The Baltimore Ravens lost to the Indianapolis Colts 3-20. Making last week's pounding of New England look like a distant memory, the old demons of penalties and turnovers vexed the Ravens as Peyton Manning's mastery intensified as the game progressed. Look at Ed Reed's highlights to see the team's fate. He had one interception called back for a penalty. He fumbled the other. Both had the potential to be game breakers. Add to the fumbles and penalties, a few too many dropped passes, the Ravens never put up a successful attack.
The Ravens Defense did okay, good enough to lose. Reality says a team should plan on scoring more than 20 points to beat the Colts.
For a season that got the Ravens to the second round of the playoffs, their effort provided more than its share of frustration after winning their first three games, which they promptly negated losing their next three, only once in the remaining of the season would they win two straight during the regular season facing the Detroit Lions and the Chicago Bears. They appeared to blow a lock on the playoffs in their horrible game in Pittsburgh in week 16 but slid into the playoffs with a sharp win in Oakland.
Looking at this year's experience and the 2008 season, the Ravens are a good team, good enough to make the playoffs. They still have work to do to become a championship team. They'll need help with their receiving corp and defensive secondary to do so.
The frustration of this season won't heal easily, but as fans turn their attention to next year, the Ravens can stand proud that they were among an elite few who made it to the playoffs for two years in a row, and if they make some important adjustments to their roster, they should make it three in a row next year.