The revamped Baltimore Ravens started out the season 2-0, led by a high-octane offense that posted 1,083 yards of total offense in those games, but a blowout loss to the Browns Sept. 29 sent the Ravens (2-2) back to square one.
Sometimes when the going gets tough, things change around the locker room. Hockey has playoff beards. The Ravens have mustaches ... or at least the tight ends did.
"They're gone after Sunday [when] things didn't go as planned," tight end Hayden Hurst said on
Glenn Clark Radio
The short-lived mustache crew was started by Mark Andrews and Nick Boyle, and after some convincing, Hurst made the duo a trio, but the second-year, 6-foot-4, 245-pounder out of South Carolina isn't traditionally superstitious.
"Mark and Nick are actually the superstitious ones. I just kind of went along with it," Hurst said.
With the Ravens traveling to Pittsburgh to play the rival Steelers Oct. 6, the mustaches are now a thing of the past. As with any rivalry game, regardless of record or date, the stakes are raised, and that's again the case with these two teams.
Hurst didn't play in the first game between the two rivals last year, but he played in the second game, catching one pass for 21 yards in Baltimore last November.
"When they came to us, I was a big part of that game plan, so I got to play in the second half of the Steelers-Ravens rivalry," Hurst said. "I got a little taste of it, but it definitely does kick up a notch. You can tell. It means a little bit more, not that the other games in the NFL don't matter, but you can tell that rivalry game gets kicked up a notch for sure."
Pittsburgh is coming off its first win of the season, a 27-3 blowout of the Cincinnati Bengals on "Monday Night Football," while Baltimore is riding a two-game losing streak. Those two losses encouraged the Ravens step back to reexamine the team to make sure that everyone and everything is still clicking on all cylinders, according to Hurst.
"The first couple of weeks, everything was happening pretty easy, but it's never easy to win on Sundays in the NFL," Hurst said. "I think that if there's anything good that comes out of a loss, you take a step back and reevaluate yourself a little bit."
Based on what the Ravens have done so far this season, don't be surprised to see head coach John Harbaugh roll the dice on fourth down or make gutsy plays at the goal line. Through four games, the Ravens are 6-for-9 on fourth down and have scored a touchdown on 12 of 18 trips to the red zone.
Hurst is all for being aggressive on the field because it shows his coach has faith in him and his teammates to convert.
"I love that. I think that just goes with our whole offense. We have so many playmakers that Harbs and [Greg Roman] trust to go make plays on those important downs," Hurst said. "... It's really fun to be a part of this offense and when Coach makes those decisions, it just gives us more confidence to go make those plays."
A win could put the Ravens back in first place depending on what Cleveland does at San Francisco Oct. 7. But a loss would put the Steelers ahead of them in the AFC North, thanks to the early tiebreaker. The Ravens would also fall to 0-2 against AFC North opponents, so while it's Week 5, this is a very critical game in the season.
Right now, Hurst is feeling good about the direction this team is going in thanks to that hot 2-0 start.
"I don't think we're far off," Hurst said. "We set the standard pretty high at the beginning of the year, but we're not very far off from maintaining that throughout the rest of the season."
To hear more from Hurst, listen to the full interview here:
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