AFC Championship Game
Ravens at Patriots
January 22, 2012.
The Ravens took over at their own 21 with 1:44 left in the game and trailing 23-20. Joe Flacco rallied the team and after connecting on four of 6 passes for 56 yards, three to Anquan Boldin for 51 yards, the Ravens faced a first-and-10 from the Patriots 23 yard line with 51 seconds remaining.
Flacco hit Boldin again, this time for 9 yards which had the Ravens staring down a 2nd-and-1 at the New England 14. On second down Flacco delivered a perfectly placed back-shoulder throw to Lee Evans who was stripped of the football by Sterling Moore, momentarily snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. After an incomplete pass to Dennis Pitta, the Ravens rushed their field goal unit onto the field for a chip shot attempt to send the game into overtime.
Kicker Billy Cundiff, had made 10 of 12 kicks from 30-39 yards that season. If there was a BetMGM promotional code available prior to the kick, many would have rushed to wager on a successful kick. But Cundiff shanked the attempt and the grotesquely errant kick broke the hearts of Ravens fans while dampening the souls of his teammates who looked on in disbelief.
Shortly after the franchise’s most devastating moment, Ray Lewis pulled his team together.
During the 2012 season, the Ravens played with a chip on their shoulders. The bitter taste of that loss at Gillette Stadium never left the club’s collective palate. And when their 2012 seasonal journey brought them back to the scene of the crime, the Ravens, with steely-eyed conviction, dismantled the Patriots on their way to Super Bowl 47.
Eight seasons later, the chip is back, born out of frustration – the byproduct of a promising 14-2 season crumbling apart. Can it propel the Ravens to the promised land like similar disappointed catapulted the 2012 squad?
Time will tell, but if you take a step back and look at the big picture, things may be lining up nicely for the 2020 Ravens. Think about this. The team has all of its key players returning plus they beefed up an already talented roster with an outstanding draft class and some key veteran acquisitions including Calais Campbell, Derek Wolfe and D.J. Fluker.
During a season that will be completely unique and one that will leave players relatively unprepared for the season and coaching staffs with limited time to install a playbook or worse, a completely new system, continuity is critical. Not only do the Ravens return most of their roster, a 14-2 franchise has retained its entire coaching staff. That’s unusual for a team that dominated the regular season from Week 5 on.
And if you’ve questioned the collective resolve of the club, consider what John Harbaugh had to say about the conditioning of his roster.
“We don’t have anybody that has any more than 26% body fat on our entire team. That’s phenomenal.” pic.twitter.com/yxhjSC19uZ
— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) August 7, 2020
That’s quite impressive. During an unprecedented offseason when staying in shape – NFL shape, can be a daunting task, the Ravens refused to have their focus compromised.
Who knows what the future of this season holds?
Who knows if they’ll finish it.
But one thing we do know. There is no other team better prepared to take on the obstacles of a challenging season like the 2020 Baltimore Ravens.
And just maybe the agony of defeat in 2019 will drive them like it did that 2013 squad.
Here’s to the drive – the drive to Super Bowl LV!