The Ravens were simply outplayed by the Patriots on Sunday, but head coach John Harbaugh seems to think there were other factors at play in Baltimore’s blowout loss.
Harbaugh was not happy with his team’s performance in the 41-7 loss, which marks the worst loss in Ravens franchise history, but poor timing may have alsoÂ played a role, at least according to Harbaugh.
The Ravens had just six days to prepare for their AFC Championship Game rematch with the Patriots, after playing a hard-fought game in Detroit on Monday Night Football earlier in the week. The dramatic win against the Lions helped boost Baltimore’s playoff hopes, but playing on Monday night put the Ravens behind the curve in preparing for their AFC foe. Harbaugh mentioned the short week during his Monday press conference, even hinting that it might have been a big factor in the rout.
âIt did, we felt it,â Harbaugh said, via theÂ Baltimore Sun. âWeÂ fought through it all weekÂ as best we could. Our guys were excited to play, and I thought the effort was there. They fought like crazy, but we just didnât have enough juice to pull it off. Itâs a legitimate factor. Everybody has scheduling issues that theyâve got to deal with in the NFL, and that was one of ours.â
As Harbaugh acknowledged, every team has to deal with short weeks at some point in the season, as all 32 teams are forced to play at least one Thursday game each season and most appear on Monday Night FootballÂ in a given year. So, while Harbaugh is likely correct in saying that the short week affected his team, putting any amount of blame for the loss on the timing of the game is just a cop-out, because every team has to deal with at some point — and even more so for the reigning Super Bowl champions.