Reborn Ravens dismantle Patriots, head to Super Bowl

A football team dismissed just five weeks ago finds its legs with a warrior king and a boy with a golden arm.

ravens celebration federal hill

“Federal Hill is going BANANAS,” wrote the Twitterer who posted this shot last night.

Photo by: Twitter

During Ray Lewis’ last game at Ravens Stadium against the Colts a few weeks ago, there was an incredible feeling in the air.

The beautiful sky above M&T Bank Stadium was rife with possibilities. There was the sense that whatever happened in the last 17 weeks was well in the past. You were forced to ponder what it was going to take to get someone so powerful off the field for good.

A new season began that day – Ray’s season.

Since then, the Ravens have defied the critics and the oddsmakers. They have beaten two of the greatest quarterbacks in the history of the game in Manning and Brady. Five weeks ago, they weren’t part of the postseason discussion.

The Ravens believed, and so did we.

It wasn’t the New England Patriot’s high-octane offense or their brand of finesse football that prevailed yesterday.

It came down to a linebacker on a mission and a quarterback who silenced his faultfinders with each impeccable throw.

Ray Lewis in his eyeblack-facial-makeup warrior mode. (Photo by

Ray Lewis in his eyeblack-facial-makeup warrior mode. (Photo by

Propelled by the performance of Ray Lewis and Joe Flacco, the game was decided by a few critical plays.

Anquan Boldin snatched two touchdowns out of the air and nearly everything thrown to him by Flacco.

A crushing hit by Bernard Pollard separated the ball from Patriots running back Steven Ridley and that turned the momentum in our favor for good.

The 165th player selected in the 2011 draft named Pernell McPhee tipped a pass that landed in the mitts of Dannell Ellerbe – all but nailing the Patriots coffin shut.

“It was a team victory,” said John Harbaugh.

Imagine Bourbon Street arrayed in purple and black. Fans in purple beads and bird masks. The Ravens are winging their way to the Big Easy to face the San Francisco 49ers in Superbowl XLVII.

“If only you knew,” Ray Lewis told reporters after the game. “We built a certain way. We got each other’s back.”

Cutting it Loose

After a sluggish first half that found them trailing 13-7, the Ravens regrouped in the locker room.

They withstood the onslaught of a Patriots offense that went out of its way to try and burn them with gimmicks. They had seen the highway billboard announcing Ray Lewis’ retirement.

They came out in the third quarter and physically overpowered the Patriots on both sides of the ball for the next 30 minutes en route to a 28-13 victory. “We cut it loose in the second half,” said Harbaugh.

Tweeted by Amy W, after the Ravens win AFC championship.

Tweeted by Amy W last night, after the Ravens win AFC championship.

Offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell expanded the playbook, and the Ravens carved up the Patriots defense.

Joe Flacco was flawless, completing 21-36 passes for 240 yards. In his sixth year, he has run his record as a starter to 62-30 and he is taking his team to the Superbowl.

The Ravens defense stepped up the pressure and caused three turnovers.

When Carey Williams intercepted a Tom Brady pass late in the 4th quarter, he ran off the field and gave the ball to Ray Lewis, whose career will now end at the Superbowl in New Orleans.

“We’re doing this for Ray,” said Ray Rice.

It’s rare that a football team or even a person in life gets to go back to the exact place where they failed with the chance to settle the same score the next year. This time, there were no dropped touchdown passes. There were no missed field goals. There was no retirement for Lewis.

Ride home scene, tweeted by player Paul Kruger.

Ride home scene, tweeted by player Paul Kruger.

Adding to the drama, his career – and the Ravens season – will end in a match of the coaching wits of brother against brother.

Brother v. Brother

Taught by their father Jack Harbaugh, a former college player and coach, John and Jim both value similar elements of football.

Their styles are similar – each team has a punishing defense and a balanced offense that uses the pass and the run to beat you.

“Our teams are mirror images of each other,” said our Harbaugh, John.

After the game, Joe Flacco stayed focused on the task at hand. His words were few – similar to a humble and laconic quarterback who enthralled us for decades named Unitas.

“We got one more to go,” he said. “We have a pretty good football team in Baltimore and we’re playing really well.”

Be sure to check our full comment policy before leaving a comment.

  • July 31, 2015

    • Denita N. Hill hit upon a simple scheme to defraud the City of Baltimore. From her position as an accountant at the Finance Department’s payroll services bureau, she reissued “lost” employee checks to a friend, who then forged their names and deposited the checks into his own account. What made the scheme possible, according to […]

  • July 30, 2015

    • The city jail, a forbidding fixture of the East Baltimore skyline for more than 150 years, may be torn down under a plan announced this afternoon by Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan. Calling the facility “a disgrace” and “deplorable,” Hogan said the state facility would be shut down as soon as possible. The roughly 900 male […]

  • July 29, 2015

    • After weeks of stewing over Gov. Larry Hogan’s rejection of the Red Line, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake today said she has authorized the city’s transportation director to start looking for alternatives to the $2.9 billion light-rail plan. Asked for specifics, the mayor said just about everything is up in the air except her goal to “improve […]

  • July 27, 2015

  • July 26, 2015

    • It was the classic source of guns for a gun swap – family-owned firearms lying around the house, gathering dust and making their owners vaguely nervous. “My father passed away and I didn’t want them in my house, I wanted to get rid of them anyway,” said Baltimore resident Mitch Radford, Sr.,  at the “Computers […]

More of the Daily Drip »

Below the Fold

  • December 15, 2014

    •   “Ha ha, so not a surprise.” “Shocking…not!!” We get applause but also the occasional eye-roll these days for our accountability reporting – like last week’s piece about how tax cuts promised by the mayor as a selling point for Horseshoe Baltimore probably won’t happen, thanks to the casino’s lower-than-expected revenues. We get where the […]