Baltimore Ravens football has always been about toughness. John Harbaugh’s Ravens need to get back to that:
When you think of Baltimore Ravens football, what do you think about? You probably think about Ray Lewis striking fear into the opponent before the players even stepped on the field. You probably remember Jamal Lewis pounding his way up the gut for some tough yards. Maybe you go back to Haloti Ngata bloodying Ben Roethlisberger’s nose.
The point is, when you think about Ravens football, the best memories has one common thread. The Ravens once led the league in toughness. They have to do it again.
When the Ravens were a perennial playoff team, they were the last team other AFC teams wanted to draw in January. In fact, John Harbaugh has never lost in the first round of the playoffs. The Ravens beat the Patriots in New England to make it to Super Bowl XLVII. When the Patriots don’t even want to see you in the playoffs, you know you’re tough.
The Ravens are the team that has never been afraid, that has never been timid and that has always hit the hardest. It boils down to a mindset. It’s the perseverance that let Baltimore see an 11 game winning streak after a five game touchdown drought, to get their first Super Bowl. It’s that determination that allowed the 2012 Ravens to collect themselves after a near catastrophic collapse late in the regular season, to win the Super Bowl.
A history of hard nosed football:
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Remember the 2009 wild card game against the Patriots? Ray Rice went 80 yards on the first play from scrimmage and the Ravens annihilated their heavily favored opponent. Remember the 2012 Broncos? The Ravens shocked the world in the most back and forth game of all-time.
Let’s go back more. Remember when the Tennessee Titans thought the Ravens were nothing more than a speed bump on their path to the Super Bowl. They thought wrong and the Ravens won Super Bowl XXXV weeks later. Speaking of Super Bowl XXXV, do you remember when the greatest defense of all-time didn’t even let Kerry Collins and his New York Giants past the 50 yard-line well into the second half?
The two things a Ravens football team is supposed to have is a great defense and a great running game. Last season the Ravens defense was pretty solid, but it wasn’t great. It wasn’t great for Ravens standards at least. The 2016 Ravens ran the ball so seldom, Terrance West and Kenneth Dixon probably got bored.
The Bottom Line:
The key to getting back to being the baddest team on the planet is to run the ball and play defense. This doesn’t mean Joe Flacco, Jeremy Maclin and Breshad Perriman aren’t supposed to have their fun. It just means that the Ravens have to get everything started with the running game and an offensive line that plows defensive tackles off the line of scrimmage. The 2017 Ravens shouldn’t have any problems playing great defense. On paper, they’re amazingly equipped.
Baltimore Ravens football is a brand. It symbolizes toughness and mental fortitude. It’s a style and it’s not a pretty one. Ravens football is about grinding out victories. It’s about finding a way to win, even when the entire sports world doesn’t think it can happen. Let’s get back to Baltimore Ravens football.