The Seahawks are coming to town, and it’s been a while. Seattle last visited Baltimore 12 years ago, on November 23, 2003.
As the 4-8 Ravens limp into battle this Sunday against the two-time NFC Champions, we take a look back at that game. Many consider this to be the best regular season game in Ravens history, as it featured one heck of a comeback by the Ravens.
The Ravens trailed 41-24 with seven minutes remaining in the game and went on to win 44-41 in OT.
Believe it or not, the game was still scoreless after the first quarter, and the Ravens had just three points at halftime. Third-string QB Anthony Wright led the Ravens to 21 points in the 3rd quarter and another 17 points in the 4th quarter, for a total of 38 2nd half points. The Ravens hadn’t scored 38 points in an entire game all season prior to this game, and they did it in one half against a 7-3 team.
The Ravens had just 52 yards of total offense in the 1st half compared to 374 in the 2nd. Wright finished the wild affair 20 of 37 for 319 yards, four touchdowns, and 0 INT. Matt Hasselbeck was equally as impressive for Seattle, finishing with 333 passing yards and five touchdowns.
The absurdness of this game started with 23 seconds remaining in the 2nd quarter.
The Seahawks led 10-3, and the Ravens had the ball deep in their own territory. Content with going into the locker room down by only one score, Billick opted for Chester Taylor to run the ball once and let the clock run out. Taylor fumbled, however, and the Seahawks turned that into a touchdown right before the end of the half. Rather than just taking a knee, the Ravens’ blunder cost them an additional seven points, and the team trailed by two touchdowns.
After trailing 17-3 at halftime, Wright led the Ravens down the field for a touchdown just a couple minutes into the 3rd quarter. The drive was capped off with a 13-yard touchdown to Marcus Robinson, making the score 17-10.
Seattle followed with a three-play, 71-yard drive for a touchdown of their own to re-take a 14 point lead. Koren Robinson caught a 38-yard pass for the score. The Seahawks would later take a 17-point lead after tacking on an additional field goal at the 7:59 mark in the 3rd.
Wright would connect again with Marcus Robinson on a 50-yard touchdown pass that brought the Ravens back to within 10. An 80-yard touchdown pass to Darrell Jackson put Seattle back up 17 on the very first play of the ensuing drive. This is sadly starting to sound a lot like the most recent Ravens-Bengals game.
Marcus Robinson then caught his 3rd touchdown of the 3rd quarter, a 25-yard strike from Wright. This brought the score to 34-24 with just a few minutes remaining in the 3rd. Seattle quickly scored again, a five-yarder to Bobby Engram just a minute into the 4th, giving Seattle a 17-point lead at 41-24.
To recap, six touchdowns were scored in a period of less than 16 minutes.
Into the 4th, Seattle was set to punt with 6:56 remaining in the game, the score still 41-24 Seattle. Then Ed Reed started doing Ed Reed things. He proceeded to block, recover, and return the punt 16 yards for a touchdown, bringing the Ravens back to within 10. Seattle got the ball back and managed to milk the clock down to four minutes left in regulation before fullback Mack Strong fumbled the ball, which was recovered by Ray Lewis (who else?) at the Ravens’ 29 yard line.
After picking up a couple of 1st downs, Wright was sacked on two consecutive plays, setting the Ravens up with 4th and 28 on their own 35. Forget Ray Rice; this was Hey Diddle Diddle, Frank Sanders Up the Sideline. Wright’s pass was intended for Marcus Robinson, but he was only able to get a hand on the ball and tip it into the air. Sanders was able to catch it before running for a 44 yard reception to keep the game alive. It was totally better than the Steelers’ Immaculate Reception. Believe me. Wright eventually hit Robinson for his 4th touchdown reception of the afternoon.
With only 1:12 remaining and the team still trailing 41-38, Matt Stover attempted an onside kick that was recovered by Seattle. After gaining nine yards on the first two plays, Seattle faced a 3rd and one, only needing that one yard to seal the victory. The Ravens’ D held on 3rd and called their final timeout with 44 seconds remaining.
Seattle faced a tough decision: Attempt a 49-yard field goal to extend the lead to 6 points or go for it on 4th and inches for the win. Hasselbeck proceeded to go with the QB sneak but was naturally denied. You don’t run on 4th and short on the Ravens. Ever.
So…here we are. 39 seconds left, no timeouts, and the ball at their own 33 yard line. Wright would complete zero passes on the drive, but the team benefitted from a 44-yard pass interference penalty against Seattle on the very first play. Stover tied the game on the last play of regulation with a 40-yard field goal. He eventually went on to kick the game-winner in OT, giving the Ravens the 44-41 victory.
*Random note* Matt Hasselbeck got injured during the OT period, and backup QB Trent Dilfer came into the game just in time to get sacked by Peter Boulware. The sack set up the Seahawks punt that led to the game-winning drive for the Ravens. Thanks, Trent! Once a Raven, always a Raven.
WR Marcus Robinson finished the game with seven catches, 131 yards receiving, and four touchdowns.
The greatest comeback in Ravens history was complete. The Ravens moved to 6-5 with the win and went on to finish with a 10-6 record, earning their 1st division title in team history.
I wish the Ravens were presently 6-5.
Next year, guys. Next year.