#6: Ravens beat Steelers in playoffs for first time in franchise history.
January 3, 2015
How it happened: It's safe to say that 2014 wasn't exactly the Ravens year. The season started out with the incredible mishandling of running back Ray Rice's domestic violence incident, continued with a spotty fall of losing to division rivals, and, in December, our star nose tackle Haloti Ngata was suspended for adderall.
But, the Ravens prevailed and returned to the playoffs after missing out the year before. The match-up, an AFC wild-card game against the Steelers in Heinz Field would be no easy feat. Up until that point, Pittsburgh had always prevailed in the playoffs, knocking the Ravens out of the postseason in 2008 and 2010. But revenge is oh so sweet.
Sure, star running back Le'Veon Bell was out for Pittsburgh, but that was hardly an excuse. Heath Miller dropped a critical pass, the Steelers' pass rush was completely ineffective, and the Ravens held their opponents to field goals the entire first half. Big Ben Roethlisberger was also sacked a total of five times.
Once the second half came, it was just total domination. Joe Flacco hit Torrey Smith for a touchdown in the third quarter and then, following a Terrell Suggs pick off Roethlisberger, found Crocket Gillmore with a 21-yard pass into the end zone. (It also didn't hurt having Owen Daniels and Steve Smith Sr. help march us down the field.) In the end, the Ravens triumphed 30-17.
"That's playoff football," a fired up John Harbaugh told media after the game. "That's Joe Flacco. The best quarterback in football. I'll take him every day of the week and twice on Sunday or Saturday night."
While we all know what happened in the AFC division game (cough, deflate, cough), we have to agree with NBC broadcaster Cris Collinsworth: "Nothing better than being an opposing team in a silent stadium after a playoff game."
All season long, we'll be counting down the Ravens top moments in franchise history to celebrate the team's 20th season in Baltimore. Take a look back at what moments we've chronicled so far.
#20: Naming the Team
#18: First Ring of Honor