Ever watch your favorite team play and say to yourself, "I've seen this before!"? That's what happened to me this past Sunday afternoon. After watching the Ravens lose to a Tennessee Titans team they would typically have beaten, it all started to come back to me. This is 2010 all over again.
Let me elaborate a bit more. Week 1 of the 2010 season, the Ravens traveled to the Meadowlands to play the NY Jets, against their old defensive coordinator in Rex Ryan, along with other former Ravens such as Bart Scott and Jim Leonhard. The Ravens loved Rex, but they also wanted to show him they can still win games without them. The emotional showdown led to a 10-9 victory over the Jets. Well fought, well spent... the Ravens were 1-0.
Week 2 of the 2010 season was on the road to Cincinnati against the Bengals. The Bengals won the division the year before in 2009, but fizzled out really bad during the last month of that season, including a pitiful effort in their playoff loss to the Jets. While the Bengals had a good 2010 draft, the Ravens were still favored to win the AFC North in 2010 and wanted to go 2-0 against their division opponent. Well, the Bengals had other things in mind. Joe Flacco turned the ball over 4 times and the Ravens ultimately lost the game to an opponent many expected them to beat, 15-10, after such an emotional win the week before.
A year later, and here we go again. After totally dominating the Steelers in Week 1 with a 35-7 victory, the Ravens looked flat and lethargic against the Titans. Though the Titans were underdogs and lost to the Jags the week prior, there were concerns about this game from the start. Matt Hasselbeck is a very reliable veteran QB who gets the ball out of his hands quick (major key to the Titans win), Chris Johnson just received a huge pay day for his services in years past, and Kenny Britt proved in 2010 that he can really be a problem in this league. While CJ2k was no where to be found on Sunday, Hasselbeck and Brit did enough damage. With the Ravens lack of pass rush and injuries to the secondary, Baltimore gave up 358 passing yards. The offense wasn't much better, as Flacco threw for 2 INTS and the offensive line forgot to wake up, having Flacco hurried and hit often. The final score: 26-13.
Are there concerns after this loss? Absolutely. The Ravens need to find a way to consistently block for their QB as well as get pressure on opposing QB's. The silver lining in this is that, it's only Week 2, with 14 more games ahead to get it right, which I anticipate they will. Last year, the Ravens lost the Bengals game but finished the season with a 12-4 record. We'll see how 2011 pans out as the weeks go on.
But until then, it was deja vu all over again.