Fans' bar exam has 1 question: Why?

The day after, there was plenty of blame to go around: the way-way-too-conservative offense, Steve McNair throwing those costly interceptions, and officials who just wouldn't give the Ravens a good call.

That was the view from the bar yesterday as hometown fans held a wake of sorts, and watched other teams' games that had a little less meaning for most of them.


To disappointed Ravens fans, the record 13-victory regular season and the top-ranked defense that propelled the team to the playoffs seemed all but forgotten.

Like most of the dozen patrons at the downtown Gino's Bar & Grill, Ravens fan Howard Fossett, 39, was still fuming over the team's Saturday defeat by the despised Indianapolis Colts.


"Ain't none of them from Baltimore," Fossett declared of the Ravens' roster. "They should have put some passion in it and beat the Colts."

Nearby, Artis Holt, 37, called for a return to a bygone era.

"They need Orlando Brown and Alan Ricard," Holt said, referring to former Ravens.

And another fan went into an expletive-laced tirade, finally declaring, "The better team lost!"

It was a somber day in town, as Ravens fans watched the New England Patriots win a squeaker over the San Diego Chargers - a bittersweet outcome that would have brought the Patriots to M&T; Bank Stadium on Sunday had the Ravens won Saturday.

Instead, Ravens fans were forced to contend with being so close, yet falling short. And falling short to the Colts is about as bad as it gets, they said.

"For them to come here and beat us in our own stadium, it [ticks] you off," said Brian Hammen, 40, of Carney, who said he attended the last postseason Colts game at Memorial Stadium in 1977, when the team with the horseshoe-logo helmets had Baltimore in front of its name.

His nephew Randy McAllister, 28, and friend Chris Stinebert, 27, joined Hammen, sharing a pitcher of beer at Pickles Pub.


"We were depressed, so we wanted to get out a little bit and get rowdy," McAllister said.

Ben Peace, a bartender working near the stadium at Pickles yesterday, recalled the crowd there on Saturday that drank up much of its beer and had its eyes "glued to the TVs." The pub, he said, was "very, very busy," adding, "We almost broke our record for single-day sales."

Had the Ravens won, he would have been thrilled with the Patriots' victory, bringing another crowd of thirsty revelers to Pickles. Now, he said, "it's irrelevant."

"This season with the Ravens has been about finding ways to win, but they just couldn't find a way to win," Peace said.

Friends Andre Harrison, 25, and Brandon Carver, 24, both of Baltimore, downed glasses of beer at Pickles and cheered for the Chargers.

"I just didn't feel like sitting at home being depressed about the Ravens," Carver said.


John Bollinger, a regular at Gino's, was there recovering from the loss, too. After Saturday's game, he said, he drove around Ocean Pines where he lives to get his mind off the defeat.

"You really want to see a depressed group of people?" Bollinger asked. "When football ends, people will say, 'You mean there's no game this Sunday?'"

For Tyrone Davis, 47, watching Colts fans chant for their team in a downtown hotel lobby during Saturday's game has revved him up for next year.

"Seven months later, we start all over again," he said.