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|2008 Baltimore Ravens season|
|Head coach||John Harbaugh|
|Offensive coordinator||Cam Cameron|
|Defensive coordinator||Rex Ryan|
|General manager||Ozzie Newsome|
|Home field||M&T Bank Stadium|
|Division place||2nd AFC North|
|Playoff finish||Won Wild Card Playoffs (Dolphins) 27-9|
Won Divisional Playoffs (Titans) 13-10
Lost Conference Championship (Steelers) 14-23
The 2008 Baltimore Ravens season was the 13th season for the team in the NFL. Despite having one of the toughest schedules in the NFL, the Ravens completed a major turnaround from the 2007 season, finishing the season with an 11-5 record and a playoff berth. They defeated the Miami Dolphins in the Wild Card round of the playoffs, and then in the divisional round they defeated the Tennessee Titans, who had compiled the best record in the AFC over the regular season. However, in the AFC championship game, the Ravens' season came to an end as they were defeated by their division rival and eventual Super Bowl XLIII champion Pittsburgh Steelers, denying what would've been a bird-themed Super Bowl, with the other finalists being the Arizona Cardinals and Philadelphia Eagles.
Quarterback Joe Flacco, drafted 18th overall in the 2008 draft became the first quarterback in NFL history to win multiple playoff games in their rookie season. Flacco would be joined by Mark Sanchez of the New York Jets the following year.
On December 31, 2007, Brian Billick was fired after coaching the team to a 5-11 record, finishing last overall in the AFC North Division. Three weeks later, on January 18, 2008, John Harbaugh was hired to replace Brian Billick as the third head coach in the franchise's young history. Harbaugh was the defensive secondary coach for the Philadelphia Eagles, coaching such players as Pro Bowl cornerback Lito Sheppard and free safety Brian Dawkins. As the Baltimore Ravens Head Coach, he is scheduled to serve in that capacity until at least the end of the 2011 season, after signing a four-year contract with the team.
After not having a true offensive coordinator during the 2007 season (Billick had assumed those duties early in the 2006 season after firing Jim Fassel (although Rick Neuheisel had been listed on the coaching staff in that capacity), addressing this position was as much of a priority for new Head Coach John Harbaugh as it was for owner Steve Bisciotti to find a new Head Coach for his team, at the time. Recently dismissed as head coach from the Miami Dolphins,Malcolm 'Cam' Cameron was highly sought after for his offensive expertise from his time in San Diego with the Chargers. After some deliberation amongst offers he received from around the league, Cameron chose to come to the Ravens, and John Harbaugh announced him as the offensive coordinator on January 23, 2008.
Rex Ryan was 'released from duty' as the team's defensive coordinator, but was still under contract to the Ravens as a defensive coordinator in name for one more year, should new Head Coach John Harbaugh decide to hire him onto his staff, thus making him ineligible to accept the same position with any other NFL football team. Ryan, at the time was applying for a head coaching position himself, but got no offers for any of the four head coaching vacancies in Atlanta, his own team in Baltimore, Miami, or in Washington. On January 28, 2008, Ryan was re-hired as the Ravens' Defensive Coordinator and was subsequently promoted to Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator after rumors of potential Redskins Head Coach Jim Zorn circulated that he wanted Ryan to coach the Redskins as its defensive coordinator.
During the 2008 free agency period, the Ravens acquired linebacker Brendan Ayanbadejo from the Chicago Bears and cornerback Frank Walker from the Green Bay Packers. Both were added to the Ravens roster primarily for their special teams ability, but also to fulfill a pressing need for depth at two positions which were diminished by injuries as the 2007 season wore on. On February 28, 2008, center Mike Flynn was released after failing his annual physical. Flynn was one of the few players remaining from the team's Super Bowl championship season in 2000. After suffering multiple injuries and having to be placed on injured reserve during the 2007 season, veteran quarterback Steve McNair announced his retirement on April 17, 2008 from the NFL. McNair had played a combined 13 seasons with the Ravens and Titans. After being voted to 11 Pro Bowls in 12 seasons, (but only playing in 10 due to a hyperextended big toe) veteran left tackle and the first ever draft selection by the newly created Baltimore Ravens franchise in 1996,Jonathan Ogden announced his retirement on June 12, 2008.
