The 5 Greatest Seasons In Baltimore Ravens History
1. 2012 : 10-6 record, Super Bowl Champions
Claim to the greatest season in Ravens’ history belongs to the 2012 Super Bowl Champions, the team of destiny. The argument for this season being number one is long-winded, but it all has to be said. The 2012 Ravens resilience was remarkable.
The Ravens found a way to overcome an unbelievable amount of adversity in a season in which Terrell Suggs tore his Achilles in the offseason, Art Modell died before the season’s start, Torrey Smith’s brother had passed away in a motorcycle accident, Ray Lewis was thought to be lost for the season, and the team lost their top cornerback in Lardarius Webb. Joe Flacco had one of the greatest post-seasons of all time and led the Ravens to a win in Super Bowl XLVII.
The regular season began with an absolute beat down of the Cincinnati Bengals, with the Ravens winning 44-13. Ed Reed had an pick-six that placed him first all time in career interception return yards.
The Ravens had an emotional revenge game in week 3 against the New England Patriots, who had beat them in the AFC Championship the year prior. Torrey Smith had a heroic game, with six receptions for 127 yards and two touchdowns, all less than 48 hours after he learned his younger brother had passed. The rookie Justin Tucker hit the game winning field goal and the Ravens were feeling good.
A week six victory against the Dallas Cowboys, in which the Cowboys’ kicker missed a game winning field goal, was supposed to be a relief. The problem was that the Ravens had suffered major losses. Ray Lewis had torn his triceps and Lardarius Webb tore his ACL.
Terrell Suggs made his triumphant return in week seven against the Houston Texans, in which he had a sack. However, the Ravens got walloped by the Texans, losing 43-13.
After a bye week, the Ravens won four games in a row, bringing their record to an impressive 9-2. The most impressive of these wins was the last, against the Chargers. The Ravens’ hopes were looking bleak as they were trailing 13-10 with under two minutes left. When it became 4th and 29, it looked like they were definitely going to lose, but Ray Rice had some magic left. He converted a dump off pass into a phenomenal 30 yard gain and a first down. From there Justin Tucker hit a game-tying field goal, then hit the game winner in OT after a deep ball by Torrey Smith.
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The season seemed to take a downward turn after this however. The Ravens lost in embarrassing fashion to the Steelers in front of a national audience. The 23-20 loss came at the hands of third-string QB Charlie Batch. Next, the Ravens played a sloppy game against the Washington Redskins on a slippery grass field. Robert Griffin III played a good game, but Flacco was better, throwing for three touchdowns. Kirk Cousins came in for an injured RGIII and won the game.
After the Redskins game the Ravens decided to make a major change, they were firing Cam Cameron, the offensive coordinator of five years and promoting Jim Caldwell, the former Colts’ head coach, to the position.
Caldwell’s first game didn’t go as planned, as the Ravens badly lost to the Denver Broncos 34-17 at home. However, they clinched a playoff berth as the Steelers had lost later that day.
Week 16 against the Giants was the true turning point of the season, as the Ravens clinched the AFC North Title in dominating fashion. The offense looked smooth and the defense locked down the defending Super Bowl champions. The next game against the Bengals didn’t matter much, since the Ravens were locked into a playoff spot, so they rested their starters.
After the Bengals game the Ravens had some bittersweet news. Ray Lewis was officially back, but this, his 17th season, would be his last. Unknown to most Ravens’ fans at the time, this would also be Ed Reed’s last few games as a Raven. This gave the Ravens a drive like I’ve never seen them have before. Flacco turned into January Joe and had one of the best playoff runs anyone has ever seen.
The first playoff game against the Colts was a spectacular one. Andrew Luck was coming off an impressive rookie season, but was outmatched by the Ravens’ veteran defense and explosive pass rush. Flacco contributed two touchdowns and Anquan Boldin had a huge game. The Ravens won 24-9 in Lewis’s final home game.
Next came the top-seeded Denver Broncos, who dominated the Ravens in Baltimore just a few weeks earlier. No one expected the Ravens to be able to keep up with the high-powered Broncos, but the Ravens had something special about them. This was a game for the ages.
Flacco was absolute money in this game, throwing dimes all over the field and hitting Smith for two long touchdowns. The score kept going back and forth. The Broncos took the lead with little time left in the fourth quarter and had stopped the Ravens with barely any time left. The Ravens got the ball back after the Broncos played conservatively and you all know what happened next.
The Mile High Miracle. One of the greatest plays in playoff history, Joe Flacco hitting Jacoby Jones for a 70-yard touchdown on an absolute bomb. This gave the Ravens new life and the rest is history. Peyton Manning threw an interception in overtime, and the Ravens’ Justin Tucker hit the game winning 47-yard field goal in double OT.
Next on the revenge tour, came the despised New England Patriots. The game was back and forth until halftime, when Harbaugh and Flacco decided that they had to let it loose. They were playing too conservatively and so Flacco and the offense started attacking the Patriots all over the field. Brady didn’t play well and Flacco did, throwing three touchdowns and no interceptions. The Ravens moved on to the Super Bowl, winning 28-13.
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The Harbaugh Bowl, John and Jim were the first two brothers to ever face off in a Super Bowl. The game was dominated by the Ravens early, Flacco hit Anquan Boldin, Dennis Pitta and Jacoby Jones for touchdowns before Jones returned a kickoff for a score. The score was 28-6 and then… the lights went out. After it came back on, the 49ers went on a run, coming all the way back to make it 28-23. Justin Tucker hit two more field goals, and the 49ers scored again. Ray Lewis and the defense stopped the 49ers at the goal line to win the game. Sure there was a safety, but the pass defense by Jimmy Smith sealed the deal.
The Ravens were Super Bowl Champions once again. This time, it wasn’t just their defense that made plays, but Joe Flacco had arguably the greatest post-season of all time, with 11 touchdowns and no interceptions, and the Super Bowl MVP trophy. The Ravens were once again on top of the world. Ray Lewis and Ed Reed got to end their careers as champions, and will be together again in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The season was a magical one and is one Ravens fans will never forget.