Fans are fickle. All but the most diehard will stop even thinking about football through the course of the week when their team isn’t doing so well. Sure, they’ll watch, but the loss doesn’t affect them the way that it does others.
That’s not us.
We’re the ones who feel a loss throughout the week. It puts us in a funk. It sucks. Everyone thinks we’re ridiculous for caring so much, but if we didn’t care this much after a loss, the wins wouldn’t be nearly as fun. When they win, we’re the happiest person in every room we enter. It lifts our spirits and brightens our entire week, regardless of what may happen through the course of it. The wins lift us up in the worst of times.
But sometimes, a win isn’t as much of a moment of pure joy. Sometimes, the game was so agonizing that it hardly even feels like a win. It more closely resembles the feeling you get when you catch your phone as it’s bouncing into the water. You feel relief, not excitement.
Other times, the game ends in disaster. A win looked like it was in our grasp. It looked like the Ravens would at least force overtime (hint, hint) and another shot at coming away with a victory. These are the moments where you feel like this guy (explicit), or this guy, or this guy (explicit again).
So really, you feel like a Browns fan does all the time.
At this point, you’re probably thinking, “Tyler, why in the HELL are you bringing this up?”
I guess it’s the masochist in me. That lunatic thought it would be a good idea to list the 15 most agonizing Ravens games. And my inner sadist decided we should publish it for all of you.
So here we go. We’ll limit it to the Harbaugh era, so you won’t see any games before 2008.
The stakes: A win for the Ravens would have put them in a tie for first place with the Steelers with two games left to go in the year. With a 1-0 record against the Ravens already, the Steelers had a chance to wrap up the division.
With the Steelers down by 3 and facing a 3rd and goal from the 4-yard line, Ben Roethlisberger scrambled for what seemed like an eternity and found Santonio Holmes over the middle of the field. The play was originally ruled down on the 1-yard line, but replay overturned the call. But it looked anything BUT conclusive, unless you’re a yellow and black-donning yinzer. To make things worse, those trailer park Pennsyltuckians couldn’t for the life of them understand the difference between catching a pass going INTO the endzone and catching one while already IN the endzone.
YOUR FEET DON’T MATTER WHEN IT COMES TO CROSSING THE GOAL LINE, PEOPLE!
The final score: Steelers 13 Ravens 9
Okay, I need to keep this rage under control. We’re only at #15…
The date: October 11, 2015
The stakes: A win keeps the Ravens from being the worst team in the division. We were coming off of an overtime win against a Roethlisberger-less Pittsburgh team led by a type of man you can never trust – one who treats dogs cruelly, Mike Vick. A win against Cleveland puts us at 2-3 and right back in contention in a weak AFC.
Then, we get passed all over by the Browns. This was the point where it became clear that 2015 was going to be one of the franchise’s worst seasons ever. We couldn’t stop Josh McCown. We couldn’t stop a journeyman quarterback and the freaking Browns! Justin Tucker missed a field goal. Everything was going wrong. The Ravens had a chance to win the game in the fourth quarter, but wound up settling for a field goal. They didn’t move the ball a yard with the opening possession in OT. Then, the Browns moved it into field goal range after a punt, and it was over.
The final score: Browns(!!!) 33 Ravens 30 (OT)
The date: October 24, 2011
The stakes: The Ravens were rolling hot into Florida after winning three consecutive games, most recently against a talented Texans team at home. They were 4-1 and ready to face a terrible 1-5 Jaguars squad, led by a rookie quarterback who refused to step up in the pocket. Things looked promising as they prepared to play on Monday Night Football…
…but the offense never showed up. The Ravens held possession 9 times in the first half. Their results? In order; 3-and-out, 3-and-out, fumble (1st play), 3-and out, 3-and out, 3-and out, 3-and out, 3-and out, and 3-and-out. That’s eight 3-and-outs and one 1-play drive for those counting at home. In the second half, they started with a promising possession…which ended with a missed Billy Cundiff 52-yard field goal. After one more 3-and-out, the Ravens finally put points on the board with a 13-play, 90-yard touchdown drive.
