BALTIMORE After starting the season with a 2-0 record, the Baltimore Ravens were looking forward to a winnng year.
The team has been the darling of Baltimore after replacing the Colts who moved to Indianapolis. And, after winning two Super Bowl Championships, the Ravens have been the best show in town.
Loyal fans come out in full force to show support for their team at pep rallies before games and other events. Few cities have the same kind of bond the Ravens have with Baltimore. However, suddenly things have started changing.
Starting with Colin Kaepernick last year, players began to kneel during the playing of the National Anthem before games as a stand against social injustice towards people of color.
President Donald Trump called out the NFL for allowing players to kneel during the National Anthem. He encouraged fans to leave stadiums if they saw a player not standing when the National Anthem was played before games.
NFL teams responded by locking arms when the anthem was played in week 3. The Ravens were one of the teams that took it a step further when they got down on one knee in London, Engand.
Back home, Ravens fans were appalled by their team's pregame actions and to make things worse, the Ravens played one of their worst games in team history. Jacksonville handed them a 44-7 loss.
The team wasn't the same without two of their best players— left guard Marshal Yanda and defensive tackle Brandon Williams. Both players suffered injuries that have kept them out of the lineup.
More importantly, fans in Baltimore expressed their displeasure with the Ravens by burning team apparel and game tickets. The franchise canceled their pep rally before the week 4 game against their archrival the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The team hoped a game against the Steelers would restore interest from their fans but that was not the case.
Attendance was down at M&T Bank Stadium and the Steelers handed the Ravens a 26-9 loss, adding salt to an already gaping wound.
The common denominator in both losses was poor play by quarterback Joe Flacco. He passed for only 28 yards against the Jaguars and was benched in favor of backup quarterback Ryan Mallet after throwing his second interception in London.
Against Pittsburgh Flacco threw two more interceptions in front of the home crowd.
Head coach John Harbaugh is trying to stay focused on what has been happening on the field despite the tumultuous circumstances surrounding the team. He feels the direction the team goes is going to depend on Flacco.
“In the end, as far as what happens on the field, it comes back to the quarterback," Harbaugh said on Tuesday. “When it is good, he gets a lot of the credit, and when it is bad, he gets a lot of the blame. Everybody has to get better."