Let’s kick off the divisional round of the NFL playoffs in my current city, Baltimore! In the short time I’ve been here, Ravens fans have proven themselves to me to be die-hard, purple-loving, smart football fans. Maybe it’s because the city doesn’t have an NBA or NHL team, but I would put Ravens fans up there with some of the best. Purple Fridays are the real deal and you can’t go anywhere without seeing a sea of purple be it the grocery store, park, Royal Farms, or one of the many rallies the city threw this week (they also tolerate all my Eagles gear which is pretty cool- though we are aplenty here as well, go birds). So naturally, as I ventured out on Saturday (with some Philly friends visiting), the city was ON ONE. We were having dinner in Fell’s Point around 7 pm on Saturday and came out to what looked like party in the street (borderline mardi-gras style), a giant field goal on the side of the road, and more Ravens’ fans than the bars could hold so people were watching from the street looking into the bars.
The motto all season in Baltimore has been Big Truss (they even wrote it a salt pile off of 95):
Literally nothing says Big Truss quite like a big pile of salt next to 95 https://t.co/4jaJpV7hS4— Big Truss Banks (@BarstoolBanks) January 9, 2020
But unfortunately, between resting the starters in Week 17 and having the Bye Week, a total of three weeks off for some starters and some lingering injuries, specifically to Mark Ingram, the Ravens were looking more like Big Rust. The Ravens lost 28-12 and as a 1 seed, this performance was incredibly disappointing; however, Lamar Jackson just played his first full season and every offensive starter is locked up for 2020 plus they have $45 million in cap space. More good news:
First playoff wins for a few QBs. Lamar will be just fine, especially if Greg stays put awhile. pic.twitter.com/ZnOEvLn13f— Chris Long (@JOEL9ONE) January 12, 2020
The Ravens will be fine, but they were handed a golden opportunity facing the Tennessee Titans and squandered that away. The Titans (blog darlings) remind me a lot of the 2017 Eagles (who were a 1 seed but a home underdog in every game), so it’s possible the Ravens just ran into a team of destiny or perhaps a steamroller of destiny in case of Derrick Henry. Only needing 160 yards total in two games from Ryan Tannehill, Derrick Henry has been an absolute monster, even throwing for a TD of his own!
The @Titans are heading to the AFC title game for the 1st time since the 2002 season.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) January 12, 2020
They rode Derrick Henry again as he became the 1st player in NFL history with at least 180 rush yards in 3 straight games (reg. season and playoffs). pic.twitter.com/iNT0P6sY7b
On paper, the Ravens defense should have been up to the task of the physical Titans run game, but on the field, it was a much different story…
Earl Thomas: “Those guys didn’t seem too interested in tackling [Henry]. I think our mindset is a little different.”— Titans Film Room (@titansfilmroom) January 12, 2020
Also Earl Thomas: pic.twitter.com/9lrp7P3ulh
Whether it was the #DrakeCurse, Big Russ(t), or just the perfect storm of youth, questionable game-planning, and facing an underdog team with momentum, the Ravens struggled and the Titans got it done to advance to the AFC Championship Game while letting the world know they are having a good time doing it!
Titans wasted no time in taking shots at Mark Ingram and Lamar Jackson pic.twitter.com/ROhZrMiW42— Home Of Athletes (@HomeOfAthletes) January 12, 2020
The Titans face the Chiefs this Sunday with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line!