Just to make things even more infuriating, the Ravens had a chance at the end of the game from their own 20. But Flacco threw an interception and wrapped up the Ravens’ worst offensive performance of the Harbaugh/Flacco era.
The final score: Ravens 7 Jaguars 12
The date: December 27, 2009
The stakes: With two games left to go in the season, the Ravens were 8-6 and could only guarantee a playoff spot with two consecutive wins. If they lost either of them, they would leave it up to chance. The Steelers needed to win this game and the Ravens to lose the next week to have a shot at the postseason.
In the 3rd quarter, Dominique Foxworth intercepted a pass and returned it for a touchdown to put the Ravens up 24-20. It earned him plenty of WOO!’s and YEAH!’s, but it was negated by a Terrell Suggs block in the back. Everything was still okay, though. We would tie it up on a field goal, but the game was lookin’ up!
With under a minute left in the 3rd quarter and the score 20-20, McGahee would take a run to the left side for a touchdown.
But it was called back by a Kelly Washington holding call. Again, everything was fine! They still had a couple more shots to put the ball in the endzone.
Two plays later, on the first play of the 4th quarter, Flacco found Derrick Mason in the back of the endzone for a touchdo–
ARE YOU KIDDING ME?’ Mason drops a wide-open pass in the back of the endzone. We’ll still get a field goal, at least, right?
Wrong. Penalties forced the Ravens out of field goal range and to punt. But there’s still plenty of time…
After a long return from Jalen Parmele, there’s 2:30 left in the 4th quarter. The Ravens have manage to make it to the Steeler 37. That drive ends with two consecutive Lamarr Woodley sacks, but it looks like the Raven defense will hold on the ensuing drive. They have Pittsburgh at a 3rd and 11 still at the 42, one yard behind where the Ravens’ drive ended. Roethlisberger throws it deep and it’s INTERCEPTED by Tom Zbikowski at his own 20. He returns it all the way to the 45 and the Ravens are in business again!
But Frank Walker did Frank Walker things. He was called for illegal contact, and the Steelers could take a few kneel-downs to end the game. Final Ravens’ penalty tally: 11 for 113 yards – and a huge one to end the game.
Final score: Ravens 20 Steelers 23
11.) Victorious Frustration
The date: December 13, 2010
The stakes: The Ravens needed a win to keep pace in the AFC North with rival Pittsburgh. A loss would have all but ensured that they fall down to a Wild Card spot.
The Ravens got off to an incredibly fast start with a 21-0 lead with under 2 minutes to go in the first half. In frustrating Greg Mattison fashion, they allowed a touchdown in under a minute, but they still had a two-score lead heading into the locker room for halftime. They would put another score on with a 103-yard return from David Reed on the second half kickoff.
But that would be the end of the fun for the night. The Texans would put together two long drives in the 3rd quarter that both went for field goals to make the score 28-13. In the fourth, those long drives would turn into touchdowns and make even the most passive Ravens fan want to slam his remote. The second one ended with a Matt Schaub touchdown pass to Andre Johnson to make the score 28-26 with under a minute left. Jacoby Jones would convert the two-point conversion to send it into overtime.
By the time the Ravens punted their first possession of overtime away, the game seemed lost for sure. The Texans had Mach 1-level momentum, and it didn’t look like the Ravens had any answers…
But they did. In classic Matt Schaub fashion, he threw a pass right to Josh Wilson who returned it for a touchdown to end the game.
Final score: Ravens 34 Texans 28 (OT)
Many of you will probably disagree with me on this one since we won the game. But that didn’t erase the incredible amount of frustration accrued throughout the second half. I know we’ve had bad halves like that before, but rarely do they come in such agonizing fashion.
Agonizing Ravens games 10-6 are here.
Numbers 5-1 are here.