The Ravens clinched their first playoff berth with a 24-3 victory over the lowly San Diego Chargers. The Ravens scored 21points off five San Diego turnovers, hassling Chargers quarterback Ryan Leaf for an interception by cornerback Chris McAlister and a second-quarter fumble that set up a 28-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Trent Dilfer to wide receiver Qadry Ismail.
Dilfer threw two interceptions as part of a sloppy Ravens offense that committed three turnovers in the first half. Running back Jamal Lewis rushed for 91 yards and one touchdown on 29 carries, marking his lowest rushing output since Week 8. Though it wasn't entirely pretty, the victory enabled coach Brian Billick to lift his moratorium on the P-word.
Week 16: Ravens 13, Cardinals 7
Tempe, Ariz. – Sun Devil Stadium
A 1-yard touchdown run by Jamal Lewis in the third quarter proved to be the difference in a victory over the Arizona Cardinals.
The Cardinals recorded more first downs and total yards than the Ravens but failed to finish a number of key drives. Quarterback Jake Plummer threw two interceptions, including one returned 30yards by cornerback Duane Starks, and linebacker Jamie Sharper forced a Cardinals fumble at the Ravens' 5-yard line with the clock winding down in the fourth quarter to seal the win and Baltimore's first home playoff game since 1977.
Lewis' touchdown highlighted a 126-yard rushing performance, while Dilfer completed 12 of 22 passes for only 70yards. A pair of 42-yard field goals by Matt Stover completed the Ravens' sixth consecutive victory.
Player of the Game: OLB Jamie Sharper – 45-yard INT return, forced fumble
Week 17: Ravens 34, Jets 20
The Ravens closed the regular season with another sloppy offensive showing, but Jermaine Lewis returned two punts for touchdowns.
New York Jets quarterback Vinny Testaverde posted a banner passing performance against the Ravens' vaunted defense, completing 36 of 69 passes for two touchdowns and 481 yards. The Jets totaled 524 yards to the Ravens' 142 and limited running back Jamal Lewis to 52 yards on 22 carries.
Despite the gaudy offensive numbers, the Jets committed six turnovers, including an interception that Ravens cornerback Chris McAlister returned 98 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter. The Ravens' defense finished the regular season with NFL records for fewest points (165) and rushing yards (970) allowed during a 16-game season.
Player of the Game: WR Jermaine Lewis – two punt-return touchdowns
Wild-Card Round: Ravens 21, Broncos 3
A suffocating defensive effort coupled with a resurgent offense led the Ravens past the Denver Broncos in the AFC wild-card round.
Playing in frigid conditions, the Ravens allowed the Broncos past the 50-yard line only once as a PSINet Stadium-record crowd of 69,638 witnessed the city's first playoff game in 23 years.
"The emotion was high because it's been 23 years since this city had a playoff game," linebacker Ray Lewis said. "I was 2 years old the last playoff game that was in Baltimore. The thing now is to keep rolling. Nothing else matters but the next game."
Ravens' road to Super Bowl glory
A game-by-game look at Baltimore's bumpy path to the championship
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