Falling Short of the Final Four

Adrian+Kraus%2C+Associated+Press

Adrian Kraus, Associated Press

Mikaela T., Sports Writer and Editorialist

The Baltimore Ravens faced a devastating loss to the Buffalo Bills on the evening of January 16th, resulting in their elimination from the playoffs. This is only one of the numerous hits the team and their fans took over the devastating weekend, though they found themselves saying ‘thank you’ by the end of it. 

Following the 14-point loss, beloved NFL veteran, Mark Ingram was officially released by the team. Ingram was previously signed with the Saints, where he spent eight years of his decades-long career. Ingram is continuously complimented on his high energy and leadership skills. Jamison Hensley reported for ESPN News that Ingram’s replacement, second round 2020 draft, J.K. Dobbins spoke highly of him: “Mark is an unbelievable guy — a big brother to me. He helped me with the process, teaching me things to do to help me be mentally prepared, to stay locked in. He’s just an amazing guy.”  Ingram departed with his signature positive attitude, tweeting a bittersweet farewell to the city. “Thank you Mr. Biscotti [majority owner of the Baltimore Ravens] and the Ravens for being a first class organization. I love the real ones in flock nation that supported me and showed love! Best is still ahead, can’t wait!” His future in the league now remains uncertain.  

Staying on the roster, star player Lamar Jackson suffered from a concussion in the final play of the third quarter and was taken out for the remainder of the game. Jackson’s injury left fans on edge and worried for his health. The Raven’s usual backup quarterbacks also out on injuries, left undrafted rookie Tyler Huntley with the weight of the last quarter. Jackson was soon cleared to fly home, frustrated and disappointed in the team’s loss. His teammate, Willie Snead IV, told Hensley “He’s the ultimate competitor. He doesn’t like to lose.” 

This journalist is happy to report that the Ravens’ streak of bad news was soon interrupted by none other than their competitor’s generosity. A non-profit for children living with food insecurity, Blessings in a Backpack, received over $400,000 in donations following the January 16th game. Nikki Grizzle, the nonprofit’s chief marketing officer, reported the majority of the 16,000 individual donors were Bills fans. Lamar Jackson’s involvement with the Blessings in a Backpack charity is widely acknowledged due his ongoing public support, and the competing team’s fans donated to this worthy cause in response to the Raven’s defeat.

Though coming out of a drought of their own, this isn’t Buffalo’s first flood of donations. The team’s fan base has previously donated to charities affiliated with their competition after a big win. A Bill’s fan among the numerous donors told CBS reporter Christopher Brito, “Years and years of suffering, I think has kind of bred this appreciation and generosity within the fan base. Because we really know what it’s like to be on the other end of this. We’re not taking anything for granted. We just want to show our appreciation.” This simple demonstration of unity within competitive sports is a shining example for all of us in a time of great national division.