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When a team has beaten you decisively in critical situations on your home turf in successive games. When they have blatantly disrespected your head coach and danced on your logo in classless fashion. When their head coach has talked about coming into the game with swagger and not fearing your superstar. There is nothing sweeter than handing them a playoff loss on their own turf and celebrating on their logo as the Ravens did today in Nashville. We will take that 15 yard taunting penalty for our choreographed (?) celebration any day. After taking the final snap in victory formation, Lamar led the charge of his teammates directly off the field and up the tunnel to the locker room. There would be no friendly mingling with the opposing players after this grudge match.

Lamar justified the actions of the Ravens very simply: “They were standing on our logo and getting into it with our coach, That was disrespectful because we treat all our opponents with respect. . . There wasn’t any reason for us to shake hands.” Even the diplomat Calais Campbell, when pressed, had to point out “Respect must be earned.” Still there were critics of the Ravens’ actions afterwards — including hometown hero Ed Reed (“Let’s win with class.”) But in this instance, I think the Ravens did what needed to be done. I agree with the perspective of Mike Preston in his Baltimore Sun article: “Ravens Finally Show a Nasty Side in Victory Over Titans.”

You cannot overemphasize how much Coach John Harbaugh wanted this victory. After going toe-to-toe with Coach Vrabel in their previous encounter in a heated verbal exchange pre-game and then barely touching hands in their postgame handshake, Harbs could not tolerate another embarrassing loss. Kudos to his players for bringing the mental toughness and fortitude to kick the bully in the gut and win the game when all the chips were on the line. After the game, Harbs was effusive in his comments — noting that this ranked up there with his greatest win ever! (“This may be the best win I’ve ever been associated with”) Think of that statement! His players (both before and after the game) tried to downplay the significance of the two contrasting logo dances (cf. Wolfe in his postgame interview saying all of the right things). But make no mistake. This revenge was sweet!

Additional Observations:

  • The Ravens finally had all of their players healthy. Hopefully that continues going forward.

  • Going down 10-0 in the first quarter, coupled with the uncharacteristic bad interception from Lamar only increased the pressure on the young QB who was fighting the “can’t win a playoff game” label despite this being only his third appearance as he just turned 24. Plus Lamar had been 0-6 in games where he trailed by 10 or more points.

  • The 48 yard TD scamper by Lamar was the highlight of the game and turned things around. He ran for a total of 136 yards — clearly the player of the game.

  • The defensive line did an unbelievable job in containing Derrick Henry to only 40 yards in 18 carries. Give a special game ball to McPhee who had his best game of the season. But all of the lineman and edge setters played all world. Martindale schemed up a great game plan to smother Henry.

  • Marquise Brown deserves credit for showing up huge in both of the playoff games the past 2 years against the Titans.

  • Patrick Ricard is the Swiss army knife that just keeps doing whatever job is needed.

  • Lamar finally looked comfortable as the offense gradually took over the game while the defense came up big when we needed them.

  • It was huge that we received the second half kickoff. That led to the defining winning scoring drive where the adjustments of Roman to use the quick passes out to the flats proved successful.