The Ravens have built quite the playoff resume over the years. Their playoff life started on December 31st, 2000 in a wild card game victory over the Broncos. I hosted quite a New Year’s Rockin’ Eve party that night! It continues this Sunday in New England. Baltimore sports a 12-7 record so far in 8 playoff appearances. So which ones stung the most and which ones sent us into the streets partying the hardest?
Now I will rank the losses from easiest to take to the hardest. We’ll take up a more pleasant task later, ranking the 12 victories!
7. Sunday Jan 20, 2002 at Pittsburgh. Divisional Round. Steelers 27, Ravens 10. The Ravens/Steelers rivalry hadn’t built up to the late 2000s version yet. And the Ravens were coming off a Super Bowl victory. With Jamal Lewis missing the season and Elvis Grbac calling the signals, the writing was on the wall that this playoff run would be short. Jermaine Lewis returned a punt for a score and that was about the only highlight. Silver lining: Pittsburgh was upset by New England the next week.
6. Saturday Jan 16, 2010 at Indianapolis. Divisional Round. Colts 20, Ravens 3. The second season of the Harbaugh/Flacco era and the Ravens finished 9-7. I think I stopped paying attention to this game early in the fourth quarter. Apparently, the Ravens shot their load the week before in a beat down of New England.
5. Sunday Jan 18, 2009 at Pittsburgh. AFC Championship. Steelers 23, Ravens 14. The rookie quarterback and coach had the Ravens 2 points down with five minutes remaining before a disastrous interception returned by Troy Polamalu ended Super Bowl hopes. But it was a great, unexpected run and the future was bright. The ’08 season was a tremendous success.
4. Saturday Jan 3, 2004 in Baltimore. Wild Card Round. Titans 20, Ravens 17. A 10-6 record was good enough for the Ravens to host a playoff game but the 12-4 Titans came to town looking for a bit of revenge. The Ravens tied the game at 17 in the fourth quarter when Anthony Wright hit Todd Heap for a 35-yard score. But Gary Anderson hit from 46 in the waning seconds to give the Ravens their first one-and-done appearance in the playoffs. There’s nothing quite like leaving the stadium knowing the season is over.
3. Saturday Jan 15, 2011 at Pittsburgh. Divisional Round. Steelers 31, Ravens 24. The Ravens led 21-7 at the half but trailed early in the 4th quarter. A Cundiff kick tied the score and the game seemed headed for OT when Pittsburgh converted a 3rd and 18 setting up the go-ahead score late in the fourth. The Ravens had only themselves to blame for losing this one. Their final efforts to tie the game again ended with dropped passes.
2. Sunday Jan 22, 2012 at New England. AFC Championship. Patriots 23, Ravens 20. The names of Lee Evans and Billy Cundiff will never be forgotten in Baltimore. Evans’ failure to secure a pass he had stripped away in the end zone and the resulting 32-yard shank by Cundiff left the franchise and its fan base stunned. Recalling this game still hurts. Smh.
1. Saturday Jan 13, 2007 in Baltimore. Divisional Round. Colts 15, Ravens 6. The Ravens lost at home despite not giving up a touchdown. The Colts, who left town 23 years prior, had come back to rub salt in an old wound. They also ended up winning the Super Bowl 3 weeks later. Todd Heap was stripped near the goal line costing the Ravens what could have been the game’s only touchdown. The following season saw the team sink to 5-11. It would be Billick’s and McNair’s last in Baltimore. A new era would begin. Bitterness permeated the airwaves in town for quite some time after a 13-3 regular season went up in flames on a 54 degree day at M&T Bank Stadium. That bitterness, and the 5-11 record on ’07, opened the door for John Harbaugh and Joe Flacco.
WOW! Now I’m depressed. We’ll get the 12 winners up here soon!