Ravens fans have the right to be worried about the way in which Baltimore won Sunday – and they are – but the team is not.
Baltimore pulled out a 9-6 win in Kansas City that included six total turnovers and no touchdowns. The team admits it wasn’t pretty by any means.
Still, a smiling Head Coach John Harbaugh joked with reporters Monday about assigning "style points” to a win.
"Who is the style points track keeper?” Harbaugh asked.
Reporters didn’t ask, but wanted to know how the team feels about barely beating the one-win Chiefs.
The head coach could sense the elephant in the room.
"There are a lot of things that we’re not pleased with,” Harbaugh said. "We’re chasing our ‘A’ game every week. We want to have our ‘A’ stuff. It’s like a pitcher. We want to have our best stuff every single week. We did not have our best stuff yesterday.
"But, I am glad we can work on [our mistakes] with a win, all be it not a style-point win, but a win.”
"Expecting us to beat everybody by a lot of points is like asking people to have a great day every single day. It’s not going to happen,” he said. "Everything didn’t go well for us, and that’s the game of football.
"Whether we squeak by or whether we dominated, championship teams know how to win. [add]”
The Ravens sit atop the AFC North standings at 4-1. They’re at least a full game ahead of everybody else because of the win in Kansas City.
Months from now, the way in which the Ravens won will have no impact on whether they reach the playoffs or where they are seeded. It’s a win.
"It all matters the same,” wide receiver
Last year, Baltimore didn’t come out victorious in some similarly ugly road games against teams pundits expected them to beat.
The Ravens fell to Jacksonville, 12-7, without giving up a touchdown. The Ravens lost in Seattle, 22-17, after two fumbled kickoffs and a slow offensive start.
Had the Ravens won them, they would have had a 14-2 record and hosted the AFC championship.
"This is one of those games that we didn’t win last year that we won this year,” Harbaugh said Sunday evening. "To me, that’s an important thing. That’s a good thing.”
On Monday, Harbaugh gave his team credit for making plays under pressure in Kansas City.
The defense held the Chiefs to a field goal after they had a first down at Baltimore’s 14-yard line. Quarterback
"I’m pleased because we didn’t let frustration overcome us,” Harbaugh said. "We didn’t lose our patience. We didn’t get too anxious. We didn’t make the kind of mistakes at the end that would have cost us that game. We made the plays at the end that allowed us to win the game.”
Baltimore did the same the week before in a 23-16 victory over Cleveland.
The Browns had a chance to tie the game on their final drive, but the Ravens slapped away three passes to the end zone and got enough pressure on the final heave that Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden threw it out of the back of the end zone. The Ravens made the plays.
For fans that may feel anxiety about Sunday’s poor performance being an indicator for how the Ravens will play in the future, Harbaugh emphasized his team is working to correct errors. They know they can learn from mistakes to try to have less nerve-wracking games in the future.
Harbaugh started Monday’s press conference saying the team "spent a lot of time” dissecting the Chiefs game tape. They, as usual, practiced on correcting those mistakes during Monday’s practice.
But after players take Tuesday off, they’ll return on Wednesday totally engrossed in the next opponent – the Dallas Cowboys. Worrying about how they won in Kansas City won’t help them beat the Cowboys.
"We’ve got a tough game coming up Sunday,” Harbaugh said. "So you’re attention just goes to that."