The Ravens are heading into another game against the Raiders and they hope that this one will end differently than last year’s confrontation. So it only makes sense that our first Throwback Thursday is about a matchup against the Raiders. Today’s throwback will go back to the 2000 AFC Championship, where the Ravens dominated their way to their first ever Super Bowl appearance.
The 2000 season was the fifth season for the Baltimore Ravens, but it was also a season of firsts. It was the first winning season for the Ravens, it was the first playoff season for the Ravens, and it was the first Super Bowl for the Ravens.
The Ravens’ legendary defense and an amazing rookie season from runningback Jamal Lewis had taken the Ravens to the playoffs and led them to dominant wins over the Denver Broncos and Tennessee Titans in the Wild Card and Divisional Games. The Ravens’ path to Tampa took them to the infamous Black Hole, where John Gruden’s Raiders were waiting.
The Raiders had boasted the third best offense in the league that year, led by All-Pro quarterback Rich Gannon, runningback Tyrone Wheatley, and Hall of Fame receiver Tim Brown.
But it didn’t help the Raiders that day.
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When the AFC Championship rolled around, the Raiders would only be able to generate 191 yards of total offense and three points. The Ravens defense had four interceptions that day and Tony Siragusa knocked Rich Gannon out of the game on a controversial hit.
The biggest play for either team was when Trent Dilfer threw a short pass on third and 18 from his own four yard line and tight end Shannon Sharpe took it 96 yard for the game’s only touchdown. The Raiders’ only points came after a Trent Dilfer interception. The Raiders drove down to the Ravens’ two, but they were unable to enter the endzone. Tyrone Wheatley was taken down for a one yard loss, Jamie Sharper sacked Rich Gannon on second down, and Rich Gannon’s third down pass fell incomplete. The Ravens defense held the Raiders to just three.
The Raiders looked like they were going to make it a game late in the fourth quarter when Andre Rison caught a five yard touchdown, but it was called back on an offensive pass interference penalty. On the next play, Jamie Sharper would intercept a pass and the Ravens were on their way to Super Bowl XXXV.
Let’s hope that the Ravens not only dominate the Raiders, but that they can have another Super Bowl season.