By Mike Miller
The Baltimore Sun
10:21 AM EDT, October 21, 2010
Week 1: Ravens 16, Steelers 0
Pittsburgh – Three Rivers Stadium
The Ravens opened the 2000 season with a dominant defensive performance in a victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Ravens stifled a Steelers offense that failed to record a first down until the second quarter and couldn't cross the 50-yard line until the third. Led by defensive tackle Sam Adams and defensive end Rob Burnett, the Ravens held running back Jerome Bettis to 8 yards on nine carries.
Burnett pushed the Ravens to their first points of the game when he sacked Kent Graham in the first quarter, forcing a fumble that gave the visitors the ball in the redzone. Matt Stover kicked his first of three field goals four plays later. Quarterback Tony Banks then connected on a 53-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Qadry Ismail. Banks completed 18 of 32 passes for 199 yards, and running back Priest Holmes gained 119 yards on 27 carries.
"Everything we do got started here," defensive coordinator Marvin Lewis said.
Player of the Game: WR Qadry Ismail – seven receptions for 102 yards and a touchdown
Week 2: Ravens 39, Jaguars 36
Ravens tight end Shannon Sharpe caught a touchdown pass in the final minute that sent the Ravens to their first win over the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The victory gave the Ravens sole possession of first place in the AFC Central two weeks into the season.
Sharpe's 29-yard touchdown reception completed a 75-yard scoring drive during a rugged comeback in which the Ravens erased a 17-point first-half deficit, took a 32-26 lead in the fourth quarter and fell behind in the final two minutes.
Quarterback Tony Banks threw a career-high five touchdown passes, completing 23 of 40 attempts for 262 yards.
"It's like we won the Super Bowl," Banks said.
Wide receiver Travis Taylor had two touchdown receptions, while wide receiver Jermaine Lewis and fullback Obafemi Ayanbadejo each had one.
The Ravens' defense yielded 386 passing yards to Jaguars quarterback Mark Brunell, but defensive backs Corey Harris and Kim Herring each had an interception.
Player of the Game: QB Tony Banks – 23-for-40 for 262 yards and five touchdowns
Week 3: Dolphins 19, Ravens 6
Miami – Pro Player Stadium
The Miami Dolphins' defense punished a porous Ravens offensive line in a rain-soaked, nationally televised victory.
The Dolphins sacked Tony Banks six times, including four in the first half, as Banks fumbled twice and was consistently hurried in the pocket. He managed to complete 19 of 31passes for 189 yards and one interception.
Miami's defense stuffed Jamal Lewis, and despite runs of 45, 17 and 10 yards, the rookie running back could not charge the Ravens into the end zone.
The Ravens spotted the Dolphins a 13-point lead before kicker Matt Stover booted a 27-yard field goal in the third quarter.
Stover added a 33-yard field goal in the fourth.
"They threw some different stuff at us, but this is the NFL," left guard Edwin Mulitalo said. "If you can't handle those kinds of things, you don't need to be here. When it came down to it, they got their job done, they got their game plan done, and we didn't."
Player of the Game: RB Jamal Lewis – 76 yards on nine carries and 22 yards on two receptions
Week 4: Ravens 37, Bengals 0
The Ravens posted their second shutout of the season, and running backs Jamal Lewis and Priest Holmes combined for 167 rushing yards in a dominant performance against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Lewis scored his first NFL touchdown on an 11-yard rush in the second quarter and amassed 116 yards on 25 carries. The Ravens' defense set single-game team records for fewest rushing yards (4), passing yards (90), total yards (94) and first downs (seven) allowed. Defensive end Rob Burnett recorded 2.5 sacks, while defensive backs Duane Starks and Rod Woodson each had an interception.
"Team is what's going to win ballgames," tight end Shannon Sharpe said. "People keep saying we've got great defense. Well, Tampa has proved you can't win Super Bowls, can't win championships, by playing great defense and not having an offense."
