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Ravens' Bandwagon Taking On More Riders After Latest Win

If you were somehow on the fence about whether to completely embrace the Ravens, if the previous portion of the season wasn’t enough to get you a seat on the bandwagon, well, it’s going to be near impossible to keep you off now.

Your fandom is quite likely in full purple bloom now. You’ve advanced past speaking of the team as some vague curiosity to the point where you can now hit the holiday party circuit as a bonafide expert, tossing off Lamar Jackson’s quarterback rating like a guy in a TV booth.

All over Baltimore and the rest of the Patapsco River drainage area, hope has broken out in droves over the play of the Ravens this year.

Convincing wins over Seattle, New England and Houston may not have been enough for folks to get on board, but Sunday probably did the trick for whatever stragglers were still left.

The Ravens spotted San Francisco an opening touchdown, then braved brutal weather conditions and a stout 49ers defense to beat the visitors 20-17.

In the process, Baltimore claimed the unofficial status as the best team in football. They’ve now not only beaten aforementioned squads, but with the Patriots’ loss Sunday night to the Texans, they hold the inside track to the No.1 seed in the AFC and home games in the playoffs.

With four games to go, the toughest of which likely to be next Sunday’s game in Buffalo, the stars would seem to be aligned for the Ravens to do great things not just in December, but in January and February.  

But now comes the hard part: keeping all that unbridled enthusiasm in check.

If you’re a Baltimore sports fan, learning to keep your excitement in perspective is not a new thing. It’s actually quite necessary.

Live around here long enough and you learn to get set up for the next heartbreak.

There was 1969, when three Baltimore teams, the Colts, the Orioles and the Bullets of the NBA dropped the Super Bowl, the World Series and the Eastern Division playoffs to New York squads, two of which were clearly inferior.

Before the Colts bolted, they dropped some memorable playoff games, one of which when a plane crashed into old Memorial Stadium. And the Orioles lost two World Series to the Pittsburgh Pirates, both in seven games, both here in town.

More recently, in 2006, the Ravens won 13 regular season games – which is still a franchise record. They finished the campaign with wins over Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Buffalo – similar to what might happen this year.

They went into the postseason with a decided head of steam. And their first playoff opponent, the Colts, provided the local fandom a chance to air out their feelings towards the team that had abandoned the city 22 years before.

The Ravens’ stellar defense held the Colts without a touchdown. Unfortunately, the offense failed to cross the goal line too, in a dreary 15-6 loss.

But this year looks different. Jackson and these Ravens appear to have whatever intangible that could keep that bandwagon full and happy through midwinter and beyond.

And that’s how I see it for this week. You can reach us via email with your questions and comments at Sports at Large at gmail.com. And follow me on Twitter at Sports at Large.

Until next week, for all of us here, I’m Milton Kent. Thanks for listening and enjoy the games.

Milton Kent hosted the weekly commentary Sports at Large from its creation in 2002 to its finale in July 2013. He has written about sports locally and nationally since 1988, covering the Baltimore Orioles, University of Maryland men's basketball, women's basketball and football, the Washington Wizards, the NBA, men's and women's college basketball and sports media for the Baltimore Sun and AOL Fanhouse. He has covered the World Series, the American and National League Championship Series, the NFL playoffs, the NBA Finals and 17 NCAA men's and women's Final Fours. He currently teaches journalism at Morgan State University.