This is supposed to be the year.
After four consecutive trips to the postseason that saw the curtain fall in defeat at the hands of AFC opposition, 2012 is supposed to be the year the Baltimore Ravens get over the hump. It’s supposed to be the year the youthful offense sets the tone on Sundays, not the aging defense.
In essence, it’s supposed to be the year when quarterback Joe Flacco breaks through.
At 9-3 and on top of the AFC North standings through 13 weeks, the Ravens are right where they’re supposed to be on paper. A fifth-consecutive trip to the playoffs is imminent. Home field advantage throughout the postseason is still within the realm of possibility.
But one can’t help but feel an eerie sense of déjà vu in the wake of Baltimore’s 23-20 home loss to the Charlie Batch-led Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday. Falling victim to a divisional rival who happens to own the league’s top-ranked defense is no reason to push the panic button. But when your quarterback who was supposed to elevate his game to another level this season comes up empty on the big stage yet again, it’s cause for concern.