Ravens' road to Super Bowl glory
A game-by-game look at Baltimore's bumpy path to the championship
Player of the Game: MLB Ray Lewis – interception, seven tackles
Nashville, Tenn. – Adelphia Coliseum
A pair of improbable fourth-quarter touchdowns sent the Ravens to an AFC championship game matchup with the Oakland Raiders.
Defensive lineman Keith Washington tipped a 37-yard field-goal attempt by the Tennessee Titans' Al Del Greco, and first-year special teams player Anthony Mitchell returned the ball 90yards for a touchdown that broke a tie at 10. Less than six minutes later, linebacker Ray Lewis intercepted Tennessee quarterback Steve McNair and charged 50 yards for his first career touchdown.
"It's a long time coming, but I feel like it is our time," Ravens defensive end Rob Burnett said. "Every dog has his day, so to speak. Or every bird has his day would be a better way to put it."
The Ravens entered the red zone only once, on a drive that ended with a 1-yard touchdown run by Jamal Lewis. The Titans, meanwhile, penetrated the Ravens' redzone four times but scored only 10 points on those drives. Del Greco suffered blocks of field-goal attempts from 45 and 37 yards and hit the left upright from 31 yards.
Player of the Game: DB Anthony Mitchell – returned a tipped field-goal attempt for a 90-yard touchdown
Championship Game: Ravens 16, Raiders 3
Oakland, Calif. – Network Associates Coliseum
Trent Dilfer's 96-yard touchdown pass to Shannon Sharpe set an NFL playoff record for longest passing play and helped the Ravens clinch a spot in the Super Bowl with a victory over the Oakland Raiders.
The Ravens' defense held Oakland's league-leading rushing attack to 24yards on 17 carries, and defensive tackle Tony Siragusa flattened the Raiders' Rich Gannon in the second quarter, forcing the quarterback to leave the game.
"Can defense win the Super Bowl? Damn right, defense can win the Super Bowl," Siragusa said. "But you can't count our offense out. They made big plays today."
The Ravens' duo of Jamal Lewis and Priest Holmes combined for 110 yards on the ground, and Dilfer completed nine of 18 passes for 190 yards. Matt Stover booted field goals of 31, 28 and 21 yards, and the defense held Oakland to a 24-yard field goal by Sebastian Janikowski in the third quarter.
Player of the Game: TE Shannon Sharpe – 96-yard touchdown reception in second quarter stands as the NFL record for longest pass in the postseason