Originally written on The Sports Headquarters  |  Last updated 11/15/14
After the dust had settled on the Baltimore Ravens shattering end to the 2011 season, there was plenty of reason to be confident that they could go one better in 2012. If not for a few unlucky breaks and poor execution, they would have been facing the Giants in Indianapolis so it was not farfetched to think the team was not far off a championship appearance. Instead of going out and making a big splash in free agency, the Ravens focused on replenishing their depth and working with the guys who have brought them success so far. Their return game received a boost with the addition of receiver Jacoby Jones while cornerback Corey Graham turned into an unexpected contributor due to injuries. Their draft class brought in several other contributors too with each of their first four picks having some sort of impact on the team’s season. Their regular season debut came on Monday Night Football where they debuted a fast-paced offense unlike anything the Ravens had seen, overall it bore great fruit as they hammered the Bengals 44-13. The next week saw a controversial loss to the Eagles before a Sunday Night AFC Championship Rematch with New England which this time, saw their last second field goal just go in for a 31-30 win. A four game winning streak ensued which ended with a 31-29 win over Dallas at me which saw Ray Lewis exit with a torn triceps which should have ended his season. The following week’s trip to Houston saw the return of Terrell Suggs in record time from an Achillies tear but it was not enough as the Texans hammered them 43-13 to send them to their bye at 5-2 and still feeling good about their chances, despite the mounting injury toll on their defense. Their bye came at the perfect time and allowed them to reset and regroup for a second half run at the top overall seed in the AFC to give them the best possible chance at going to the Super Bowl. A four game winning streak out of their bye had them showing some impressive signs as the games became more and more important. A win in Cleveland was followed by a 35 point hammering of Oakland before a win in Pittsburgh over a Steelers team missing Big Ben. Their ninth win of the season came in extremely fortunate circumstances over San Diego where Ray Rice barely converted a 4th and 29 on the game-tying drive. While they were 9-2 and holding the second seed, there were signs that this Ravens team was barely holding on in the race for the playoffs. A loss to the Roethlisberger-less Steelers at home started off a late season skid which had many writing off their championship credentials. The lone bright spot of their December was a 33-14 win over the New York Giants to essentially eliminate them from the playoffs. Their week 17 loss to the Bengals served as little more than a preseason game and a de facto bye as they stumbled into the playoffs in the fourth seed, drawing the former Baltimore franchise, the Colts, in the opening round. Before the Wild Card game against the Colts, the Ravens received the ultimate motivational boost to counter Indianapolis’s Chuckstrong campaign. Ray Lewis, the heart, soul and several other important organs of the Ravens team decided that these playoffs would be his final stand as an NFL player as he made a miraculous return from his triceps injury. His impact on the defense was instantly noticeable in his return as he ended the Colts fairytale run to book a trip to Denver for the divisional round. In the divisional round, Joe Flacco had a coming out party against Peyton Manning. In sub-freezing temperatures Flacco outperformed Manning and carried his offense to an overtime victory. The fifth period was only necessary thanks to a spectacular bomb down the right sideline to Jacoby Jones to tie the game with 30 seconds to play. That lead to a rematch with the New England Patriots for the AFC Championship back in the place where last season ended. Somehow the Patriots were overwhelming favourites for the game but that would count for nothing once the game started. Instead of going out and seeking revenge on the Patriots, the Ravens produced a calm, calculated, efficient and surprisingly dominating performance. Once again Flacco outperformed a future hall of famer, this time Tom Brady, and showed remarkable poise to guide his team to three unanswered second half touchdowns. A shutout by their defense in the second half was enough to end the game without much hassle and book the Ravens their first Super Bowl trip in twelve seasons.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Eli Manning expects Giants' offense to take off in 2015

Bruce Irvin apologizes for DUI April Fools' joke

Report: LeBron James calls plays, David Blatt repeats them

Anthony Davis puts Harden ahead of himself for MVP

LeBron James lists his top three friends in the NBA

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Reds to have in-stadium nursery

Izzo: MSU could win football, basketball titles in same year

Durant ‘would love to’ spend entire career with Thunder

Elementary school sportswriter has hot take on Cam Newton

Romo was willing to take pay cut to keep DeMarco Murray

Marcus Mariota reportedly not planning to attend NFL draft

Final Four fact or fiction

Five worst situations at quarterback in NFL

Young sportswriter behind Cam Newton column speaks out

Tom Brady posts Photoshop as April Fools' joke on Facebook

'Zo on MJ: He would average almost 50 in today's NBA

Report: Las Vegas season ticket drive passes goal of 10,000

WATCH: Steph Curry drops Chris Paul with crossover

WATCH: Spoelstra gives nice shoutout to Craig Sager

WATCH: Drew Miller takes skate to the face

WATCH: Gronk describes his perfect wife

Reigning National Champions to boycott Final Four in Indiana

This isn’t Tom Izzo’s greatest March masterpiece

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Final Four fact or fiction

Five worst QB situations in NFL

WATCH: Curry drops CP3 with crossover

Durant wants to spend career in OKC

This isn’t Tom Izzo’s greatest March masterpiece

Are the Angels being overlooked?

Top 20 players in the Final Four

Report: Tiger's plane spotted in Augusta

Moss shares story on meeting Deion

Five coaches already on the hot seat

Can we envision the Hawks in the Finals?

10 winners and losers from the past week in the NFL

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.