The Ravens followed their season script to perfection, using a smothering defense and timely offense to dominate the Oakland Raiders, 16-3, on Jan. 14, 2001, to reach the Super Bowl for the first time. It was the 10th straight victory for the Ravens, who would face the New York Giants in Tampa in two weeks. The defense battered Raiders quarterback Rich Gannon, who had to leave in the second quarter after a hit by defensive tackle Tony Siragusa.
WHAT HAPPENED: A 96-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Trent Dilfer to tight end Shannon Sharpe, still the longest scoring pass in NFL postseason history, stunned the Raiders just when they had gained field position and momentum in the second quarter. After a sack by William Thomas left the Ravens buried at their own 4-yard line, Dilfer hit Sharpe on a slant route, and after getting key blocks by wide receivers Brandon Stokley and Patrick Johnson, Sharpe avoided one more tackler before reaching the end zone. Matt Stover added three field goals for the Ravens, who limited the Raiders to a 24-yard field goal by Sebastian Janikowski.