Ravens Leave 'Baggage' Behind, Moving On

When Head Coach John Harbaugh gathered his team after Baltimore's 25-13 loss in Houston, he told them not to pack their bags full of these memories – as difficult as that may be.

"I said, 'Hey, when we leave this locker room, anything that we don't need stays here,'" Harbaugh said. "'We're only taking back with us what we can use to go play, compete and beat the Cleveland Browns, period'"

It's now a one-game season. Win and the Ravens stand a reasonably good chance of getting into the playoffs. Lose and they're most definitely out.

And with only a week to prepare for such a pivotal game, there's no time for looking back and sulking about Sunday's bitter defeat.

"I guess from the media standpoint we can look back and look at this game and say what went wrong and point fingers," Harbaugh said. "But we're not going to do that. We don't have time for that. We have to go win this next game.

"We need to leave everything that's baggage here. And everything we can learn from, we'll take with us. And we'll fight like crazy next week and try to win a tough AFC North game in our stadium."

The players took that us-against-the-world mentality to heart. It was clear that Sunday's loss was frustrating. How could it not be?

But the Ravens had the task of letting that weight rise off their shoulders as they flew above the clouds on their way back to Baltimore. There's no time for second-guessing, not when you're in the thick of it.

"We respect and understand and anticipate all the negative feedback and all the fat, lazy, sorry couch quarterbacks that are going to come out," wide receiver Steve Smith said. "We're not going to pay attention to it."

The Ravens were in a very similar position last season.

Following back-to-back wins that had the Ravens' playoff chances looking strong, Baltimore was dealt a blowout 41-7 loss at home by the New England Patriots in Week 16.

That forced the Ravens into a must-win situation in Cincinnati to close out the season. The Ravens didn't recover as quarterback Joe Flacco threw three interceptions and the offense managed just 222 yards of offense in the season finale.

Baltimore's offense struggled mightily in Houston, but they can't let that carry over to next week. So how will the offense move on?

"You don't have a choice. You've got to," Smith said.

"We have a big week next week, last game of the season, make or break says everything. We don't really have a choice to sit around and analyze it and 'woe is me' and come up with excuses. Bottom line is offensively we just got our [butts] kicked."

Outside linebacker Terrell Suggs was already looking forward when speaking to reporters in the post-game locker room Sunday. As much as anyone, Suggs wants to avoid a second straight season without the playoffs.

"It seems like we're in a do-or-die fight against a familiar foe at home for our lives," he said. "So we better fight like hell next week or we're going to be outside looking in again."

Check out the best photos from NRG Stadium in Houston as the Ravens look to take one step closer to the playoffs by beating the Texans.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content