It's not the merriest of Decembers here in Baltimore, as the Ravens are in the unfamiliar position of being under .500 so late in the season. But let's look back to better days right now, and with the Ravens going up against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, it's only appropriate that today's flashback is of the 2008 AFC Wild Card game.
Both of these teams were having amazing bounce-back seasons. The Ravens had won 11 games in 2008 after managing to win only five in 2007. John Harbaugh was the new coach in town and they had a promising young quarterback in Joe Flacco. The Ravens' fierce defense and three-headed rushing attack made life easy for the young Flacco.
The Dolphins were coming back from a 2007 season that had them go 1-15. The Dolphins hired new coach Tony Sparano and they signed quarterback Chad Pennington from the New York Jets. Like the Ravens, the Dolphins won games with a powerful running game, stingy defense, and efficient play from their quarterback. Unlike the Ravens, the Dolphins were hosting a playoff game, as the Dolphins won the AFC East, while the Ravens could not steal the divisional crown from Pittsburgh.
The Ravens would get off to a rough start, as Le'Ron McClain fumbled the ball and Dolphins linebacker Joey Porter took it back to midfield. The Dolphins would drive down to the Ravens' one-yard line, but the defense held Miami to a field goal. On the next drive, the Ravens would get down to the Dolphins' five-yard line after a Joe Flacco completed a pass to Todd Heap for 35 yards. The Ravens would kick a field goal to tie the game at 3-3.
The Ravens took control of the game in the middle of the second quarter after Ed Reed intercepted a Chad Pennington pass and took it back 64 yards for a touchdown. The defense would force the Dolphins to punt on their next drive. On the next Ravens drive Joe Flacco threw a 31 yard pass to Derrick Mason to set up another Matt Stover field goal. The Ravens entered the half with a 13-3 lead.
Things didn't get any better for the Dolphins, as the Ravens forced a fumble that Terrell Suggs recovered at the Dolphins' 19- yard line. Three plays later, Le'Ron McClain ran for a touchdown from eight yards out. The Dolphins would respond by driving down to the Ravens 13-yard line, only for Chad Pennington to throw an interception to Ed Reed.
The Dolphins tried to come back in the fourth quarter, as Chad Pennington threw a 45-yard pass to Davone Bess that set up a two-yard touchdown pass to Ronnie Brown. Even that didn't go right, as Frank Walker blocked the extra point. The Dolphins were unable to keep up their momentum, as the Ravens would shut out the Dolphins' offense. Le'Ron McClain would have a 48 yard run that would set up a five yard touchdown run from Joe Flacco.
The Ravens defense forced five turnovers from a Dolphins' offense that gave up an NFL-low 13. The Ravens held the vaunted Dolphins' run game to only 50 yards on 21 carries. The Ravens ran all over the Dolphins' offense, as they had 151 yards and two touchdowns off of 33 carries. This was the first postseason win for the Ravens since the 2001 Wild Card game, which also came at the expense of the Dolphins.
The Ravens would go on to make the AFC Championship Game. They lost the game, but they would go on to do bigger and better things. The Ravens might not be able to make it to the playoffs this year, but they can right the ship and try to have another amazing comeback in 2016.