Sometimes it takes an “Oh no they didn’t” moment to get you going. Every now and then you need someone to doubt you to wake up? Occasionally, it takes someone challenging your respect to inspire you to go out there and take it.
There were 3:02 minutes remaining in the 1st quarter and the Ravens, who were leading the Panthers 7-0, were facing a 4th and 1 at their own 10. That’s when John Harbaugh and company made the call that changed the game for Carolina’s defensive unit. They decided to run a fake punt (which would’ve been successful if not for an illegal shift penalty), but first down or not, that was the moment that changed the tone of the game for the defense.
How much respect does a team have for your defense if they go for it on 4th down deep in their own territory? None. And rookie Donte Jackson said that was the message veteran Mike Adams sent on the sideline after the play was over.
“Mike (Adams) touched on that a lot. He felt like they were disrespecting him and Luke and TD. So those guys really got us fired up after that.”
Panthers’ safety Captain Munnerlyn called the attempt downright rude.
“That was kinda rude when it comes to football. And it was kinda like, “Wow, did they really do this?” It definitely ramped us up defensively. We needed some respect. So we tried to just go out there and makes plays to earn our respect.”
And earn it they did. The Ravens didn’t put another point on the board until 10 seconds remained in the 3rd quarter. Maybe opposing teams need to light a fire under the Panthers’ defense every Sunday by blatantly disrespecting them.