The Baltimore Ravens had arguably the league's most unstoppable offense, the most ferocious defense in the AFC, and an MVP at quarterback in Lamar Jackson. That still was not enough to get them to the Super Bowl for the first time in over a decade after fizzling in the AFC Championship Game.
While Patrick Mahomes is deservedly getting all the shine after leading the Kansas City Chiefs to their third championship in the last five seasons, Chris Jones and their defense deserve a ton of credit for facing four top-five offenses in a row and shutting all of them down.
While Baltimore was roasted, oftentimes fairly and often unfairly, for losing to Kansas City, players on the Chiefs are well aware of how good the Ravens were this season and what a monumental challenge it was to sneak by them in their quest for ring No. 3.
After beating the San Francisco 49ers, Jones declared the Ravens as the best team in the league "hands down" and mentioned what a difficult stepping stone they were in their journey to the top. Ravens fans should take the compliment, but it'll be tough not to sulk for the next few months as they try to get back on track.
Chiefs' Chris Jones says Baltimore Ravens are the best team in the NFL
The AFC Championship was yet another Ravens playoff game where John Harbaugh abandoned the formula that made them successful in the regular season. The game was all on Jackson's arm, which nullified Baltimore's league-best ground attack and made them one-dimensional.
While Jackson certainly didn't play his best game, he wasn't helped out by a wide receiver core that did very little outside of fumbling at the goal line and an offensive line that picked the worst time to have their least effective game of the year against Jones and Steve Spagnuolo.
What makes this loss extra frustrating is the fact that Kansas City appeared to be as weak as they had ever been in the Mahomes era, as their lack of quality wide receivers made them a less-than-stellar offensive team. Baltimore, meanwhile, had impact players at just about every position.
Even though Kansas City will likely add wide receivers this offseason, it's not a stretch to say the Ravens have a better roster from top to bottom. Hopefully, this is the year Harbaugh and Jackson can put their postseason demons in the past and get over that hump.