Quarterback Tony Banks completed 20 of 36 passes for 196 yards and two touchdowns. Matt Stover added field goals from 19, 30 and 37 yards.
Player of the Game: RB Jamal Lewis – first NFL touchdown and 100-yard rushing performance
Week 5: Ravens 12, Browns 0
Cleveland – Cleveland Browns Stadium
The Ravens became the first NFL team in 15 years to post back-to-back shutouts, stuffing the Cleveland Browns. The victory was the Ravens' seventh straight against AFC Central opponents and second road shutout of the season.
Cornerback Robert Bailey set the tone in the second quarter by forcing Browns fullback Marc Edwards to fumble on consecutive plays inside the 10-yard line -- the second of which safety Rod Woodson recovered in the end zone for a touchback. Linebacker Ray Lewis, cornerback Duane Starks and Woodson each made an interception.
"Every NFL team has a $62 million salary cap," defensive end Rob Burnett said. "We're shutting them out, the best of the best, every week. We play the best available athletes money can buy. To be able to get a shutout in this league is phenomenal."
While the defense excelled, the offense faltered. Quarterback Tony Banks completed only 18 of 34 passes for 169 yards and one interception. Neither Jamal Lewis nor Priest Holmes could find the end zone despite combining for 168 rushing yards. Instead, the Ravens settled for four field goals by Matt Stover, including two from beyond 40 yards.
Player of the Game: MLB Ray Lewis – interception
Week 6: Ravens 15, Jaguars 10
Jacksonville, Fla. – Alltel Stadium
Another stifling defensive performance coupled with a career day for kicker Matt Stover helped the Ravens march to their first victory in Jacksonville.
Touchdowns were again at a premium, and the Jaguars scored the only one of the game, but it wasn't enough to overcome five field goals by Stover. The kicker matched his career high in field goals, and the Ravens' defense set a franchise mark with six take-aways, including fumble recoveries by linebacker Ray Lewis, cornerback Robert Bailey and defensive end Michael McCrary. Safeties Rod Woodson and Kim Herring and cornerback Chris McAlister each picked off Jaguars quarterback Mark Brunell.
"There's something special about this defensive group," coach Brian Billick said. "There's something special about this team. Yes, I would like to have done a few more things [offensively] to contribute. [But] if our job is to do just that, then that's what it's going to be."
The Ravens were without Pro Bowl tackle Jonathan Ogden ( sprained ankle), and center Jeff Mitchell was forced to leave with a high ankle sprain in the first quarter. After losing two of their best offensive linemen, the Ravens' stout rushing attack suffered. Running back Jamal Lewis was held to 44 yards on 17 carries, and Priest Holmes touched the ball twice for minus-6 yards.
Player of the Game: K Matt Stover – five field goals
Week 7: Redskins 10, Ravens 3
Landover – FedEx Field
A suddenly stagnant Ravens offense failed to score a touchdown for the third consecutive week in a loss to the Washington Redskins.
After yielding a 33-yard touchdown run to Redskins running back Stephen Davis early in the fourth quarter, the Ravens relinquished their hold on first place in the AFC Central and had scored only one touchdown through their first five road games. Quarterback Tony Banks faced first-and-goal from the 1-yard line with 10 seconds remaining in the first half but threw an interception to Redskins linebacker Kevin Mitchell that halted the Ravens' best scoring opportunity of the game.
"This here is ridiculous," tight end Shannon Sharpe said. "I'm very disappointed. I just told Tony: 'You're going to get all the blame, and you have to understand that. But you can't get down on yourself.'"
Banks went 16-for-27 passing for 135yards, and running back Jamal Lewis gained just 34 yards on 16 carries. Matt Stover again provided the Ravens' only offense of the game with a 51-yard field goal in the second quarter.
Player of the Game: OLB Jamie Sharper – forced fumble
Week 8: Titans 14, Ravens 6
Quarterback Tony Banks threw three interceptions, and the Ravens' touchdown drought reached four games.
