I don't know why, but I have been thinking back to the 2007 season recently. Most Ravens fans probably want to forget it, but I think that there is alot we can learn about the Ravens foundation by looking back. Last season, many people thought that the Ravens came out of no where, but I disagree. In 2007, many of the pieces that made the Ravens a playoff team remained, but the Ravens had a horrible string of injuries and an uncertain QB situation. However, our foundation was still good. More than any other game, the game versus New England personified the Ravens 2007 season. The heart and talent that they played with was a testament to the caliber of the team, but the unbelievably bad luck at the end of the game showed why the Ravens finished with a 5-11 record.
Even though it was a loss, the game we played against the Patriots was the best game that we played all season. I think that it was one of the finest games in Raven's history, and because of the large audience, it will always be one of the most memorable. The loss was insignificant. The way the Ravens played was legendary. In the face of adversity, grief and injuries, the Ravens dominated one of the most prolific teams in history. In a way, we can see the heart and foundation of the team through this game.
Yes, I would have loved to win the game at the time, but looking back, we can now see that the Patriots were destined to make their first loss a bigger one. Whether it was punishment for spygate, revenge for the Ravens or just the biggest choke in NFL history, the Patriots lost and their dreams of perfection were shattered. The following is a summarization of that Monday night game versus the New England Patriots on December 3, 2007:
In what might likely be viewed as the 2007 Ravens' last stand, and finest moment, they faced the New England Patriots, in Baltimore, on Monday Night Football. In what seemed like a fated meeting, it seemed as if everything was going right for the Ravens for the first time all season, as the entire team played to near perfection, the defense sacking Tom Brady (who was otherwise rarely sacked all season) multiple times, Willis McGahee having a career game, and even Devard Darling, who had beforehand rarely shown much life in his four seasons with the Ravens, managed to step up big time.
And most impressive of all, Kyle Boller, behind and unusually steady offensive line, managed to match Tom Brady play for play, both QBs ending the game with 2 TDs and 1 INT, but Boller actually managed to get the upper hand in the contest, as his final QB rating was 105.3 to Brady's 73. It was arguably the best game of Kyle's young career, outplaying what many were calling the best Quarterback in the NFL, in a Monday Night Football game that drew in the highest ratings of the program's history. Sadly, in what seemed like the theme of the entire season, the Ravens suffered painful heartbreak, as a brave defensive stand on 4th and 1, in which they managed to stop the Patriots not once, but twice, were both negated, first on a time out called by defensive coordinator Rex Ryan, and then again by an alleged holding penalty against the Patriots. Inevitably, Tom Brady finally made good on what many argued was a questionable TD pass, and after an emotional meltdown that cost the Ravens severe yardage on the following kickoff, even in the final moments of the game the Ravens had a chance to win the game, as Boller heaved a 52 yard "Hail Mary" pass downfield, which was caught by Mark Clayton. Unfortunately, as time expired, he was stopped, 2 yards short of the end zone, and the Ravens lost one of their finest games in franchise history.