That was a decidedly ugly game, but from a schadenfreude standpoint, it was a masterstroke in the hatestroking arts. If you only watched the actual game, from kickoff to final whistle, it was probably really, truly agonizing. MJD fumbled three times. At the midpoint of the third quarter, Joe Flacco was 6/16 for eight yards. EIGHT YARDS! Jack Del Rio made the worst challenge ever when he threw the flag on a Flacco pass out of the end zone during which Flacco’s plant foot was near the back line of the end zone, but he very obviously didn’t touch it. Like, not even close. And the game was at home, so Del Rio had ample available replays to show him that the foot was nowhere close. AND HE STILL CHALLENGED IT, LIKE A DEFIANT GUNSHOT AT A CLOUD HOPING TO STRIKE GOD! Worst. Challenge. Ever. I know that sounds like knee-jerk typical blog bullsh*t hyperbole, but I sat in the dark with that statement for five minutes and I know it to be true. I know we mock Andy Reid and Lovie Smith for that sort of thing, but Del Rio just changed the game, son.

That said, if you happened to watch the hour leading up to kickoff, when the ESPN team made the Ravens out to be the bastard stab child of the ’85 Bears and the ’99 Rams, this was a wondrous, possibly life-affirming thing. “JOE FLACCO IS AN ELITE PASSER! I CAN LIVE WITH A VERSION OF MYSELF WHO SAYS THESE THINGS ON AIR TO MILLIONS OF PEOPLE AND PASSES THEM OFF AS MY EARNEST OPINION! YEAH, IT SUCKS TO FEEL THIS WAY BUT YOU SHOULD SEE HOW THE BRISTOL INTERNS THROW THEMSELVES AT ME!”

Joe Flacco completed a pass to himself. Remember when Brad Johnson threw a TD pass to himself with the Vikings in ’97? This was not like that.

Who knows? Maybe the Ravens will blame the refs. Their official Twitter feed is already on it.