Saturday’s AFC divisional playoff game between the Baltimore Ravens and the New England Patriots was an exciting battle that kept you glued to the drama-filled action. The outcome, unfortunately, left Ravens fans everywhere feeling as though they were punched in the gut.
Days later, I’m sure a lot of you still can’t believe that Baltimore lost 35-31 to a Patriots team that they had on the ropes multiple times. A deflating defeat, to say the least. A loss that will talked about for years to come.
As painful as this past Saturday’s contest was, it is still not the most devastating playoff ouster in Ravens history.
In my opinion, there are three defeats in franchise history that “stand out” more than any other. Oh yes, the latest calamity does make the list.
1) AFC Championship Game: Ravens @ Patriots – January 22, 2012
The Ravens led this game 20-16 heading into the fourth quarter at Gillette Stadium. The Baltimore defense picked off N.E. QB Tom Brady twice and held him to without a TD pass. Brady did, however, rush for a TD that put the Pats ahead 23-20 in the final quarter. It looked like Ravens QB Joe Flacco threw the game-winning TD pass to Lee Evans in the final minute but N.E. DB Sterling Moore stripped the ball free before Evans could complete the reception. Two plays later, Billy Cundiff missed a 32-yard FG and the season was over. This team was seconds away from going to the Super Bowl. To me, the most painful loss.
2) AFC Divisional Playoffs: Ravens @ Patriots – January 10, 2015
Baltimore twice blew 14-point leads in this game in Foxboro. Flacco threw four TD passes and Justin Forsett rushed for 129 yards. Unfortunately, the defense couldn’t maintain and Brady led the Patriots to the 35-31 victory. With all of the drama surrounding this team during the 2014 calendar year, getting to the AFC Title game again would have been quite the accomplishment. It was not to be.
3) AFC Divisional Playoffs: Ravens @ Steelers – January 18, 2011
Another one that got away. The Ravens led this game 21-7 at halftime but two turnovers helped the Steelers tie it up at Heinz Field. Lardarius Webb had a punt return TD wiped out by a holding penalty in the fourth quarter and Anquan Boldin couldn’t handle a possible TD pass from Flacco. Pittsburgh QB Ben Roethlisberger hit rookie WR Antonio Brown with a critical 58-yard completion on third-and-19 to set up the winning touchdown. T.J. Houshmandzadeh dropped a fourth-down pass in Pittsburgh territory as the Ravens’ season ended, 31-24.
You notice the common theme in all of these games is that they are played away from M & T Bank Stadium. Hopefully, 2015 will provide us with more epic games to add the positive list of Baltimore Ravens football achievements.