The Baltimore Ravens had nine selections going into the 2008 NFL Draft, including four compensatory selections. The Ravens traded the eighth overall pick to the Jaguars for Jacksonville's first-round choice (26th overall) as well as two third-round selections (71st and 89th) and a fourth-round (125th) pick. The Ravens then traded the 26th overall pick as well as their third-round (89th) and sixth-round (173) picks to Houston for its first-round (18th) pick. The Ravens traded their 38th overall pick to the Seattle Seahawks for their second-round pick and gained another selection in the third-round, which were at 55 and 86, respectively. The Ravens then traded their second fourth-round pick (125th overall) to the Oakland Raiders for cornerback Fabian Washington.
|2007 Baltimore Ravens draft|
|2||55||Ray Rice *||RB||Rutgers|
|3||71||Tavares Gooden||LB||Miami (FL)|
|3||86||Tom Zbikowski||S||Notre Dame|
|4||106||Marcus Smith||WR||New Mexico|
|7||215||Justin Harper.||WR||Virginia Tech|
|Pro Football Hall of Fame Made at least one Pro Bowl during careerMade roster|
|1||Thursday, August 7, 2008||New England Patriots||W 16-15||1-0||Gillette Stadium||Recap|
|2||Saturday, August 16, 2008||Minnesota Vikings||L 15-23||1-1||M&T Bank Stadium||Recap|
|3||Saturday, August 23, 2008||St. Louis Rams||L 10-24||1-2||Edward Jones Dome||Recap|
|4||Thursday, August 28, 2008||Atlanta Falcons||L 9-10||1-3||M&T Bank Stadium||Recap|
The first and last pre-season games was simulcast on television and radio, a first in the NFL and a practice since adopted by the Minnesota Vikings. The Ravens' games were broadcast on WBAL-TV 11, WBAL-AM Radio (1090), and WIYY-FM Radio (97.9). The radio broadcast team of Gerry Sandusky, Stan White, and former Ravens defensive tackle Rob Burnett voiced the televised pre-season games. The second and third games were broadcast on WMAR Channel 2 due to NBCs Olympic Coverage.
The Ravens, in addition to facing its AFC North counterparts, faced opponents from the AFC South Division and the NFC East Division. They also faced the Oakland Raiders from the AFC West Division and the Miami Dolphins from the AFC East Division based on the 2002-2009 NFL scheduling formula because of their fourth-place finish in the AFC North Division. The Ravens and Minnesota Vikings had the fourth toughest strength of schedule in the NFL based on its aforementioned opponents' win to loss ratio from the 2007 season, with its opponents winning 55.1% of their scheduled games in 2007. The only three teams with tougher strength of schedules are the Jacksonville Jaguars (3rd) with a 55.9% opponents' winning percentage, the Indianapolis Colts (2nd) with a 59.4% opponents' winning percentage, and the Pittsburgh Steelers have the toughest strength of schedule in the 2008 season with an opponents' winning percentage of 59.8%.
|1||Sunday, September 7, 2008||Cincinnati Bengals||W 17-10||1-0||M&T Bank Stadium||Recap|
|2||Bye week due to Hurricane Ike|
|3||Sunday, September 21, 2008||Cleveland Browns||W 28-10||2-0||M&T Bank Stadium||Recap|
|4||Monday, September 29, 2008||at Pittsburgh Steelers||L 20-23 (OT)||2-1||Heinz Field||Recap|
|5||Sunday, October 5, 2008||Tennessee Titans||L 10-13||2-2||M&T Bank Stadium||Recap|
|6||Sunday, October 12, 2008||at Indianapolis Colts||L 3-31||2-3||Lucas Oil Stadium||Recap|
|7||Sunday, October 19, 2008||at Miami Dolphins||W 27-13||3-3||Dolphin Stadium||Recap|
|8||Sunday, October 26, 2008||Oakland Raiders||W 29-10||4-3||M&T Bank Stadium||Recap|
|9||Sunday, November 2, 2008||at Cleveland Browns||W 37-27||5-3||Cleveland Browns Stadium||Recap|
|10||Sunday, November 9, 2008**||at Houston Texans||W 41-13||6-3||Reliant Stadium||Recap|
|11||Sunday, November 16, 2008*||at New York Giants||L 10-30||6-4||Giants Stadium||Recap|
|12||Sunday, November 23, 2008*||Philadelphia Eagles||W 36-7||7-4||M&T Bank Stadium||Recap|
|13||Sunday, November 30, 2008*||at Cincinnati Bengals||W 34-3||8-4||Paul Brown Stadium||Recap|
|14||Sunday, December 7, 2008*||Washington Redskins||W 24-10||9-4||M&T Bank Stadium||Recap|
|15||Sunday, December 14, 2008*||Pittsburgh Steelers||L 9-13||9-5||M&T Bank Stadium||Recap|
|16||Saturday, December 20, 2008||at Dallas Cowboys||W 33-24||10-5||Texas Stadium||Recap|
|17||Sunday, December 28, 2008*||Jacksonville Jaguars||W 27-7||11-5||M&T Bank Stadium||Recap|
The Ravens began their 2008 campaign at home against their toughest AFC North foe, the Cincinnati Bengals. In the first quarter, Baltimore opened the scoring with WR Mark Clayton scoring on a 42-yard TD run from a double-reverse play. In the second quarter, the Ravens increased their advantage with Matt Stover kicking a 21-yard field goal. The Bengals responded with Shayne Graham kicking a 43-yard field goal to end the first half. In the third quarter, Baltimore responded with rookie quarterback Joe Flacco scoring on a 38-yard TD run. In the fourth quarter, Cincinnati tried to rally as CB Johnathan Joseph returned a fumble 65 yards for a touchdown. Ultimately, the Ravens defense stopped a potential Bengals scoring drive on fourth down late in the fourth quarter and won the game.
