OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Six days later and the loss still lingers.
“It’s been a tough week. It’s been a rough, emotional week,” said John Harbaugh.
So much promise after that record-setting regular season. All gone in one night.
“It hurts. It’s disappointing. It was a gut shot,” added Harbaugh.
The Ravens head coach held his season-review press conference on Friday at the team facility in Owings Mills. After talking with players and coaches over the past few days, he thinks this is just the start of something special.
“Going forward I’m excited about our team,” he said. “Look at what we’ve got. We also have a very good understanding of what it’s going to take to get better and to improve."
Soon-to-be-named NFL MVP Lamar Jackson is included in that group. He just finished up his first full season as starting quarterback. He went 19-3 over two years in the regular season, 0-2 in the playoffs.
How does that early postseason futility compare to some of the greats?
“He’s got a pretty good head start right now. He’s along the way. The Manning brothers (Peyton and Eli), they had five losses in their first five playoff games before they won one. [Joe] Montana, [Steve] Young and [Brett] Favre didn’t start a playoff game until their third season. [Drew] Brees and [Troy] Aikman until their fourth season and [Aaron] Rodgers until his fifth season. But I’m really confident in Lamar,” said Harbaugh.
What about Saturday’s brutal loss to Tennessee?
“The critical downs, they made the plays we didn’t,” he said. “We made the mistakes they didn’t. Those two things combined for the outcome that we had.”
And the run game?
“We were balanced [with pass attempts] at halftime, pretty much. We were balanced into the third quarter. But then get stopped, [they] hit the run. Now we’re down 21-6. The dynamic changes.”
And concludes with heartbreak.
Following the season-ender cornerback Marlon Humphrey said his team’s identity is to choke in the playoffs. Harbaugh doesn’t think his team will have to battle that reputation in the future.
“Frustration, disappointment. I felt it. We all felt it after the game,” he said. “I’m sure a lot of people said a lot of things after the game that they might want back.”
Regarding injuries Harbaugh said this is the best the team has been heading into an offseason during his tenure. They could make it through without any surgeries. As for his staff he expects everyone back to start the 2020 season.