A team of destiny, the Baltimore Ravens were going to reach the Super Bowl either way, injuries, losses and what not. Any team that plays at the Philadelphia Eagles on the Eagles’ home opener makes and wins the Super Bowl. At least that’s what the past three seasons tell us, regardless of the road the Ravens took to reach the big game.
The Ravens finished the 2012 regular season with an 11-5 record, winning the AFC North division for the second straight year. The first three quarters of the season went pretty well, even better than planned: They won the opener against the Bengals in impressive fashion (44-13) before losing to the Philadelphia Eagles by one point the next week. They then won four consecutive games against the Patriots, Browns, Chiefs and Cowboys, showing a lot of inconsistency on offense.
The next week, after injuries on defense, including to Ray Lewis, were too much to deal with, they were dealt a heavy blow in Houston, losing to the Texans 13-43. They rebounded well from that one, winning four consecutive games against the Browns, Raiders, at Pittsburgh and at San Diego. The ending wasn’t as impressive, which included the replacing of their offensive coordinator, dropping three of their last four games, losing to Pittsburgh, Washington, Denver and Cincinnati, squeezing a win against the New York Giants.
The Ravens began with a 24-9 win at home against the Indianapolis Colts in the Wild Card Round. Joe Flacco threw for 282 yards and two touchdowns, Bernard Pierce ran for 103 yards, Anquan Boldin caught 5 passes for 145 yards and a touchdown while the defense held the Colts to only 4.9 yards per passing play, forcing a turnover on Luck and not allowing a single touchdown.
In the divisional round the Ravens traveled to Denver and beat the Broncos 38-35 in overtime, thanks to Justin Tucker’s field goal. Flacco was once again huge, throwing for 331 yards and three touchdown passes; Ray Rice ran for 131 yards and a score; Torrey Smith caught two touchdown passes. The defenses forced 3 turnovers on the Broncos, including two interceptions by Peyton Manning.
Against the New England Patriots, the Ravens finally climbed over their AFC Championship game border, beating the home team 28-13. Flacco threw for 240 yards and three touchdown passes, two of them caught by Boldin. They intercepted Tom Brady twice and got to him with 7 quarterback hits.
Joe Flacco has thrown 8 touchdown passes and 0 interceptions in the postseason; They lead all postseason teams with 6 sacks and 5 interceptions in the playoffs, also forcing more turnovers than any other team. They average 424.7 yards per game in the playoffs, fifth among the postseason teams, and their 4.3 yards per attempt are among the lowest this postseason. Flacco’s passer rating of 114.7 is the highest among the playoffs quarterbacks, and his 9.2 yards per attempt are third behind Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick.