During their postgame press conferences following the AFC Championship, the Baltimore Ravens were asked questions such as, "What went wrong?" and "What did the Chiefs' defense do to slow you down?" These questions were answered respectfully, and no fingers were pointed towards each other. The Ravens gave credit to the Kansas City Chiefs and accepted responsibility for the costly penalties and turnovers that kept the team from advancing to Super Bowl 58 in Las Vegas.
Head coach John Harbaugh, quarterback Lamar Jackson, and linebacker Roquan Smith were asked about the message to each other moving forward after the crushing loss following a great season where they went 13-4, won the highly competitive AFC North, earned the NFL playoff number one seed, and hosted the first AFC Championship game in franchise history. The message was simple: "Heads up. Chest out"
"Heads up. Chest out"
The Ravens will have all offseason to dissect what went wrong in the AFC Championship game against the Chiefs, but Harbaugh was very clear on how proud the Ravens should be heading into the offseason. In his postgame interview, Harbaugh talked about how proud he was of his team. He also named Jadeveon Clowney and Kyle Van Noy, who were players who joined the team and were big contributors in making the Ravens defense the force it was this year, ending the regular season as the number-one scoring defense in the NFL.
Harbaugh's message to the team after the loss was simple, "Heads up, chest out." The Ravens have nothing to be ashamed of. They were a dominant team throughout the 2023 season and looked strong in the Divisional Round of the playoffs against the Houston Texans. Quarterback Lamar Jackson will probably win his second league MVP this year. After his contract extension in the offseason, Jackson has shown he is the long-term answer for the Baltimore Ravens.
The AFC Championship was a clash of two AFC titans, but costly penalties and turnovers cost the Ravens a Super Bowl appearance.
"We are not frustrated, we are angry."
Jackson was asked about the offensive performance of the Ravens, and more importantly, what went wrong with this offense which averaged 28.4 points per game, and only managed to score 10 against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Jackson credited the Chief's defense on pass plays. If K.C. could not get the pressure needed, they would get their hands up and narrow the passing lanes, making the passing game difficult for Jackson. Jackson also said the Ravens could move the ball against the Chiefs' defense well, but costly penalties and turnovers were the downfall of the Ravens in the end.
Jackson was asked if the team was frustrated about the loss after getting this close to a Super Bowl, but he denied frustration and explained, "We are not frustrated. We are angry." The Ravens team should be angry, They should be. They looked like the number one seed designation going into the AFC Championship Game, but the Chiefs came into the game, embraced their underdog status, and beat the Ravens in their own house to go to their second straight Super Bowl.
Ravens fans, keep your heads up and chests out. Be proud of the season you had, and look forward to a bright future. Chiefs Kingdom looks forward to another battle soon.