As LeBron James would say, “Witness.”
Its that simple. No other single word could define the excitement I felt after watching my hometown hero Baltimore Ravens knock off the highly favored Denver Broncos 38-35. Nothing in the world feels nearly as good as victory narrowly snatched from the jaws of defeat.
The mood in the crowded restaurant bar I watched from went from one extreme to the other. In one second a bar filled with grown men went from jubilant cheering to openly crying and back again. This is how it went throughout the night.
I was so nervous through the entire game that I got home afterwards and immediately feel asleep from sheer exhaustion. My heart pumped inside my chest like a car engine. I screamed and screamed and screamed at the referees, well we all did, cursing the head referee’s family for making calls in Denver’s favor all game long.
None of the bias and one-sided rulings mattered in the end. The Ravens won!!! Somehow someway they took on Peyton Manning’s offense, Von Miller’s defense, the special teams unit, and even the referees. I told everyone we could outplay the Broncos in Denver and noone believed me. WITNESS.
What does this mean in the grand scheme of things? Can we expect great things from this suddenly confident Ravens squad in the near future? Absolutely.
Without a doubt. The quarterback play in the NFL doesn’t come any better than Manning and his 4 MVP awards. Bookends Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil came into the game with double-digit sacks, with Miller seeing a regular season record for them. Their kick returner, whose name I can’t even remember(Trindon Holliday), returned a punt AND a kickoff for a pair of touchdowns against us. Tell me the last time you saw a team do that and LOSE.
It all goes back to Ray Lewis, his impending retirement, and his belief in God.
The defense, much maligned and ridiculed throughout the regular season, is doing much better ever since Ray came back to active duty. Terrell Suggs is almost back to 100%, while Paul Kruger’s breakout season continues. The pressure from them and Haloti Ngata can be seen in the resulting turnovers from Peyton Manning.
To put everything in a nutshell, We needed everything we could get to win this game. The atmosphere was so tense it was almost like we were playing in the Super Bowl. As rewarding and enjoyable as this win was, the only thing I’m really worried about is our opponent next week.
Because we pulled out all the stops, I’m hoping we didn’t use up all the gas in the tank battling in Mile High Stadium. I mean it was between 9 and 13 degrees F last night on the field, with the wind chill making it feel like -2 degrees. Playing a tough opponent in inclement weather with 10 total touchdowns, 73 total points scored, and multiple ties or lead changes can cause severe emotional distress.
If I was exhausted than imagine how they felt after the game. Now they have a week before they play another strong playoff-caliber team. Another road game. It’s going to take a complete effort again to earn a spot in the Super Bowl.
WITNESS. I am.
(Note: There are other contributing factors to the Ravens victory that weren’t mentioned, such as Joe Flacco being decisive and not throwing any picks, Denver kicker Matt Prater missing a long field goal, the Ravens offensive line actually blocking, and Michael Oher not sucking too badly. ;))