With the win, the Ravens began their season at 1-0.
Joe Flacco in his rookie debut, completed 15 of 29 passes for 129 yards (along with a touchdown run).
The Ravens' Week 2 game against the Houston Texans was postponed from September 14 to November 9, the Ravens' original bye week, due to structural damage to Houston's Reliant Stadium caused by Hurricane Ike.
Coming off an unexpected bye week, the Ravens looked to improve their division standing in the AFC North, playing host to the 0-2 Cleveland Browns. Joe Flacco threw his first career interception in the first quarter, which was scoreless for both teams. The Browns, however, capitalized on the turnover by driving 52 yards for a touchdown, finishing the drive with Derek Anderson completing a 19-yard pass to Jerome Harrison. Baltimore would respond with Willis McGahee scoring on a 5-yard touchdown run, his first of the season. The Browns closed out the first half with a Phil Dawson Field goal to make the score 10 - 7, Browns, at the half. Strong Safety Dawan Landry suffered a mild spinal injury and was taken to the hospital, where X-rays were negative for damage. In the second half, Baltimore won the turnover battle and their defense proved to be the deciding factor in this contest. After Ray Lewis delivered a big hit on Browns' Tight End Kellen Winslow while deflecting a pass, Chris McAlister intercepted the tipped ball and returned the interception to the Browns 10-yard line. Four plays later, Fullback Le'Ron McClain would score on a 1-yard run. On the next possession, Ed Reed intercepted a Derek Anderson pass intended for Tight End Steve Heiden and returned it 32 yards for a touchdown. After forcing another 3-and-out, Baltimore capitalized on a Browns personal foul from the 50-yard line, driving 35 yards for a touchdown, finishing the drive with a 1-yard run from Le'Ron McClain. The Browns tried to rally late in the game, but Samari Rolle intercepted Derek Anderson with less than two minutes to play, ensuring no chance of a comeback.
Coming off their home win over the Browns, the Ravens flew to Heinz Field for their first road game of the year, as they played a Week 4 MNF duel with the throwback-clad Pittsburgh Steelers. In the first quarter, Baltimore trailed early as Steelers kicker Jeff Reed got a 49-yard field goal. The Ravens responded with kicker Matt Stover getting a 33-yard field goal. Baltimore gained the lead in the second quarter as Stover kicked a 20-yard field goal, while rookie quarterback Joe Flacco completed his first career touchdown pass as he hooked up with TE Daniel Wilcox from 4 yards out.
In the third quarter, Pittsburgh took the lead with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger completing a 38-yard TD pass to WR Santonio Holmes, along with LB James Harrison forcing a fumble from Flacco with LB LaMarr Woodley returning the fumble 7 yards for a touchdown. In the fourth quarter, the Steelers increased their lead with Reed getting a 19-yard field goal. Afterwards, the Ravens tied the game with RB Le'Ron McClain getting a 2-yard TD run. However, despite winning the coin toss in overtime, Baltimore was unable to gain ground. In the end, Pittsburgh sealed Baltimore's fate as Reed nailed the game-winning 46-yard field goal.
With the loss, the Ravens then fell to 2-1.
