The Ravens defeated the San Francisco 49ers, but the 9-7 score foretold an ominous ending.
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The extended absences of left tackle Jonathan Ogden, tight end Todd Heap, defensive end Trevor Pryce and cornerback Samari Rolle to injuries and illnesses contributed to the Ravens finishing 5-11 and ushering the departure of coach Brian Billick, the franchise leader in career coaching wins.
Oct. 11, 1998
The Ravens’ 12-8 loss to the Tennessee Oilers (they became the Titans the following season) was remembered for missed opportunities.
The Oilers were penalized 13 times for 141 yards, squandered a field goal and two-point conversion, and allowed four sacks. But the Ravens went just 1-of-15 on third downs and rushed for what was then a franchise-low 36 yards.
The team ended the season with a 6-10 record, and head coach Ted Marchibroda was fired soon afterward.
Oct. 24, 2004
The Ravens’s 20-6 victory over the Buffalo Bills was highlighted by cornerback Deion Sanders’ 48-yard interception return for a touchdown.
But it turned out to be the 23rd and final touchdown return in Sanders’ Hall of Fame career, which ended after the 2005 campaign. Ogden sat out four games after straining his left hamstring, Heap sat out 10 contests with a sprained right ankle, and running back Jamal Lewis served a seven-game suspension.
After opening the season with four wins in six contests, the team went 5-5 the rest of the way and missed the postseason.
Dec. 16, 2001
The Ravens dropped a 26-21 decision to the Pittsburgh Steelers, an outcome that clinched the AFC Central title to the Steelers.
The Ravens were dominated in time of possession (41:05 to 18:55) and yards (476 to 207), and the defense allowed Pittsburgh to convert 9-of-15 third downs.
The team captured the AFC wildcard, but fell to the Steelers again, 27-10, in the divisional playoff round.
Oct. 19, 1997
The Ravens’ high hopes after a 3-1 start nose-dived after the Miami Dolphins stung the Ravens, 24-13.
It was the Ravens’ third consecutive loss. The Dolphins put the outcome out of reach by taking a 21-3 lead with less than five minutes left in the second quarter. Miami, who had averaged just 72.3 rushing yards in its first six contests, ran for 148 yards.
The team won just three more games and finished the season at 6-9-1.