Northern Exposure

It's A History Of Misery When The Ravens Travel To Play Nfc North Foes

December 06, 2009|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley , jamison.hensley@baltsun.com

In the days leading up to Monday night's game at Green Bay, the Ravens have been well schooled on the mystique of Lambeau Field, from Vince Lombardi to the Frozen Tundra to the devotion of the Packers' cheesehead-wearing fans.

"You know what comes with Lambeau Field," linebacker Ray Lewis said. "You know the history behind it."

The history that has gone unspoken - or perhaps that the Ravens want to forget - is the team's futility at NFC North stadiums. In their 14-year existence, the Ravens have never won at Green Bay, Chicago, Minnesota or Detroit, losing all six games.

When it comes to playing in NFC North cities, circumstances have a way of going south.

There was utter humiliation in a penalty-filled Ravens loss in Detroit. There were shots to the ego, from Chicago's James Allen running like Bears great Walter Payton against the Ravens to quarterback Brett Favre ripping apart the defending Super Bowl champions in Green Bay. And there was the ultimate gut-wrencher, when Steve Hauschka missed what would have been a game-winning field goal in Minnesota seven weeks ago.

But the Ravens aren't focused on their past because they have so much riding on their future. The hope is the Ravens' 20-17 overtime win over the Pittsburgh Steelers last Sunday has erased the memories of this season's close losses and generated some new-found momentum.

The Ravens (6-5), who are looking to win back-to-back games for the first time since September, can't afford another loss in an AFC wild-card race that includes the Denver Broncos (7-4), Jacksonville Jaguars (6-5), Pittsburgh Steelers (6-5) and New York Jets (6-6).

"We've fought to stay in contention, and we hold our own destiny," linebacker Jarret Johnson said. "If we continue to do that, we can be in the playoffs."

A closer look at the Ravens' 0-6 mark at NFC North teams:

Oct. 25, 1998, at Green Bay: Packers 28, Ravens 10:

Why the Ravens lost: The Packers took a 21-0 lead when Favre connected with a wide-open Robert Brooks on a 28-yard touchdown pass on their first possession of the third quarter. The Ravens managed only 233 yards of total offense and converted just two of 15 third-down plays.

What the Ravens want to forget: In the first half, Ravens starting quarterback Eric Zeier completed eight of 19 passes and produced only 3 yards of net passing (thanks to four sacks). He was pulled at halftime and replaced by Jim Harbaugh.

What they said: "I can't believe we gave up 21 points [the last touchdown was scored on a punt return]. I've never been in a situation like this before except for Sega [video game]. Then I just turn it off."- Defensive end Michael McCrary

Dec. 20, 1998, at Chicago: Bears 24, Ravens 3:

Why the Ravens lost: The Bears had no problems ending their six-game losing streak, running out to a 24-0 halftime lead. Running back Priest Holmes had just 17 rushing yards, and the Ravens finished with only 24 as a team - the second-worst rushing performance in team history.

What the Ravens want to forget: In his first start, Allen rushed for 163 yards, the most by any Bear since Payton in 1986. It remains the third-most rushing yards ever allowed by the Ravens to one running back.

What they said: "Guys weren't ready to play. This is embarrassing, extremely disappointing. We didn't play to win. We played to get by." - Safety Stevon Moore

Oct. 14, 2001, at Green Bay: Packers 31, Ravens 23:

Why the Ravens lost: Elvis Grbac suffered a concussion on a hit by Santana Dotson that forced his second-quarter fumble, and he never recovered. The often-criticized quarterback had a hand in three of the Ravens' four turnovers before bowing out midway in the fourth quarter when the Ravens trailed 31-10.

What the Ravens want to forget: Working primarily out of the shotgun, Favre dissected the NFL's top-ranked passing defense. He threw for 337 yards and three touchdowns.

What they said: "We were playing all our defenses against [Favre]. It seemed like every play on defense, somebody was making a mental error or not doing their jobs. It was very frustrating. Very frustrating." - Safety Rod Woodson

Oct. 9, 2005, at Detroit: Lions 35, Ravens 17:

Why the Ravens lost: In perhaps the most humiliating performance of the team's existence, the Ravens had 21 penalties (one shy of the NFL record), four turnovers and two players ejected (linebacker Terrell Suggs and special teams player B.J. Ward).

What the Ravens want to forget: Where do you start? Suggs argued face to face with an official, Chris McAlister threw the ball at a receiver after an interception and Maake Kemoeatu flashed an obscene gesture to the Ford Field crowd.

What they said: "Clearly, what happened out there was giving in to the emotion of the situation. Passion, emotion and intensity are good, but you've always got to be under control. And we clearly didn't have that today." - Coach Brian Billick

Oct. 23, 2005, at Chicago: Bears 10, Ravens 6:

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