The Tennessee Titans walked into M&T Bank Stadium Saturday night and smacked the bully-on-the-block Baltimore Ravens right in the mouth, knocking the number one seed Ravens from the 2019 NFL playoffs. The Ravens had ran roughshod over practically every defense they had faced this season, but the Titans limited the damage inflicted by the Ravens rushing attack, managed to gain a early lead, and forced the Ravens to resort to a ineffective passing game in a last ditch effort to mount a comeback.
Alas, it was all for not. MVP front-runner Lamar Jackson suddenly looked very mortal, actually displaying visible signs of frustration for the first time this season. He looked confused by many of the zone defenses that the Titans were throwing at him, similar to how he appeared in last year's playoff loss to the Los Angeles Chargers. Although he struggled often throughout the game tonight, he was far from the only one. The Ravens dropped multiple passes, were pushed around on defense, and committed multiple undisciplined penalties.
The Ravens were also completely out coached on every level, which shouldn't come as a huge surprise actually, considering the impressive run by Titan's Head Coach Mike Vrabel and his merry band of coaching colleagues over the last half of the season and thus far in the playoffs. However, currently mourning Ravens fans shouldn't place all their angst toward Vrabel and company, seeing how their very own Head Coach deserves his own share of the blame.
Seems some head coaches never learn. Like how a former rival coach unbelievably wears a controversial tee shirt in public a couple of days prior to a huge rematch against a hated rival, supplying bulletin board material for a over matched opponent absolutely ravaged by injuries, creating momentum for the opponent when less was more. Please note I said "former" HC. Losers often display such tendencies, and are perpetually unemployed.
Baltimore Ravens HC John Harbaugh hopefully learned a lesson about karma tonight, and he did it the old fashioned way, he earned it. Call it what you will. What goes up most come down, you are never as good as you think you are or as bad as some say you are, or you reap what you sow. One of my personal favorites, that my grandmother used to say, "Don't get too big for your britches!"
Harbaugh brought this tough life lesson on himself, truth be told. His Ravens destroyed our beloved Pittsburgh Steelers two weeks ago in a quagmire of a game, utilizing his back up players to easily overwhelm an overmatched Steelers squad. The Steelers were humbled, taken to school if you will. Harbaugh may have taken the Steelers to school, but in the process, he displayed absolutely no class.
I won't waste anybody's time rehashing every incident that lead me to that statement, instead I will simply mention the most glaring example of disrespect. Teams that are totally dominating an opponent, by three scores or more late in the fourth quarter, respectfully take their foot off the proverbial gas pedal to avoid further humiliating the opponent. This is an unwritten rule, not just in football, that goes back much farther than my time on the Earth. Harbaugh decided rules were made to be broken, and went in a totally different direction.
Harbaugh's offense dropped back and threw the ball deep down the field in an attempt to continue to run up the score, and further humiliate the already defeated Steelers. All the while, he stood smiling and laughing on the sidelines, apparently quite pleased with his decisions.
So I guess congratulations are in order for Coach Harbaugh and the Baltimore Ravens. You swept the season series from the Pittsburgh Steelers, regardless of the character shown, or lack thereof, in the process. You have a gaggle of players who have warranted Pro Bowl and All Pro status, maybe even the MVP of the league on your roster.
What a unbelievable success story this season turned out to be for the Baltimore Ravens and their fans, but what did they actually accomplish in the end? They get to watch the Super Bowl at home from the comfort of their living room, exactly the same as the humbled Pittsburgh Steelers and Steelers Nation. They could always go to the big game, but just like the Steelers, they would have to buy a ticket.
I guess karma really is a fickle mistress. Just ask John Harbaugh.