Tennessee Titans linebacker Randall Godfrey intercepted Banks twice, including one returned 24 yards for a touchdown. After throwing his third interception in four third-quarter possessions, Banks was pulled in favor of backup Trent Dilfer. The Ravens nearly scored on Dilfer's 33-yard pass to wide receiver Qadry Ismail on fourth down after failing to record a touchdown in the previous 17quarters with Banks. But the pass was ruled incomplete when an official review determined that Ismail failed to keep both feet inbounds.
"It's like a hex on us at the goal line now," right tackle Harry Swayne said. "It's like spirits come down to spook on us. They say, 'Not today.'"
Matt Stover connected on field goals of 21 and 38 yards to give the Ravens an early 6-0 lead. Stover had accounted for each of the Ravens' past 40 points. Banks threw for 229 yards, 104 of which went to tight end Shannon Sharpe.
Player of the Game: TE Shannon Sharpe – eight receptions for 104 yards
Week 9: Steelers 9, Ravens 6
The touchdown drought reached five games in a loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Ravens' third consecutive defeat.
The Ravens finished October without scoring a touchdown, accumulating only 42 points in five games. Matt Stover, who was responsible for every point during that span, connected on field goals of 51 and 49 yards in the second quarter against the Steelers. Quarterback Trent Dilfer made his first start in 11 months, completing 12 of 25 passes for 152 yards, but his two turnovers -- a fumble on the Steelers' 9-yard line and a third-quarter interception -- cost the Ravens valuable scoring opportunities.
"The perspective here has to change," coach Brian Billick said. "There are no easy answers for this. We're in a dead dogfight now to reach our main objective, which is to reach the playoffs."
The Ravens had not scored a touchdown since Obafemi Ayanbadejo went in from the 1-yard line in the fourth quarter of a Week 4 blowout victory over the Cincinnati Bengals.
Player of the Game: RB Jamal Lewis – 93 yards on 19 carries, 53 yards on three catches
Week 10: Ravens 27, Bengals 7
Cincinnati – Paul Brown Stadium
Quarterback Trent Dilfer's 14-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Brandon Stokley ended the Ravens' touchdown drought in a victory over the Cincinnati Bengals.
The Ravens went 21 quarters, 60 possessions, and 322 minutes, 32 seconds between Obafemi Ayanbadejo's 1-yard touchdown run Sept. 24 and Stokley's touchdown reception Nov. 5, marking the NFL's longest touchdown drought since the 1974 Chicago Bears went 22 quarters without one.
"It was kind of funny," Dilfer said, "because it was like we just won the Super Bowl. I had to sit back and say all we did was score a touchdown. I've scored a lot of touchdowns before."
Dilfer completed 23 of 34 passes for 244yards and three touchdowns, including two scoring receptions by tight end Shannon Sharpe. Running back Jamal Lewis rushed for 109 yards on 22 carries, while the Ravens' defense stuffed Bengals running back Corey Dillon, holding him to 23 yards on 16 carries.
Player of the Game: QB Trent Dilfer – 23-for-34 passing for 244 yards and three touchdowns
Week 11: Ravens 24, Titans 23
Nashville, Tenn. – Adelphia Coliseum
Quarterback Trent Dilfer orchestrated a nine-play, 70-yard touchdown drive in the final two minutes that sent the Tennessee Titans to their first Adelphia Coliseum loss.
Dilfer's 2-yard throw to wide receiver Patrick Johnson with 25 seconds remaining and Matt Stover's subsequent extra point completed an improbable drive in a hostile environment.
Dilfer connected on 23 of 36 passes for 281 yards and two touchdowns, including a 46-yard touchdown throw to wide receiver Qadry Ismail in the first quarter.
The Titans made a final drive, aided by a 20-yard scramble by quarterback Steve McNair that set up a 43-yard field-goal attempt for Al Del Greco, who missed wide right to end the game.
"I wouldn't be surprised if we have to come back here for the playoffs," right tackle Harry Swayne said. "If that's the case, it'd be like, 'We've been here; let's do it again.'"
