When you look not only at the history of this great rivalry as well as the complete history of the Baltimore Ravens, was there a better regular season win in the team's history than last night's 23-20 comeback over the Pittsburgh Steelers? Not only was this the win huge for the 2011 season, but in terms of what it means to sweep the season series as well as have that type of comeback at Heinz Field, it also perhaps changes the entire flavor of the rivalry.
All too often the Ravens have been on the losing end of this type of comeback. Pittsburgh QB Ben Roethlisberger has done this to Baltimore over and over in his career and many Steelers faithful thought he had done it again until Ravens QB Joe Flacco led his teammates on a 92-yard, 13-play game winning drive culminating by a 26-yard TD pass into the gut of rookie WR Torrey Smith after he had dropped more than a few of Joe's perfect passes earlier in the game.
Take a look back at the best games in the Ravens regular season history and try to point out a better, much less more important victory. It's just not fair to include the post season, as nothing is more important than a Super Bowl win, which is the ultimate win. However, in the regular season, this has to rank among, if not the best ever.
The Ravens beat the Tennessee Titans in the 2000 regular season on the Titans home field where they had never lost before on their way to their Super Bowl 35 victory. At that time, it was easily their greatest win ever. They went to Pittsburgh last year and pulled out a thrilling last minute victory, certainly a great win, but not on national TV and without Ben Roethlisberger playing.
This game was for the lead in the AFC North, the revenge game for Pittsburgh after their humiliating 35-7 loss in the season's opening game. It was on national TV and everyone was expecting a Steelers win, especially based on how well Pittsburgh has been playing and how lackluster the Ravens had played lately. I made it a point in yesterday's column that regardless of the recent play, you can throw all stats out the window when these two teams get together.
It was another one for the ages last night and will surely rank among the best ever in Ravens franchise history, regardless of where the team goes from here. For Ravens fans, it was the perfect storm. Baltimore going into Pittsburgh on prime time, where they regularly lay an egg, in front of the entire league and country, with an announcing duo obviously biased towards the Steelers and after just one more nightmarish mistake that reminded so many of past losses in these games, the team regroups and moves downfield on what could also be considered the greatest single drive in team history, certainly the best by QB Joe Flacco. for the last second win.
The best win ever for the Baltimore Ravens franchise? That's up for debate, but for now, it certainly gives the season opener a run for its money as the best of 2011. Based on how, when and where they did it, it is the best ever in this writer's opinion. So, what do you think?