Ravens' 'era of invincibility is over' to Ryan Clark originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
Lamar Jackson and the Ravens exploded onto the scene in 2019 with a 14-2 record and a unanimous MVP win, and despite getting knocked out of the playoffs in disappointing fashion, it was clear the Ravens were set up to contend for Super Bowls for years to come.
That may still be the case for the 2020 iteration of this team, that's 6-3 and coming off their worst loss of the year in a rainy affair against the Patriots. But some have already written off Ravens as a true title contender.
One of them is former Steelers and Washington safety Ryan Clark, who compared the Ravens' fall this season to when Mike Tyson lost his first fight.
"The era of invincibility is gone," Clark said on ESPN's Get Up Monday. "We watched this team dominate from about Week 3 on last year and it seems like [opposing] teams lost even before they got to the field.
"It feels like when Buster Douglas took down Mike Tyson and the world realized [Tyson] was human," he said. "When you see this game, when you see these teams play against the Baltimore Ravens now you feel like you can take them into the deep rounds and make this Baltimore passing game have to beat you. Make them have to come up with stops, not just turnovers."
It's hard to sustain dominance in the NFL. Not every franchise can replicate what the Patriots accomplished for the better part of 20 years or what the 49ers did before them. Teams adjust to your strengths, they build themselves to beat you. Eventually, you're forced to reinvent yourself in a way to maintain an edge.
This isn't new for the best teams in the NFL, but it is for this group of Ravens players led by Jackson. If the fear factor has faded away across the league, Baltimore will have a much more difficult path to the Super Bowl.
"I believe there's more confidence walking into the stadium against the Baltimore Ravens that, 'If we can make them play, if we make them continue to execute for four quarters we can beat this team,'" he said. "And now that we're seeing that, we're gonna see it week in and week out. Them having to fight to beat good football teams."
The Ravens' schedule doesn't lighten up either. They'll play host to the Titans in a divisional-round rematch and then hit the road to play the Steelers on Thanksgiving night.