The Baltimore Ravens were on their way to the AFC Championship Game. At halftime, the black & purple was up 21-7 over the Pittsburgh Steelers and it looked like a second trip to the Super Bowl was in the cards.
Then, “it” happened. We had the privilege of witnessing one of the greatest team implosions in sports history and Baltimore lost 31-24 to the Steelers.
In the third quarter, Ray Rice, who hadn’t fumbled all season, fumbled. Pittsburgh recovered and scored a touchdown. Joe Flacco overthrew tight end Todd Heap and the Steelers intercepted. Then Pittsburgh scored another touchdown.
You can’t really fault Rice or Flacco, though, as they’ve been terrific all season long. Granted, championship teams don’t fumble when the season is on the line. Championship teams don’t throw interceptions when the season is on the line.
Still, we could have won this game in Pittsburgh and put an end to the Ben Roethlisberger curse, but Baltimore receivers Anquan Boldin and T.J. Houshmandzadeh blew it. Both had been complaining all season long about not getting enough passes thrown their way. Now, it’s easy to see why Flacco didn’t trust them with the ball.
Boldin dropped a touchdown pass that would have given the Ravens the lead in the fourth quarter. Houshmandzadeh dropped an easy 4th down pass that would have kept Baltimore in the game with less than 2 minutes left.
You just don’t drop passes in the playoffs. Baltimore brought in Boldin and Houshmandzadeh during the offseason specifically to beat the Steelers, and they blew it. Clearly, we could have put that money to better use.
You couldn’t have asked for more from the Ravens defense. They played a fantastic game, with Terrell Suggs logging six tackles over the course of the game. Unlike many of his teammates, Suggs backed up his harsh talk. Ray Lewis, the very heart and soul of the Ravens, tried to keep his team fired up in the second half, but it just wasn’t enough.
There are already lots of fans saying, “we’re still proud of our Ravens,” and “at least we had a great season.” Still, this loss will be one that haunts everyone here in Baltimore for years to come. Football games are sixty minutes long, not thirty.
Baltimore was fortunate to go 12-4 this year, and I say this as a die-hard Ravens fan.
Boldin and Houshmandzadeh were supposed to be the difference for the Ravens. They were.
See video of Housh’s key drop below.
- Steelers Vs. Ravens: Terrell Suggs Forces Ben Roethlisberger Fumble, Baltimore Leads, 14-7 (sbnation.com)
- Houshmandzadeh hopes to put on a show in playoffs (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- Look for big play to decide another Ravens-Steelers classic (sportingnews.com)
- Steelers Vs. Ravens: Baltimore Leads, 21-7, After Another Pittsburgh Turnover (sbnation.com)
- Ravens take two-touchdown lead into halftime at Pittsburgh (profootballtalk.nbcsports.com)
- Ravens vs. Steelers: Does Anquan Boldin Hold Key For Baltimore Success? (bleacherreport.com)