In their season opener, the Baltimore Ravens drubbed the division rival Pittsburgh Steelers 35-7, only to lose to the Titans in Tennessee 26-13 the following week.
Sunday night, the Ravens rallied for an emotional 23-20 victory over the Steelers in Pittsburgh – on Joe Flacco’s 26-yard touchdown pass to rookie Torrey Smith with eight seconds left. Now, they’re looking at a short week and a cross-country trip to face the Seahawks at CenturyLink Field on Sunday.
How do the 6-2 Ravens sidestep a déjà vu Steeler-lag letdown against the 2-6 Seahawks – who were shutout 24-0 by the Steelers in Week 2?
We talked to coach John Harbaugh and Flacco in conference calls this morning and each addressed that issue.
Harbaugh: “The biggest issue probably is the emotional win over the Steelers. It’s just such a big rivalry out here for us and you guys know the history of it, it’s such a physical game and all that. That is something that’s hard to work with. I think the best way you do it is you come back and you go to work. Our guys were in Monday, they were in Tuesday, they’ve already started studying Seattle. They came in (today) with a very good understanding of the Seahawks on all three phases before the meeting started. And to me, that’s the No. 1 indicator as a coach that they’re dialing in. And then it’s really easy to get ready for a team like Seattle because they’re very talented. They’ve lost a lot of close games; their record is not in any way indicative of the type of football team they are. And we’ve had this experience already, so we know that those records don’t mean anything. We’ve already lost to two teams that had subpar records (also 12-7 at Jacksonville in Week 5). And you look at the stars and the players that they have on their team, our guys know all about those guys. So I’ll be very disappointed if we don’t have full attention this week.”
Flacco: “You know what, people are going to be talking about the Pittsburgh win probably all week, and trying to get our focus away from really the test at hand – which is going to your guy’s place and beating Seattle. I know you guys don’t have a lot of wins, but they’ve got some talented guys over there. It’s going to be a hard-fought game, so we’ve got our mindset ready to go for this upcoming Sunday because we’re going to be in for a good fight.”