Hoping to rebound from their tough divisional road loss to the Steelers, the Ravens went home for a Week 5 defensive duel with the Tennessee Titans. Baltimore scored in the first quarter on a 38-yard field goal by kicker Matt Stover. In the second quarter, the Titans tied the game as kicker Rob Bironas made a 35-yard field goal. In the third quarter, the Ravens reclaimed the lead on a 1-yard TD run by RB Le'Ron McClain. However, in the fourth quarter, Tennessee pulled away with Bironas nailing a 26-yard field goal and quarterback Kerry Collins completing an 11-yard TD pass to TE Alge Crumpler.
With the loss, Baltimore fell to 2-2.
Trying to snap a two-game losing streak, the Ravens flew to Lucas Oil Stadium for a Week 6 duel with the Indianapolis Colts. In the first quarter, Baltimore trailed early as Colt quarterback Peyton Manning completed a 67-yard TD pass to WR Marvin Harrison and a 22-yard TD pass to WR Reggie Wayne, along with kicker Adam Vinatieri getting a 37-yard field goal. In the second quarter, the Ravens continued to struggle as Manning completed a 5-yard TD pass to Harrison. In the third quarter, Indianapolis pulled away as RB Dominic Rhodes got a 1-yard TD run. Baltimore would get its only score as kicker Matt Stover got a 37-yard field goal.
With their third-straight loss, the Ravens fell to 2-3.
Trying to snap a three-game losing streak, the Ravens flew to Dolphin Stadium for a Week 7 duel with the Miami Dolphins. In the first quarter, Baltimore trailed early as Dolphins kicker Dan Carpenter got a 21-yard field goal. The Ravens would respond with kicker Matt Stover getting a 47-yard field goal. In the second quarter, Baltimore took the lead as LB Terrell Suggs returned an interception 44 yards for a touchdown. Miami would answer with Carpenter making a 26-yard field goal, yet the Ravens replied with rookie quarterback Joe Flacco completing an 11-yard TD pass to WR Derrick Mason.
In the third quarter, Baltimore increased its lead with Stover nailing a 28-yard field goal. The Dolphins tried to rally as quarterback Chad Pennington completed a 7-yard TD pass to WR Davone Bess. Fortunately for the Ravens, in the fourth quarter, the Ravens scored on a 5-yard TD run by RB Willis McGahee.
With the win, Baltimore improved to 3-3.
Coming off their road win over the Dolphins, the Ravens went home for a Week 8 duel with the Oakland Raiders. In the first quarter, Baltimore rookie LB Jameel McClain sacked Raiders quarterback JaMarcus Russell in his own endzone for a safety. In the second quarter, the Ravens increased their lead with a 1-yard TD run by RB Willis McGahee, a 70-yard TD pass to WR Demetrius Williams by rookie quarterback Joe Flacco, and a 38-yard field goal by kicker Matt Stover.
In the third quarter, Oakland responded with a 22-yard field goal by kicker Sebastian Janikowski, yet Baltimore answered with Stover 30-yard field goal. The Raiders tried to rally as Russell completed a 2-yard TD pass to RB Justin Griffith. In the fourth quarter, the Ravens extended their lead on a Flacco 12-yard TD run.
With the win, Baltimore improved to 4-3.
Coming off their home win over the Raiders, the Ravens traveled to Cleveland Browns Stadium for a Week 9 AFC North rematch with the Cleveland Browns. In the first quarter, Baltimore's first drive ended with a 41-yard field goal by kicker Matt Stover, while rookie quarterback Joe Flacco completed a 47-yard TD pass to WR Mark Clayton. The Browns immediately responded with WR Joshua Cribbs returning a kickoff 92 yards for a touchdown. In the second quarter, Cleveland tied the game with a 23-yard field goal by kicker Phil Dawson. The Ravens answered with Stover making a 32-yard field goal, yet the Browns closed out the half with Dawson making a 54-yard field goal.
In the third quarter, Cleveland took the lead as quarterback Derek Anderson completed a 28-yard TD pass to WR Braylon Edwards and a 7-yard TD pass to RB Jason Wright. Baltimore closed out the quarter with a 1-yard TD run by FB Le'Ron McClain. In the fourth quarter, the Ravens rallied with Flacco completing a 28-yard TD pass to WR Derrick Mason, Stover nailing a 22-yard field goal, and LB Terrell Suggs returning an interception 42 yards for a touchdown.
With the season-sweep, Baltimore improved to 5-3.
