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Losing Streak To Test Leadership, Toughness

Posted Dec 17, 2012

Joe Flacco said the Ravens will discover who they are during this final stretch of football.

For just the second time since John Harbaugh and Joe Flacco arrived in Baltimore, the Ravens have lost three straight games.

They have yet to win a game in this December and have missed an opportunity to clinch the AFC North in each of the last two weeks.

It’s an unfamiliar spot for the Ravens, who have made the playoffs the last four seasons and are fighting to be the only NFL team to make the postseason the last five years.

“It tests all of us,” Flacco said after Sunday’s 34-17 loss. “It tests our leadership. It tests our toughness. We believe we have a tight locker room. It’s going to test that.

“We’re a 9-5 football team, and it feels like we’re 0-14 right now. But that’s just the feeling that you have right after a game like this.”

Flacco was adamant during his post-game press conference that the players have to take a look at themselves and find a way to get out of this rut.

“We believe we’re pretty stand-up guys, tough guys, guys with character,” Flacco said. “We’re going to be able to look at ourselves in the mirror when this thing is all said and done and honestly say that we are those type of guys or that we’re not those type of guys. I believe that we are, and you’re going to be able to see that over the next six, seven weeks, however long we have left.

“In order to get through this, we have to go home and look in the mirror, first of all, and work as one to get better and win football games. I believe that’s the kind of people we are, and that’s the kind of guys we have and the kind of coaches we have. It’s going to take toughness to get yourself up, pull yourself in there and do the work you need to do in order to give yourself the best chance of winning on Sunday.”

Prior to the recent losing streak, the Ravens' 9-2 start gave them breathing room over the Bengals and Steelers in the division.   

The Ravens have just two games left on the schedule – home against the Giants and on the road against the Bengals – and they need just one more victory to win the division for back-to-back seasons.

“The most important thing to understand is that, and our guys understand this, every goal that we have, starting with our first goal which is to win the AFC North, is in front of us,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said. “It’s still there, and every dream that we have, which is the ultimate dream is still available to us. And that’s what you keep in mind. It’s a tough league for tough guys, and you have to find a way to put it behind you, improve, address the issues, own them and move on. That’s what we plan on doing.”

It was a quiet Ravens’ locker room after Sunday’s game, which was the worst home loss since 2007. The game capped off an emotional week in Baltimore, which included replacing Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron with Jim Caldwell.

“This was kind of a crazy week for us, with all that went down, but bottom line is we just didn’t execute as well as we would have liked throughout that ballgame,” tight end Dennis Pitta said.

Despite the adversity the team is facing, Harbaugh and the players said the Ravens aren’t losing their grip on the season.

“I wouldn’t say spiraling out of control, but it’s been bad these last three weeks,” safety Ed Reed said. “Like I told the guys, negativity, losing, it trickles down. That’s what’s happened these last three weeks. We haven’t bumped it out yet and came back on top. So, that’s what we have to do, and we have to do it against the Super Bowl champs from last year, the New York Giants, who have a great team."

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