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Ravens Have Become Calloused

Posted Dec 11, 2013

Baltimore isn't without its issues, but this team is forging an identity of toughness.

Head Coach John Harbaugh knows his team isn’t perfect.

“You can criticize us all you want, you can say, ‘They’re not this and they’re not that,’” he told reporters on Monday. “And you know what? You’re probably right. We are what we are.”

While there are still things to fix for the Ravens, and they haven’t played their best game yet, this year’s squad is starting to develop a hardened character.

Say what you want about them, but they’re tough.

Asked what notching three fourth-quarter comebacks against the Vikings for a 29-26 victory did for his team’s psyche, Harbaugh pointed to that toughness.

“It probably makes you resilient,” he said. “It probably puts a lot of callouses all over your psyche and your character. When you’ve got callouses on your character, that’s probably a good thing in the end.”

The Ravens have gone through the fire this season and they’re still in control of their playoff destiny. Win their final three games – no easy task – and they’re in for a sixth straight year.

The defending Super Bowl champions lost four of five games between Weeks 6 and 11. An overtime loss in Chicago led some pundits to say they were finished.

Through that losing streak, the Ravens lost three of those games by three or fewer points. The defense couldn’t get off the field against Green Bay or Pittsburgh and the offense failed to capitalize in its first offensive possession in overtime in Chicago.

Now the Ravens are showing their resiliency. They stopped the Steelers on the goal line on Thanksgiving night and weathered two crushing Vikings touchdowns in the final two minutes on Sunday.

After the Vikings thriller, outside linebacker Terrell Suggs was asked if there was anything this year’s team couldn’t overcome.

“Not that I know of,” Suggs said. “We are pretty much battle-tested against anything a team can throw against us. We just keep trucking along. This team is very tough and very mentally strong and this team has a lot of fight in it. It’s fun to be a part of.”

The Ravens go into a critical three-game stretch with a boost of confidence. If they win on Monday night in Detroit, they’ll only be one game behind where they were a year ago en route to the Super Bowl.

“We’re the best 7-6 team in the league,” safety Matt Elam said Sunday night. “I just feel like the way we stick together and the way we have faith in each other will serve us great down the road.”

“We’re confident,” added quarterback Joe Flacco, who is starting to play his best football of the season. “We’re starting to put it together as a team. We just need to start putting it together for a full 60 minutes and see where it takes us.”

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