Coming off their season-sweep over the Browns, the Ravens flew to Reliant Stadium for a Week 10 duel with the Houston Texans. Both Baltimore and Houston were originally scheduled to play each other during Week 2 of the 2008 NFL season, but the game was rescheduled to Week 10 due to structural damage to Reliant Stadium, which was caused by Hurricane Ike. Week 10 was originally set to be the team's bye week. This contest would be the eighth of a record fifteen consecutive games for the Ravens.
In the first quarter, Baltimore took flight as rookie quarterback Joe Flacco completed a 43-yard TD pass to WR Yamon Figurs. In the second quarter, the Texans responded with a 23-yard field goal by kicker Kris Brown. The Ravens would punt on the ensuing drive, pinning the Texans at their 3-yard line. On the next play, Texans OT Duane Brown committed a holding penalty while in his own endzone, giving the Ravens a safety. Baltimore would increase their lead as rookie kicker Steven Hauschka got a 54-yard field goal. The Texans would close out the half as Brown nailed a 48-yard field goal.
In the third quarter, the Ravens increased their lead as RB Willis McGahee got a 1-yard TD run. Houston would answer as quarterback Sage Rosenfels completed a 60-yard TD pass to WR Kevin Walter. In the fourth quarter, Baltimore steamrolled their way to victory with Flacco completing a 1-yard TD pass to TE Todd Heap (with a two-point conversion pass to WR Derrick Mason), QB Troy Smith completing a 14-yard TD pass to Heap, and McGahee rushing four yards for a TD.
With the win, the Ravens improved to 6-3.
Coming off their road win over the Texans, the Ravens flew to Giants Stadium for a Week 11 interconference duel with the defending Super Bowl champions, the New York Giants. In the first quarter, Baltimore trailed early as Giants RB Brandon Jacobs got back-to-back 1-yard TD runs (with a failed PAT on the latter). In the second quarter, the Ravens continued to struggle as quarterback Eli Manning completed a 1-yard TD pass to TE Darcy Johnson. Baltimore closed out the half with kicker Matt Stover getting a 38-yard field goal.
In the third quarter, the Ravens tried to rally as rookie quarterback Joe Flacco completed a 10-yard TD pass to FB Le'Ron McClain. However, New York answered with CB Aaron Ross returning an interception 50 yards for a touchdown. In the fourth quarter, the Giants closed out the game as kicker Lawrence Tynes nailed a 19-yard field goal.
With the loss, Baltimore fell to 6-4.
The Ravens' top-ranked rushing defense gave up 207 yards, which is the most since October 1997 against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Hoping to rebound from their road loss to the Giants, the Ravens went home for a Week 12 interconference duel with the Philadelphia Eagles. Baltimore scored the first points of the game late in the second half with a 44-yard field goal by kicker Matt Stover, while rookie quarterback Joe Flacco and TE Daniel Wilcox connected on a 1-yard TD pass, set up by an interception by safety Ed Reed. The Eagles would close out the half with safety Quintin Demps returning a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown. In the third quarter, the Ravens answered with rookie LB Jameel McClain blocking a punt that resulted in a safety. In the fourth quarter, Baltimore scored additional unanswered points as Stover nailed a 42-yard field goal, Flacco completed a 53-yard TD pass to WR Mark Clayton, Reed set an NFL record with a 107-yard interception return for a touchdown, and FB Le'Ron McClain scored on a 1-yard TD run.
With the win, the Ravens improved to 7-4.
Coming off their home win over the Eagles, the Ravens flew to Paul Brown Stadium for a Week 13 AFC North rematch with the Cincinnati Bengals. In the first quarter, Baltimore scored first with a 27-yard field goal by kicker Matt Stover. In the second quarter, the Ravens increased their lead as Stover made a 21-yard field goal, while rookie quarterback Joe Flacco completed a 4-yard TD pass to TE Todd Heap. The Bengals would close out the half as kicker Shayne Graham nailed a 21-yard field goal.
In the third quarter, Baltimore pulled away as WR Mark Clayton (on a trick play) threw a 32-yard TD pass to WR Derrick Mason and caught a 70-yard TD pass from Flacco. In the fourth quarter, the Ravens sealed the victory as safety Jim Leonhard returned an interception 35 yards for a touchdown.
With the win, not only did Baltimore improve to 8-4, but they swept the season series from Cincinnati for the first time since 2002.
