Ravens' road to Super Bowl glory
A game-by-game look at Baltimore's bumpy path to the championship
Week 6: Ravens 15, Jaguars 10
Another stifling defensive performance coupled with a career day for kicker Matt Stover helped the Ravens march to their first victory in Jacksonville.
Touchdowns were again at a premium, and the Jaguars scored the only one of the game, but it wasn't enough to overcome five field goals by Stover. The kicker matched his career high in field goals, and the Ravens' defense set a franchise mark with six take-aways, including fumble recoveries by linebacker Ray Lewis, cornerback Robert Bailey and defensive end Michael McCrary. Safeties Rod Woodson and Kim Herring and cornerback Chris McAlister each picked off Jaguars quarterback Mark Brunell.
"There's something special about this defensive group," coach Brian Billick said. "There's something special about this team. Yes, I would like to have done a few more things [offensively] to contribute. [But] if our job is to do just that, then that's what it's going to be."
The Ravens were without Pro Bowl tackle Jonathan Ogden ( sprained ankle), and center Jeff Mitchell was forced to leave with a high ankle sprain in the first quarter. After losing two of their best offensive linemen, the Ravens' stout rushing attack suffered. Running back Jamal Lewis was held to 44 yards on 17 carries, and Priest Holmes touched the ball twice for minus-6 yards.
Player of the Game: K Matt Stover – five field goals
Week 7: Redskins 10, Ravens 3
Landover – FedEx Field
A suddenly stagnant Ravens offense failed to score a touchdown for the third consecutive week in a loss to the Washington Redskins.
After yielding a 33-yard touchdown run to Redskins running back Stephen Davis early in the fourth quarter, the Ravens relinquished their hold on first place in the AFC Central and had scored only one touchdown through their first five road games. Quarterback Tony Banks faced first-and-goal from the 1-yard line with 10 seconds remaining in the first half but threw an interception to Redskins linebacker Kevin Mitchell that halted the Ravens' best scoring opportunity of the game.
"This here is ridiculous," tight end Shannon Sharpe said. "I'm very disappointed. I just told Tony: 'You're going to get all the blame, and you have to understand that. But you can't get down on yourself.'"
Banks went 16-for-27 passing for 135yards, and running back Jamal Lewis gained just 34 yards on 16 carries. Matt Stover again provided the Ravens' only offense of the game with a 51-yard field goal in the second quarter.
Player of the Game: OLB Jamie Sharper – forced fumble
Week 8: Titans 14, Ravens 6
Quarterback Tony Banks threw three interceptions, and the Ravens' touchdown drought reached four games.
Tennessee Titans linebacker Randall Godfrey intercepted Banks twice, including one returned 24 yards for a touchdown. After throwing his third interception in four third-quarter possessions, Banks was pulled in favor of backup Trent Dilfer. The Ravens nearly scored on Dilfer's 33-yard pass to wide receiver Qadry Ismail on fourth down after failing to record a touchdown in the previous 17quarters with Banks. But the pass was ruled incomplete when an official review determined that Ismail failed to keep both feet inbounds.
"It's like a hex on us at the goal line now," right tackle Harry Swayne said. "It's like spirits come down to spook on us. They say, 'Not today.'"