Remember during the 2017 season when the Pittsburgh Steelers were raked over the coals because head coach Mike Tomlin said of the New England Patriots that they would be a team they would see again? That was taken as him getting his team to look past his opponents, and was partly attributed to their early playoff exit.
Whenever the Steelers have any sort of misstep, those critical of the team—fans and non-fans alike—have a tendency to make it sound as though it’s the first time it’s ever happened, when in reality such things are commonplace. Even in the AFC North.
After the Baltimore Ravens lost to the Kansas City Chiefs yesterday—the only team in the past 10 regular season games to have beaten them, going 8-2 in that span—safety Early Thomas told reporters, “we’re going to see them again. And when we see them down the line, we’re going to have it”.
At least when Tomlin made his statement, it was obvious that the Steelers would be advancing to the postseason. The Ravens are three games into their season, and at least at the time of their defeat, they knew it was a possible outcome that they could be tied atop the standings with the Cleveland Browns at 2-1. Of course, the Browns lost their game, and are not 1-2, so Baltimore still owns a one-game lead early in the divisional race.
Though the scoreboard doesn’t fully indicate it, the Ravens were pretty well-trounced throughout most of the game by the Chiefs. They held a 23-6 lead by halftime and entered the fourth quarter up 30-13. They would eventually make it 30-22, and scored with 2:01 to play to bring it to the final score of 33-28, but so much of that was with Kansas City firmly on the brakes by that point.
The Ravens defeated the Miami Dolphins and the Oakland Raiders during the first two games of the season. Both of them were blown out yesterday, and hold a 1-5 combined record. Neither of them are good teams, or even come particularly close to approximating what a good team might ordinarily look like.
While they did lose to one of the very best teams in all of football, and certainly the most potent offense in the NFL right now, the Ravens appear to be slowly coming back down to Earth. Meanwhile, the Steelers, provided that they can get solid play from Mason Rudolph, are coming off the hardest part of their schedule, even with an 0-3 record.
The next two weeks will be very interesting, as they play the Cincinnati Bengals and then the Ravens. If they can come up with a couple of wins over that span, we’ll know that they remain very much in-play for the division. And if they are, Thomas’ assertion that his Ravens will see the Chiefs again this season will look all the worse. Of course, in his case, the remark will be forgotten, I’m sure.