Following a 22-16 overtime loss Sunday to the Dolphins that prompted champagne toasts in South Florida, national headlines and commentary poking fun at the Ravens, Baltimore fans sporting paper bags over their heads at the game and a postgame locker room atmosphere that resembled a morgue, the Ravens face the difficult task of moving on.
"Were still trying to hold onto that pride," offensive guard Jason Brown said. "Nobody will understand what we are going through. Of course, you see how much it meant to them to get that win. After so many losses, it would mean that much to us."
Stuck in an unprecedented eight-game losing streak that represents the longest current skid in the NFL, Ravens coach Brian Billick declined to admit that a loss to Miami is more glaring than any of the nine other defeats.
Billick gave a genuine look of being puzzled when asked if the loss was harder to accept.
"Why would that be?" Billick said. "This is the National Football League, whatever their circumstances are. A loss is a loss. I don't care who it's against. I don't know that they feel any worse about this loss than they do about a loss to the New England Patriots or the San Diego Chargers or the Indianapolis Colts.
"A loss is a loss. A number of things could have happened in that game. I don't think that's something players carry forward with themselves, and that's probably a good thing."
True enough, but the Dolphins (1-13) hadn't won a game in 372 days dating back to a Dec. 10, 2006 win over the New England Patriots. Miami was just one loss away of clinching the top overall pick in the draft and tying the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' record for the worst start in league history.
"Yeah, it's bothersome and your pride is hurt, but tomorrow is the next story," Billick said. "The players are pretty good at moving onto the next one. It doesn't mean they don't care.
"Would there be any value in this team carrying that emotional baggage around and getting down on itself because of that. They played hard. To carry that around, I don't know what the upside would be."
The Ravens are facing the possibility of ending the season on a 10-game losing streaks with remaining games against two division leaders in the Seattle Seahawks (9-5) and the Pittsburgh Steelers (9-5).
Although the Ravens finished 4-12 during their inaugural season in 1996, this is a new standard for woefulness and ineptitude.
This injury-riddled roster is dotted with a dozen former Pro Bowl selections and began the season with lofty Super Bowl ambitions.
Now, the Ravens have become the team that lost to one of the worst teams in modern league history.
Several players said before the Miami game that they wanted to avoid becoming the team that granted the Dolphins their first victory.
For a team that has already had to endure the indignity of being blown out by the Steelers and the Indianapolis Colts on national television by a combined margin of 82-27, this is yet another humiliation to try to overcome.
"It just means you've got to go back to the drawing board," rookie outside linebacker Antwan Barnes said. "These last two weeks are going to test every man's heart and character."
Aaron Wilson covers the Baltimore Ravens for the Carroll County Times and the Annapolis Capital.
Ravens trying to hold onto pride
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