4. Ravens’ reign comes to end – Jan. 20, 2002
After the Ravens had won in Pittsburgh and the Steelers had won the rematch in Baltimore on a Sunday night later in the season, the rivals met in a divisional-round game at Heinz Field (Sounds like a familiar scenario, doesn’t it?).
The venom spewed from both sides that year was unlike any other time in the 15-year span of the rivalry with characters such as Shannon Sharpe and Ray Lewis trading barbs with Lee Flowers and Plaxico Burress all season. However, Pittsburgh would have the last laugh in a dominating 27-10 win to knock the Ravens from their Super Bowl perch.
After Pittsburgh had jumped out to a 20-0 lead, Jermaine Lewis’ 88-yard punt return touchdown in the third quarter gave Ravens fans a last gasp of life, cutting the deficit to 20-10, but Elvis Grbac’s three interceptions and a nonexistent running game were no match for Pittsburgh’s defense.
Perhaps more disappointing than the loss was the reality of knowing so many players from the Super Bowl season were walking off the field for the last time as Ravens that afternoon, as it was well known that general manager Ozzie Newsome would have to purge the roster for salary cap reasons.