Whether you were in disbelief, or pulled a Tom Cruise and jumped on the couch in celebration; the Ravens/Patriots game was a shock heard around the world.
Going into this game, the first thought was it was a repeat of last year’s AFC Championship, and the second thought was thank the Lord, the Ravens no longer have Billy Cundiff and Lee Evans on their payroll. Last year those two players were a big factor (some may argue the only factor) in the loss last year. That only meant one thing this time around, its war.
Ray Lewis announced his retirement a few weeks ago, which was inevitable, but still knocked the wind out of you. Whether you are a Baltimore fan or not, it was easy to see why he was such an inspirational leader on the field and off. (No matter what crazy Mrs. Welker thinks) So of course there was talk that Lewis deserved to go out with a bang or in this case, a ring.
From the beginning of playoffs, I couldn’t tell you how many times I heard the Ravens were “getting lucky” or “don’t stand a chance against the Colts, Broncos, and Patriots.” I guess we can agree the term “don’t stand a chance” meant a victory over three of the toughest teams in the NFL. It’s not like they were the 49ers who had a relatively easy playoff schedule compared to the Ravens.
Joe Flacco has proven himself that “elite quarterback” people joke about. He was on his game against Indianapolis with 12-of-23 passes for 282 yards and two touchdowns and zero interceptions; challenged the talented Broncos when he went 18-of-34 passes for 331 with zero interceptions; and dominated the Patriots with 21-of-36 passes for 240 yards, three touchdowns, and zero interceptions. If you can do the math, that is zero interceptions in post-season play. Eli Manning has the same amount in post-season play. Oh is that too soon?
Flacco has two outstanding wide receivers in Torrey Smith and Anquan Boldin who have been vacuuming up just about every pass that has been thrown their way. In addition, they have a kicker who actually makes field goals in Justin Tucker (and in a fun fact, he can sing opera).
The Baltimore Ravens have proven themselves over and over again this season. With John Harbaugh and Jim Caldwell leading the team, nobody should have doubted them in the first place. Whether, you are pulling for a 49er victory, or a Baltimore victory, I believe it is safe to say, both teams are equally talented and deserve to be in New Orleans February 3rd. Plus, if you can survive a Ray Lewis hug, I’d say you’re doing something right.