The Ravens wore their alternate uniforms in the game, hosting cross-conference rivals The Washington Redskins at M&T Bank Stadium. The Ravens scored early following an Ed Reed interception that set up a short touchdown pass from Joe Flacco to Le'Ron McClain. With just under ten minutes to go, Washington ran Clinton Portis up the middle for a first down, but Portis fumbled. Raven Ed Reed recovered the ball and advanced it for a touchdown; the Redskins unsuccessfully challenged, contending Portis was down by contact. Those would be the only points on the board for either team in the first half.
In the second half, a long Ravens drive beginning at just under eleven minutes to go in the third quarter set up a 32-yard Matt Stover field goal. The Redskins answered with a drive starting late in the third quarter and ending in the early fourth quarter that set up a 43-yard Shaun Suisham field goal. Receiving the kickoff, Baltimore ran just two plays before surrendering the ball to Washington on a Willis McGahee fumble that led to a short drive capped by a touchdown pass from Jason Campbell to Antwaan Randle El. Another kickoff led to a very long Baltimore drive that consumed most of the remaining time. Ten of twelve plays were runs by Le'Ron McClain. A 28-yard touchdown pass to Derrick Mason capped this drive. With three and a half minutes left, the Redskins next drive ended in an Ed Reed interception that enabled Baltimore to burn most of the remaining time. The Redskins took possession for their final series with 0:16 remaining but could not score.
With the win, Baltimore improved to 9-4.
Coming off their win over the Redskins, the Ravens stayed at home for a crucial Week 15 AFC North rematch with the Pittsburgh Steelers with the division title on the line.
After a scoreless first quarter, Baltimore scored in the second quarter with a 28-yard field goal by kicker Matt Stover. The Steelers would respond with a 31-yard field goal from kicker Jeff Reed, yet the Ravens gained the halftime lead as Stover kicked a 26-yard field goal. Baltimore would increase their lead in the third quarter as Stover made a 28-yard field goal. However, in the fourth quarter, Pittsburgh would win the game as Reed nailed a 30-yard field goal, followed by quarterback Ben Roethlisberger completing a 4-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Santonio Holmes.
With the loss, the Ravens fell to 9-5 being swept by the Steelers for the first time since 2002.
Hoping to rebound from an upsetting home loss to the Steelers, the Ravens flew to Texas Stadium for a Week 16 interconference duel with the Dallas Cowboys. Baltimore would trail early in the first quarter as Cowboys running back Tashard Choice got a 2-yard touchdown run. The Ravens would respond with a 26-yard field goal from kicker Matt Stover. In the second quarter, Baltimore would take the lead as Stover made a 29-yard and a 37-yard field goal. The Ravens would then use the third quarter to add onto their lead as rookie quarterback Joe Flacco completed a 13-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Derrick Mason. In the fourth quarter, Dallas would answer with kicker Nick Folk getting a 35-yard field goal, yet Baltimore equally answered with Stover's 35-yard field goal. The Cowboys would try to rally as quarterback Tony Romo completed a 7-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Terrell Owens, yet the Ravens immediately responded with running back Willis McGahee scoring on a 77-yard touchdown run. Dallas tried to come back as Romo completed a 21-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jason Witten, yet Baltimore closed out the game with fullback Le'Ron McClain rushing for an 82-yard touchdown (the longest TD run by a Cowboys opponent in Texas Stadium).
With the win, the Ravens kept their playoff hopes alive at 10-5.
With the New England Patriots leading the Buffalo Bills 13-0 late in the fourth quarter of their game, the Ravens knew at kick-off that the only sure way to secure the final AFC play-off berth would be to beat the Jaguars. The Ravens tallied 3 points on an opening drive that featured a 48-yard pass completion from Joe Flacco to Mark Clayton. With 55 seconds remaining in the 1st quarter, the Jaguars answered with a David Garrard pass to Alvin Pearman for 23-yard touchdown. The Ravens running game dominated the second quarter with Le'Ron McClain scoring two touchdowns and Willis McGahee adding a third. The Ravens defense, featuring a Ray Lewis fumble recovery and an Ed Reed interception, shutout the Jaguars the rest of the game with Matt Stover adding a second-half field goal.