The victory put the Ravens in an enviable position with four of the team's final five games to be played at home.
Player of the Game: TE Shannon Sharpe – eight receptions for 92 yards, including a 36-yard reception on the final drive
Week 12: Ravens 27, Cowboys 0
The Ravens rolled to their fourth shutout of the season with a drubbing of the Dallas Cowboys.
Dallas never moved closer to the goal line than the Ravens' 28. The Ravens outgained the Cowboys 479-192 in total yards, and running back Jamal Lewis eclipsed the 100-yard plateau with four minutes remaining in the first half. The Ravens' 250 rushing yards set a franchise record, and the defense allowed Dallas to cross midfield only three times.
The defense forced Dallas quarterback Troy Aikman to throw three interceptions; safety Rod Woodson recorded his 58th career interception in the second quarter, and safety Corey Harris and linebacker Ray Lewis also had picks.
Jamal Lewis finished with the second-best rushing effort in Ravens history with 187 yards on 28 carries. Quarterback Trent Dilfer threw two touchdown passes -- a 40-yard strike to wide receiver Qadry Ismail in the first quarter and a 59-yard dart to tight end Shannon Sharpe in the second. Dilfer completed 18 of 24 passes for 242 yards.
Player of the Game: RB Jamal Lewis – 187yards on 28 carries; 20 yards on four receptions
Week 13: Ravens 44, Browns 7
Jamal Lewis rushed for 170 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the Ravens' victory over the Cleveland Browns. Lewis broke Priest Holmes' single-season rushing record of 1,008 yards with 1,095 in only 10 starts.
"I'm not trying to be just any running back," Lewis said. "I'm trying to be great. I want to be great. Whatever is going to make me great, that's what I'm trying to do."
The Ravens gained 461 yards of offense as quarterback Trent Dilfer threw a 46-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Patrick Johnson and a 2-yard scoring pass to fullback Sam Gash in a 24-point second quarter. After Cleveland completed an 86-yard touchdown drive to start the game, the Ravens posted 44 unanswered points with a defensive effort that held the Browns to a season-low five first downs.
Player of the Game: RB Jamal Lewis – 170 yardson 30 carries, two touchdowns
Week 15: Ravens 24, Chargers 3
The Ravens clinched their first playoff berth with a 24-3 victory over the lowly San Diego Chargers. The Ravens scored 21points off five San Diego turnovers, hassling Chargers quarterback Ryan Leaf for an interception by cornerback Chris McAlister and a second-quarter fumble that set up a 28-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Trent Dilfer to wide receiver Qadry Ismail.
Dilfer threw two interceptions as part of a sloppy Ravens offense that committed three turnovers in the first half. Running back Jamal Lewis rushed for 91 yards and one touchdown on 29 carries, marking his lowest rushing output since Week 8. Though it wasn't entirely pretty, the victory enabled coach Brian Billick to lift his moratorium on the P-word.
Player of the Game: WR Qadry Ismail – six catches for 80 yards and one touchdown
Week 16: Ravens 13, Cardinals 7
Tempe, Ariz. – Sun Devil Stadium
A 1-yard touchdown run by Jamal Lewis in the third quarter proved to be the difference in a victory over the Arizona Cardinals.
The Cardinals recorded more first downs and total yards than the Ravens but failed to finish a number of key drives. Quarterback Jake Plummer threw two interceptions, including one returned 30yards by cornerback Duane Starks, and linebacker Jamie Sharper forced a Cardinals fumble at the Ravens' 5-yard line with the clock winding down in the fourth quarter to seal the win and Baltimore's first home playoff game since 1977.
Lewis' touchdown highlighted a 126-yard rushing performance, while Dilfer completed 12 of 22 passes for only 70yards. A pair of 42-yard field goals by Matt Stover completed the Ravens' sixth consecutive victory.
Player of the Game: OLB Jamie Sharper – 45-yard INT return, forced fumble
Week 17: Ravens 34, Jets 20
The Ravens closed the regular season with another sloppy offensive showing, but Jermaine Lewis returned two punts for touchdowns.
