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Are Ravens In Trouble?

Posted Dec 9, 2012

There is a sense of urgency, but the Ravens say they’re not in trouble with three games left.


For the first time in more than two years, the Ravens have lost back-to-back games.

They’ve cost themselves a chance to clinch a playoff spot in consecutive weeks and also missed an opportunity to win the AFC North Sunday. For the second time in as many weeks, the Ravens allowed a backup quarterback to drive down the field late in the game and ended up losing on a last-second field goal.

The frustration was evident in the Ravens locker room after Sunday’s 31-28 overtime loss to the Redskins.

Now with three games left on the schedule, are the Ravens in trouble?

“No, man,” safety Ed Reed responded when asked that question. “We ain't in trouble. Next question.”

Reed wasn’t the only one with that sentiment.

“We’ll be alright,” wide receiver Anquan Boldin said. “I don’t know if people want me to be pissed off, but I mean we’re still a playoff-contending team, we’re still going to win the AFC North. What else can I say? We let one get away today. We go back to work tomorrow, fix the things that we can fix and then move on.”

The Ravens are trying to make the playoffs for the fifth straight season, and they face a tough schedule down the stretch with games remaining against the Broncos, Giants and Bengals, who are also all fighting for playoff position.

They don’t have much room for error, but the Ravens said they aren’t fearful of their playoff spot being in jeopardy.

“There is no fear; that is not the word I would use. It is definitely an urgent feeling,” outside linebacker Paul Kruger said. “We have to win. That’s the bottom line.”

The silver lining in Sunday’s loss was the Ravens didn’t cost themselves any ground in the division. Pittsburgh lost to San Diego and Cincinnati lost to Dallas, allowing the Ravens to maintain their two-game advantage in the AFC North.

But the Ravens weren’t taking much solace in getting help from other teams.

“I’m not going to sit back and watch our playoff fate based on other teams,” running back Ray Rice said. “I can't give two craps about what another team does. I’m focused on the Baltimore Ravens. , and obviously a little help here and there helps, but that’s not something I pride on.

“We pride ourselves on beating people and going into the playoffs strong. We’ve got to get ourselves back.”

While the Ravens didn’t lose any ground in the division race, the loss did cost them in terms of the conference standings. Their four losses now puts them behind the Broncos and Patriots (play Monday vs. Houston) in the AFC playoff picture, with next week’s game against the Broncos at M&T Bank Stadium looming.

“We are fighting through all the things you fight through at this stage of the season as a football team,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said. “That is why you don’t overreact to these things. It is a tough loss and it is going to be a fight to the division championship and that is what we are fighting for right now. We have to bounce back next week with a very good Denver team in our stadium.”

“It’s tough, but it’s something that we got to find out what’s wrong, go back to work and figure it out,” defensive tackle Haloti Ngata added. “You can’t soak in it. You got to move on. We just need to bounce back and figure out what we need to do.”

The Ravens have dealt with tough losses in the past – losing to the Seahawks and Jaguars last season, and they have managed to bounce back from defeat.

Sunday’s loss has the potential to be deflating, but now they have to shake it off and get ready for another game with significant playoff implications.

“To lose the way that we did is what we’re going to be pretty frustrated about and disappointed in,” tight end Dennis Pitta said. “But I think you have to be able to manage these highs and lows during the season.

“You see teams that let these types of losses affect them, and we can’t let it do that. We’re going to come out and have a great week of practice and preparation and we have a big one on Sunday.”

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