Tennessee Titans in the divisional round. The loss, in front of their home fans at M&T Bank Stadium as the No. 1 seed in the AFC, left fans and media alike wondering how to take stock of the 2019 season for the team.
On the one hand, the Ravens broke multiple team and individual records on offense as Lamar Jackson flourished under the tutelage of offensive coordinator Greg Roman. The new attack seemed perfectly tailored to Jackson’s skill set allowing him to dice up opponents through the air and on the ground. That system, combined with a defense that got better as the year went on, allowed the team to rip off 12 straight victories to end the year 14-2 and lock up the franchise’s first-ever No. 1 seed.
On the other hand, despite that success and holding home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, the Ravens bowed out after just one postseason game, the same result as the 2018-19 season.
So, when looking at the year as a whole, should fans be encouraged by what they saw? Or should this season be deemed a failure because it fell short of a Super Bowl run? According to Ravens legend, Hall of Fame linebacker and Inside The NFL analyst Ray Lewis, it’s more of the former than the latter.
“I always say this, there will only be one champion crowned at the end of this season. That is just how it falls. And, if you don’t take the season like that every year, that’s when I always tell people, it ain’t your year. No matter what you did, or could have done, or thought you could have done,” said Lewis. “But, the excitement that that team brought to that city is absolutely unquestioned. I think they should be really excited about what the future holds, for sure.”
To Lewis’s point, the future does seem extremely bright in the midst of the despair over the team’s early playoff exit. Jackson is entering his third season in the league having improved his completion percentage, touchdown rate, interception rate and average air yards per attempt numbers from his rookie season. Offensive coordinator Greg Roman will be back with the team after interviewing for several head coaching vacancies. And, the team has approximately $33.8 million in cap space with which to work according to Over the Cap.
Combine all of that with the 28th pick in the draft and another year of development for rookies Marquise Brown, Miles Boykin and Justice Hill among others, and there is plenty to be optimistic about going forward. While the 2019-20 season didn’t have the storybook ending that the regular season may have implied, the Hall of Famer urges fans to consider what may lie ahead for the group.
You can catch Ray Lewis along with Phil Simms, Brandon Marshall, Michael Irvin, and host James Brown on Inside The NFL every Tuesday night at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Showtime.