These are the games that give you nightmares. You are the better team and you lose. The Titans self-destructed. They marched up and down the field a million times (nearly DOUBLE THE YARDAGE, 391 yds to 211 yds) and kept on sabotaging themselves over and over. Yes, the Ravens deserve credit for hanging in there and doing what they needed to win, but it was Tenn who lost the game. Collins makes one very bad pass off the back foot for an INT, and then TWO fumbles in the red zone kill potential TDs, one of them at the 1 yard line. Am very grateful that wasn’t the Giants out there. We’ve had our share of playoff games where we were the better team that came up with less points. Flipper Anderson. SF 39 NYG 38. Those are two that come to mind. Many Giants players felt the Flipper Anderson year was a Super Bowl team. I agree. And the Jan 2003 loss to SF was a wound that was only healed by the Super Bowl XLII win. I still feel that the offense that year was so potent, that anything was possible on the upside.
They will be talking about the delay of game that was not called on the final Raven drive (Heap 23 yard reception for key 3rd down conversion). This is the kind of brown that I talk about when you shoot for quality wins of more than 10 points instead of the prevent. Now obviously this was not a game where Tenn was ever in the prevent, but the point is that when you blow chances, other insanities out of your control will kill you.
And what about the loss of rookie Pro Bowl RB Chris Johnson?!! If he does not go down with a sprained(?) ankle, the Titans may STILL win this game going away! YOU NEED LUCK. The Ravens got this one with heart and effort and HAD PLENTY OF HELP FROM THE FOOTBALL GODS. They are not a good enough team to win it all because (a) their offense (which we saw earlier this season) is not strong enough and (b) their defense, while very good, can get gashed (as teams like the Giants and even the Titans today proved). No, we should not look past the Eagles tomorrow, but I would not be afraid of facing the Ravens in Tampa should that occur. (Talk about Deja Vu 8 years later?!! There already has been plenty for the Ravens, beating the Titans in the divisional round when they were not the better team THAT year either!) If the Steelers win tomorrow, they will handle the Ravens, barring another series of incredible Titan-like events.
Separately, I was really pulling for the Titans today, because I am a big Collins fan. He made some poor decisions throwing into double coverage downfield, but barring that, he played very well and did what needed to be done for his team to win. Without a credible running game in the second half he carried the team on his back and two fumbles by teammates killed his oppty to get back to the big game. Tenn, the #1 seed is gone. I hope the Giants were taking notes on how important it is to execute and FINISH.