With the win, the Ravens completed the regular season at 11-5 and secured the sixth and final playoff spot in the AFC. They traveled to Miami, Florida to play the AFC East division champion Miami Dolphins.
|Wild Card Round||Sunday, January 4, 2009||Miami Dolphins||W 27-9||1-0||Dolphin Stadium|
|Divisional Round||Saturday, January 10, 2009||Tennessee Titans||W 13-10||2-0||LP Field|
|AFC Championship||Sunday, January 18, 2009||Pittsburgh Steelers||L 14-23||2-1||Heinz Field|
Entering the postseason as the AFC's sixth seed, the Ravens began their playoff run at Dolphin Stadium in the AFC Wild Card round against the #3 Miami Dolphins, a rematch of their game played during Week 7 of the 2008 season. Baltimore trailed early in the first quarter as Dolphins kicker Dan Carpenter hit a 19-yard field goal. The Ravens responded with 2:52 left in the first quarter when Matt Stover drove a ball through the uprights from 23-yards. In the second quarter, Baltimore took the lead when safety Ed Reed intercepted a Chad Pennington pass and returned it 64 yards for a touchdown. Stover nailed a 31-yard field goal after quarterback Joe Flacco hit Derrick Mason with a 31-yard bomb.
In the third quarter, the Ravens increased their lead as running back Le'Ron McClain got an 8-yard touchdown run. Miami tried to rally in the fourth quarter as quarterback Chad Pennington completed a 2-yard touchdown pass to running back Ronnie Brown (Extra point no good) . With 4:00 left, the Ravens shut the door when Flacco scooted 5 yards on a quarterback draw for a touchdown.
With the win, the Ravens improved their overall record to 12-5 and traveled to Nashville to play the Tennessee Titans in the divisional round of the play-offs.
Baltimore's defense forced five turnovers from a Dolphins squad that only committed 13 turnovers throughout the entire regular season.
The Titans struck first with 4:45 remaining in the 1st quarter, with running back Chris Johnson capping off a 65-yard drive with an 8-yard touchdown run. The Ravens responded with an 80-yard drive, ending with a 48-yard touchdown pass from rookie quarterback Joe Flacco to wide receiver Derrick Mason. Both teams' defense dominated the 2nd and 3rd quarters with neither team scoring. Early in the 4th quarter, Baltimore kicker Matt Stover got a 21-yard field goal, which gave the Ravens a three-point lead. Tennessee would try to respond, by going 10 plays and using up 5 minutes of clock to drive down inside the Ravens 10-yard line, but Collin's pass to Crumpler was fumbled and recovered by Ravens' cornerback Fabian Washington at the Ravens' 1. Unable to move the ball, the Ravens punted the ball back to the Titans. From the Ravens 42, Tennessee drove down inside the 10-yard line again, but settled for a 27-yard field goal from kicker Rob Bironas to tie the game at 10-10. With 4:17 left in the game, the Ravens started a drive from their own 26-yard line. On a crucial 3rd and 2, Flacco completed a 23-yard pass to tight end Todd Heap. The drive ended with Stover kicking a 43-yard field goal to give the Ravens the lead with :57 remaining in the game. The Ravens' defense then held, preserving the victory.
With the win, not only did Baltimore improve their overall record to 13-5, but they also advanced to the AFC Championship Game against their AFC North Rival, the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Joe Flacco became the first quarterback in NFL history to win two playoff games in his rookie year.
Coming off their road win over the top-seeded Titans, the Ravens flew to Heinz Field for the AFC Championship Game against their hated divisional rival, the #2 Pittsburgh Steelers (in Round 3 of their 2008 series).
Baltimore would trail early in the first quarter as Steelers kicker Jeff Reed kicked a 34-yard and a 42-yard field goal. Pittsburgh would add onto their lead in the second quarter as quarterback Ben Roethlisberger completed a 65-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Santonio Holmes. The Ravens would close out the half as running back Willis McGahee scored a touchdown on a 3-yard run.
In the third quarter, the Steelers would respond to Baltimore's score with Reed nailing a 46-yard field goal. The Ravens would creep closer as McGahee rushed for a 1-yard touchdown. However, in the fourth quarter, Pittsburgh pulled away as safety Troy Polamalu returned an interception 40 yards for a touchdown. Baltimore tried to mount a comeback, but the Steelers' defense was too much to overcome.
With the loss, the Ravens' season ended with an overall record of 13-6.
McGahee, near the end of the fourth quarter, was in a vicious collision with Pittsburgh safety Ryan Clark. He was conscious, yet had to be carted off the field, due to some neck pains. On January 19, 2009, the Ravens released news that McGahee is expected to make a full recovery.