Harbaugh: We’ll Be Targets Of Criticism

The Ravens understand fans’ disappointment in not gaining separation in the division.

Posted by Garrett Downing on Sunday, November 13th, 2011 at 11:46 pm | Categories: 2011 Season Gameday, Garrett Downing, Week 10 vs Seahawks

The Baltimore Ravens have been down this road before.

The Ravens had seemingly solidified their spot as the team to beat in the conference after last weekend’s victory over the reigning AFC champion Pittsburgh Steelers.

At least that’s what the pundits said.

But following Sunday’s 22-17 upset loss to a Seattle team on a three-game losing streak, the Ravens know what’s coming.

“We understand we’re going to be the target of a lot of criticism,” Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh said. “We understand that it’s going to be local, we understand it’s going to be national. We understand that the fans are going to be very disappointed in the game and we’re very disappointed in the game.”

It’s not the first time that the Ravens have opened themselves up to that kind of reaction. Losing to Tennessee and especially losing to Jacksonville on Monday Night Football had analysts questioning whether the Ravens are legitimate contenders in the AFC.

The knock from analysts on the Ravens this season is that they play to the level of their competition.

Baltimore’s six victories have come against teams that have a combined 24-22 record. Their three losses came against teams with a combined 13-16 record.

All three losses came on the road the week after victories over a playoff contender.

“We haven’t shown that we can win games after a big win,” Ravens defensive tackle Haloti Ngata said.

At the start of Sunday’s game, the Ravens were alone at the top the AFC following the Steelers victory over Cincinnati. Losing Sunday puts Baltimore back into a three-way tie atop of the AFC North with Pittsburgh and Cincinnati.

“We had an opportunity here to do something, to separate ourselves a little bit in the division,” Harbaugh said. “We didn’t take advantage of it.”

The silver lining in the loss is that the Ravens still have the tiebreaker over Pittsburgh because of the season sweep, and are still very much in control of their own destiny.

Next weekend’s home game against Cincinnati is a chance for the Ravens to again take the lead in the AFC North.

“It’s the National Football League,” linebacker Ray Lewis said. “The bottom line is that we’re number one in the division, and we have the division on the line next week. I think that’s the exciting part of going back, you learn from these mistakes.”

And if the Ravens can rebound, like they have twice before this season, they’ll likely once again find themselves regarded by analysts as the favorites in the division and the conference.

“We know we’re fully capable of bouncing back, we have to next week,” Harbaugh said. “We have to play our best football. We take full responsibility for this loss, we know that.”

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