Ravens: The morning after
That loss is going to sting for awhile, and it should. The Ravens put their greatest strengths and their greatest weaknesses on display over the course of the game, which may be instructive for the front office over the next couple of weeks, but the outcome leaves the team looking at a much more difficult competitive landscape going forward.
Still, I wouldn't start doing the mathematical calculations just yet. Somebody wrote in and said that the Ravens will have to go 11-5 to reach the playoffs -- which would leave them needing to win eight of their last 10 games. I think that probably would have been a legit observation a few weeks ago, but the situation in the AFC has changed a lot over the first six weeks of the season.
The Tennessee Titans, who were one of the chief wild card possibilities when the season started, have dropped off the map. The Jets and Bengals both lost yesterday. The only team running away right now is the Denver Broncos, which might actually be a good thing if they can hold on to edge the Chargers in the West, since the Ravens hold the head-to-head tiebreaker with the Chargers if they end up competing for a wild card spot.
There's no way to sugarcoat what has happened the past three weeks. The Ravens have gone from a slam-dunk playoff entry to a team that will have to find a way to pull itself together during the bye period. The good news is that no lead is safe against them, which is quite a change in the competitive personality of the franchise. The bad news is that no lead is safe for them, either. They need to either find help in the secondary or make some serious system patches to account for the way Brett Favre carved it up yesterday.
Oh, and one other thing: The kid missed a kick. That doesn't make him a bad fellow or a choke artist. Guys miss kicks. Matt Stover missed kicks, though he made his living off kicks like that one. I understand, however, how hard it must be for Ravens fans to deal with that missed kick just days after Stover signed with the Colts.