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Despite criticism from fans and media outside the team’s training facility, the Ravens aren’t apologizing for the way they’re winning.
They would like to put together four quarters of picture-perfect football, but they believe many NFL teams would trade places with the Ravens and their 9-4 record.
“You can’t satisfy everybody. Obviously, we want to come into this upcoming week undefeated, just like everyone else in the NFL wants to be,” said wideout Derrick Mason. “But the reality is it doesn’t happen that way. Some weeks you play well, some weeks you don’t, you skate by and get a victory like we did this past week. Some weeks, you pull it out.
“I can understand the fans’ frustration, but they have to look at the big picture. Where are we as a team? We’re 9-4. We’re still in the playoff hunt. We’re the No. 5 team seed-wise if the [season] were to end right now. We still have an opportunity to win the division.”
That’s not to say the Ravens are content with their performance.
Whether it has been the offense not producing enough first downs or the defense allowing too many points, the Ravens have surrendered eight fourth-quarter leads this year, four of which resulted in losses.
Monday night, it was the Houston Texans who came back from a 21-point deficit in the second half, forcing overtime before a Josh Wilson interception return for a touchdown finally vanquished them.
During that span, quarterback Matt Schaub completed 24 of 42 passes for 242 yards and two touchdowns. Schaub had 393 passing yards the entire game.
“You can ask anybody across the league, what’s the most important stat right now that they care about?” safety Ed Reed asked reporters on Wednesday. “Whether it’s passing for 300- or 400-yards and lose? You rather win ugly or lose pretty?
“So, of course we want to stop them every time. Of course we want to get off the field. We’ve got to execute better, but at the end of the day, they’re professionals just like we are.”
The Ravens currently hold a wild-card spot in the AFC with three games to go. There are several scenarios where they can clinch a playoff ticket this weekend against the New Orleans Saints.
Inside the Ravens’ locker room, that doesn’t sound too bad.
“It doesn’t matter how many leads we’ve blown,” Reed said. “At this point, we’re 9-4, trying to get the next one. Everybody is fighting to get in the playoffs.”