The weather is usually good, but not the football when the Ravens travel to Jacksonville. The Ravens are an ugly 2-6 all-time in Jacksonville. They’ll try to change that on Sunday with a chance to go 3-0 and drop the Jaguars to 0-3.
This Jaguars “thing” got off to a horrible start when NFL football returned to Baltimore in 1996.
Jacksonville won the first 8 games in the series. Quarterback Mark Brunell, wide receivers Jimmy Smith and Keenan McCardell and RB Fred Taylor were slicing and dicing the Ravens back in those days with head coach Tom Coughlin behind the wheel.
The Jaguars entered the NFL as an expansion franchise in 1995 and if you count their two wins over the Browns (soon to be Ravens) that year, Jacksonville won 10 straight! If this was a fight the referee would have stopped it. The Jags dominance ended in 2000 when the Ravens scored one of their most exciting wins in franchise history.
Sunday, September 10, 2000 will go down in Ravens history. This was the day the Ravens; who had never had a winning record, started playing like champions. The week 2 home opener looked like another Jacksonville butt-kicking; the Ravens were down 17-0 after the first quarter and 23-7 at the half.
Ravens QB Tony Banks started the second half with a 23 yard TD pass to Travis Taylor and Banks was just getting started. In perhaps the wildest game in Ravens history Banks threw four second half touchdowns (5 in all) to end the Jacksonville jinx and jump-start Baltimore on a path that would end in Tampa with the Super Bowl XXXV Lombardi trophy.
Jacksonville took the lead when Brunell hit Jimmy Smith with a 40-yard score with 1:45 left in the game. Smith couldn’t be stopped by a Ravens defense that’s considered one of the NFL’s all-time best. Jimmy Smith caught 15 passes for 295 yards and 3 TD’s but he didn’t catch the game’s biggest pass.
That honor belonged to Ravens tight end Shannon Sharpe. The Ravens made a big free agent splash prior to the season and brought in the 2-time Super Bowl champion from Denver. In his first game in Baltimore with his team down 4 points in the final minute Sharpe split the seam in the Jags defense grabbed the Banks throw and scored a 29-yard game winning touchdown with 41 seconds left.
The place went crazy the Ravens had a 39-36 win and Jacksonville no longer owned Baltimore in fact it was the first of the Ravens 6 straight wins over the Jaguars.