While recency bias might lead some to believe that the Ravens peaked in 2012 and have since faded into mediocrity, that is far from the truth. Instead, the Ravens have done the unusual and remained strong competitors after their Super Bowl victory. Let's recap some of their greatest victories after winning the big game.
After marching through a Peyton Manning led Broncos team and AFC championship rematch with New England in route to the 2012 Super Bowl Championship, the Ravens exorcised their final demon as they beat the Steelers on the road in the playoffs for for first time in four tries, avenging multiple heart breaking playoff losses early in Joe Flacco's career.
Joe Flacco played an efficient game and lead a well rounded offensive effort. Torrey Smith and Crockett Gillmore each caught touchdowns, Steve Smith broke 100 yards receiving and Owen Daniels made some big catches on 3rd down.
The Ravens defense was superb, sacking Ben Roethlisberger five times, including two sacks from Elvis Dumervil and a sack apiece from Haloti Ngata, Courtney Upshaw and Brandon Williams. The physical beating took its toll on Big Ben, he threw interceptions to Terrell Suggs and Darian Stewart, sealing the victory for Baltimore.
2. December 16, 2013 : Ravens 18, Lions 16
Winning on Monday Night Football is never easy, especially when going on the road against a team with a winning record.
The Ravens offense was held out of the end zone all game, but managed to win a back and forth game on the leg of Justin Tucker. Joe Flacco, Ray Rice and Jacoby Jones moved the ball on offense but were unable to finish drives with touchdowns. On defense, Jimmy Smith shadowed Calvin Johnson effectively. Matt Elam, Daryl Smith and DeAngelo Tyson each caught an interception from Matthew Stafford.
Justin Tucker hit his sixth field goal of the game, a 61 yarder to put the Ravens ahead for good with less than two minutes remaining in the 4th quarter. This win put the Ravens in control of a wildcard playoff spot, unfortunately they lost the final two games of the season to break their streak of five straight trips to the postseason.
3. September 11, 2014 : Ravens 26, Steelers 6
Only three days after Ray Rice was released, the Ravens beat their archival by 20 points at home.
The Ravens defense lead the way in this matchup, keeping Ben Roethlisberger out of the end zone while forcing him into a Haloti Ngata interception while also holding Le'Veon Bell to under 60 yards rushing and Antonio Brown under 100 receiving yards. C.J. Mosley and Daryl Smith each forced a lost fumble and Elvis Dumervil earned two sacks.
Joe Flacco threw two touchdown passes to Owen Daniels. Bernard Pierce and Justin Forsett combined for over 150 yards rushing. This early season showdown foreshadowed the matchup between these teams in the 2014 playoffs.
4. December 7, 2014 : Ravens 28, Dolphins 13
John Harbaugh's aggressiveness was rewarded with a big road win that gave the Ravens an advantage in the playoff hunt.
Very slow start for the Ravens offense in this one, they finally found their rhythm on a scoring drive late in the 2nd quarter that culminated with a Steve Smith touchdown reception. Harbaugh decided to go for it on fourth down while trailing and on the wrong side of midfield in the third quarter. The gamble paid off, leading to a Flacco to Kamar Aiken touchdown pass.
Baltimore's defense put heavy pressure on Ryan Tannehill all game, Elvis Dumervil posted 3.5 sacks, Terrell Suggs had 1.5 sacks and C.J. Mosley with a sack. The Ravens salted the game away on the ground with rushing touchdowns from Justin Forsett and Joe Flacco. This win put the Ravens in the driver's seat for a playoff berth.
5. December 27, 2015: Ravens 20, Steelers 17
Playing for pride and honor, the Ravens rode backup personnel to pull off the stunning upset.
Backup quarterback Ryan Mallett dissected the Steelers defense for 274 yards and a Chris Matthews touchdown pass. Buck Allen chipped in 77 yards rushing and a touchdown on the ground. Kamar Aiken and Kyle Juszczyk paced the aerial attack, each besting 50 yards receiving.
The Ravens defense was stout against Pittsburgh's explosive offense. Timmy Jernigan, Za'Darius Smith and Courtney Upshaw each recorded a sack, C.J. Mosley forced a fumble that Upshaw recovered. Jimmy Smith and Daryl Smith each caught interceptions while holding the Steelers fearsome receivers in check. This win represented best moment in a lost season.
Honorable Mention: October 12, 2014 : Ravens 48, Buccaneers 17
A dominant performance on the road is downgraded for level of competition.
Joe Flacco was in playoff form, throwing for 306 yards and five touchdowns, four in the first quarter alone. Torrey Smith caught the first two touchdowns, Kamar Aiken, Michael Campanaro and Steve Smith were the other touchdown recipients.
The Ravens defense notched five sacks from Pernell McPhee, Terrell Suggs, Elvis Dumervil, Brandon Williams and Daryl Smith respectively. Jimmy Smith corralled an interception and Justin Forsett totaled 111 rushing yards.
What is the common threat running through these marquee victories? The Ravens defense pressuring the quarterback and forcing turnovers. Consider this when making your NFL draft wish lists...