Harbaugh's Ravens bounce back after ugly losses

October 27, 2011|By Matt Vensel

In John Harbaugh’s first three years as head coach of the Ravens, his team rarely lost to lesser opponents. In 2008 and 2009, the Ravens never lost to a team that failed to make the playoffs that season. In 2010, they lost to the 4-12 Cincinnati Bengals in Week 2. After Monday’s loss, the Ravens have done it twice this season.

Say what you want about Harbaugh, but under his leadership, the Ravens have had few truly ugly losses. Yes, Monday night's 12-7 meltdown against the Jacksonville Jaguars has to be near the top of the list. And as we have seen the past few years, when the going gets ugly, the Ravens usually bounce back with a victory.

As the Ravens prepare to host the one-win Arizona Cardinals at M&T Bank Stadium on Sunday, let’s look at how the Ravens responded in the past after some of the most frustrating losses of the John Harbaugh era.

Sunday, October 12, 2008: Colts 31, Ravens 3

The loss: The lopsided loss at the hands of Peyton Manning and the Colts was the low point of Harbaugh’s first season on the job. It was the team’s third loss in a row, and with a 2-3 record, it is still the only time in Harbaugh’s tenure that the team has had a losing record. It was the largest margin of defeat under Harbaugh.

Quotable: "I'm going to tell you right now, we're not about pointing the finger,” Harbaugh said. “If anybody thinks I'm going to stand up here and point the finger at one guy ... you can pack up your tape recorders right now. That's not what we're about. We're a football team and we've got to get better as a football team."

Next game: The Ravens beat the Miami Dolphins, the eventual AFC East champions, 27-13, on the road. It started a four-game win streak for the Ravens, who as we all well know, advanced to the AFC title game.

Monday, December 7, 2009: Packers 27, Ravens 14

The loss: In another “Monday Night Football” snoozefest, the Ravens mustered just 185 yards of total offense and Joe Flacco threw three interceptions. They made the score look respectable with two third-quarter touchdowns scored 90 seconds apart. The loss dropped the Ravens to 6-6, but they rallied to make the playoffs.

Quotable: "We've got plenty to be encouraged about," Harbaugh said. "We're in a tight race for the wild card, we are every bit in it. Everybody, they'll say what they'll say. It's a week-to-week proposition in this league."

Next game: The Ravens smashed the Lions, 48-3, and the following week beat the Bears by 24 points.

Sunday, September 19, 2010: Bengals 15, Ravens 10

The loss: Joe Flacco threw a career-high four interceptions against the Bengals, in the process vulgarizing the phrase “Cover Two” in Baltimore for a couple of weeks. Mike Nugent kicked five field goals for the Bengals.

Quotable: "We're disappointed," Harbaugh said. "It's not going to make us. It's not going to break us."

Next game: Flacco threw three touchdown passes as the Ravens beat the Browns, 24-17.

Sunday, September 18, 2011: Titans 26, Ravens 13

The loss: After the Ravens beat the Steelers, 35-7, in the home opener, the Ravens looked listless as they lost to the Titans. Matt Hasselbeck threw for 358 yards and the Baltimore offense was significantly out of sorts.

Quotable: "They beat us by winning in every way you can beat a football team," Harbaugh said. "We didn't play as well. ... Everybody is going to have a theory [about the loss], and none of them are going to be right."

Next game: Flacco and Torrey Smith dropped bombs on the Rams in a 37-7 victory. A week later, the Ravens won Rex Ryan Bowl II, 34-17. And a month later, they lost to the Jaguars. How will they respond this time?

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