At the end of the first half, and into the third quarter, I was so disgusted by the play from the team, I was pretty sure that I wouldn’t be posting anything about this game for a few days. It wasn’t just the level of play, it was how they were playing.
For the first half of this game, the Ravens looked just weak. Instead of looking like the proud, fiery, intense team we’ve come to love, they looked like a shell of themselves. There seemed to be clear issues on the defense that no one wanted to address… players just left staring at each other.
And all the while we got it rubbed in our face as Brett Favre pushed up and down the field, jumping and smiling like a little kid who’d just picked up a football for the first time. That’s the way the Ravens used to play.
The second half - and the fourth quarter especially - changed that though. Offensively the team was outstanding, of course. But the excitement and intensity of the offense, the electricity of Ray Rice and the subtle confidence of Joe Flacco, seemed to become contagious. The defense found it.
The defense certainly didn’t play lights out and win the game for us, suddenly. They could have, but they didn’t. But they did at least play with a level of confidence that leads me to believe, or at least hope, that they can find some level of greatness again. The feeling was at least familiar.
And even with Steven Hauschka missing that kick, I have to think that the Ravens left the field knowing they didn’t deserve to win that game. They deserved to win the fourth quarter, but not the game. And so perhaps we’ll see that intensity from the very beginning in two weeks when we play Denver. If we do, if this team can play with the heart it was lacking all the while against Cincinnati and for most of the game in Minnesota, there is plenty to look forward to.