New York Jets quarterback Vinny Testaverde posted a banner passing performance against the Ravens' vaunted defense, completing 36 of 69 passes for two touchdowns and 481 yards. The Jets totaled 524 yards to the Ravens' 142 and limited running back Jamal Lewis to 52 yards on 22 carries.
Despite the gaudy offensive numbers, the Jets committed six turnovers, including an interception that Ravens cornerback Chris McAlister returned 98 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter. The Ravens' defense finished the regular season with NFL records for fewest points (165) and rushing yards (970) allowed during a 16-game season.
Player of the Game: WR Jermaine Lewis – two punt-return touchdowns
Wild-Card Round: Ravens 21, Broncos 3
A suffocating defensive effort coupled with a resurgent offense led the Ravens past the Denver Broncos in the AFC wild-card round.
Playing in frigid conditions, the Ravens allowed the Broncos past the 50-yard line only once as a PSINet Stadium-record crowd of 69,638 witnessed the city's first playoff game in 23 years.
"The emotion was high because it's been 23 years since this city had a playoff game," linebacker Ray Lewis said. "I was 2 years old the last playoff game that was in Baltimore. The thing now is to keep rolling. Nothing else matters but the next game."
Tight end Shannon Sharpe caught a tipped pass from quarterback Trent Dilfer in the second quarter and ran 58yards for a touchdown. Running back Jamal Lewis rushed for two touchdowns, including a 27-yard run in the third quarter that stamped the victory. Lewis finished the day with 110 yards on 30 carries.
Player of the Game: MLB Ray Lewis – interception, seven tackles
Divisional Round: Ravens 24, Titans 10
Nashville, Tenn. – Adelphia Coliseum
A pair of improbable fourth-quarter touchdowns sent the Ravens to an AFC championship game matchup with the Oakland Raiders.
Defensive lineman Keith Washington tipped a 37-yard field-goal attempt by the Tennessee Titans' Al Del Greco, and first-year special teams player Anthony Mitchell returned the ball 90yards for a touchdown that broke a tie at 10. Less than six minutes later, linebacker Ray Lewis intercepted Tennessee quarterback Steve McNair and charged 50 yards for his first career touchdown.
"It's a long time coming, but I feel like it is our time," Ravens defensive end Rob Burnett said. "Every dog has his day, so to speak. Or every bird has his day would be a better way to put it."
The Ravens entered the red zone only once, on a drive that ended with a 1-yard touchdown run by Jamal Lewis. The Titans, meanwhile, penetrated the Ravens' redzone four times but scored only 10 points on those drives. Del Greco suffered blocks of field-goal attempts from 45 and 37 yards and hit the left upright from 31 yards.
Player of the Game: DB Anthony Mitchell – returned a tipped field-goal attempt for a 90-yard touchdown
Championship Game: Ravens 16, Raiders 3
Oakland, Calif. – Network Associates Coliseum
Trent Dilfer's 96-yard touchdown pass to Shannon Sharpe set an NFL playoff record for longest passing play and helped the Ravens clinch a spot in the Super Bowl with a victory over the Oakland Raiders.
The Ravens' defense held Oakland's league-leading rushing attack to 24yards on 17 carries, and defensive tackle Tony Siragusa flattened the Raiders' Rich Gannon in the second quarter, forcing the quarterback to leave the game.
"Can defense win the Super Bowl? Damn right, defense can win the Super Bowl," Siragusa said. "But you can't count our offense out. They made big plays today."
The Ravens' duo of Jamal Lewis and Priest Holmes combined for 110 yards on the ground, and Dilfer completed nine of 18 passes for 190 yards. Matt Stover booted field goals of 31, 28 and 21 yards, and the defense held Oakland to a 24-yard field goal by Sebastian Janikowski in the third quarter.
Player of the Game: TE Shannon Sharpe – 96-yard touchdown reception in second quarter stands as the NFL record for longest pass in the postseason
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