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The Big Twenty: The Ravens sent Ray Lewis off in style with an all-time legendary postseason run

The Big Twenty: The Ravens sent Ray Lewis off in style with an all-time legendary postseason run

The 2012 Ravens had been there before.

In 2010, it was blowing a two-touchdown lead in Pittsburgh. In 2011, it was a Lee Evans end zone drop coupled with a Billy Cundiff field goal miss in the final minute of the AFC Championship Game. Devastating finishes to 12-4 seasons.

Coming off the two most crushing postseason losses in franchise history, the 2012 Ravens knew they would be judged, and ultimately remembered, for what they did in January.

They would also be remembered for capping Ray Lewis’ Hall of Fame career. The longest-tenured Raven and last player remaining player from the 2000 Super Bowl team announced after the regular season he would retire after the playoffs.

The Ravens rallied behind their unquestioned leader, playing not just for a ring but to help Lewis go out on a high note. Almost immediately, it was clear this was a team of destiny.

Facing 3rd-and-3 from their own 30-yard line, down 35-28 with 41 seconds left in freezing Denver, the Ravens would not panic. Joe Flacco launched the Prayer in Thin Air, caught by a streaking Jacoby Jones for a 70-yard touchdown and overtime. 

The play is forever immortalized in Baltimore’s memory, the defining moment of an all-time postseason run. They would go on to win the game in double overtime, and the back-and-forth thriller is considered one of the NFL’s 100 greatest games ever.

It wasn’t the only game from these playoffs in the top 40 of the NFL’s greatest games list. You know it’s a memorable run when the Mile High Miracle isn’t even the highest-ranked game, and a postseason win against Tom Brady in Foxborough is barely remembered.

The Ravens capped off their magical season in New Orleans with the Blackout Bowl - or if you prefer, the Harbaugh Bowl. The 34-31 Ravens victory nearly featured a 49ers comeback for the ages, sparked by a second-half blackout in the Superdome.

It also featured brothers John and Jim Harbaugh competing for football’s ultimate prize as rival head coaches, an unprecedented angle to the Super Bowl matchup.

As the Super Bowl MVP, Joe Flacco enjoyed arguably the most impressive postseason run in NFL history. He became the first quarterback to throw for at least 1,100 yards, 11 touchdowns and zero interceptions in a postseason, in the process defeating both Brady and Peyton Manning, the two greatest quarterbacks of the era, in their own stadiums.

The Ravens entered the 2012 postseason having already experienced enough heartache for one lifetime. They left with elation that only comes with a legacy-defining performance, exorcised demons and the perfect retirement send-off for the greatest player in franchise history.

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Report: Ravens extend defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale to three-year extension

Report: Ravens extend defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale to three-year extension

According to a report from Ian Rapoport, the Ravens have made another move to keep their defense intact long-term. 

Defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale has reportedly signed a three-year contract extension that will make Martindale the highest paid defensive coordinator in the NFL. But as for the future, the team expects him to be a head coaching candidate after the 2020 season. 

Martindale, 56, has been in Baltimore since 2012 where he started as the team’s linebackers coach. He held that position through 2017 and was promoted to defensive coordinator in 2018. 

In 2018, his first season as coordinator, he led the Ravens defense to a league best 292.9 yards allowed per game and was runner-up for Associated Press Assistant Coach of the Year.

The Ravens lost some significant pieces after 2018 season and were without Terrell Suggs, C.J. Mosley, Eric Weddle and Za’Darius Smith in 2019. After struggling in three of the first four weeks of the season, the revamped defense eventually took shape. 

Baltimore allowed just 15.1 points per game after the Week 4 loss to Cleveland, where it allowed 40 points — their most all season. 

Through the whole season, the Ravens allowed 300.2 yards per game, which ranked fourth in the league. They also ranked third in total points with 17.6 points allowed per game. 

The unit took shape with some key mid-season acquisitions — most notably Marcus Peters, Jihad Ward and Josh Bynes — and lifted the unit to one of the best in the league along with its NFL-best offense.

In a season of new contracts for the Ravens defense, they’ve now extended cornerback Tavon Young, linebacker L.J. Fort, defensive lineman and linebacker Patrick Ricard, Peters and, most recently, safety Chuck Clark in the last year.

Now, the man leading the defense will be in the fold for a few more years, too. 

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Ravens' left guard Bradley Bozeman dominates 72-ounce steak challenge

Ravens' left guard Bradley Bozeman dominates 72-ounce steak challenge

Baltimore Ravens’ starting left guard Bradley Bozeman showed off one of his many talents earlier this week as he dominated a 72-ounce steak dinner. 

Bozeman accomplished this feat at The Big Texan Steak Ranch while traveling with his wife. The restaurant is famous for this eating challenge, which involves eating over 4 pounds of steak, shrimp cocktail, baked potato, salad topped off with a butter roll in under an hour. 

Although Bozeman is an absolute unit of a person, this was still no small feat. Bozeman strategized during the meal in order to ensure success as he switched from steak sauce to honey. Yet, Bozeman still questioned his ability to successfully finish with just 2 ounces of steak left. He even instructed his wife who was filming in the audience to shut the camera off in fear of getting sick on camera.

“I knew it was going to be tough, but I didn’t think it was going to be that tough,” Bozeman told ESPN. “The last bite was rough.”

Bozeman pushed on and not only finished the steak, but even had a little carrot cake for dessert. His prize? Free dinner, a t-shirt, and most likely a massive stomach ache. 

Despite his claim that this was “the toughest food thing” he’s ever done, Bozeman flashed a big smile holding the prized shirt which read “I ate it all!”

Bozeman is now one of only approximately 10,000 people who have successfully finished the meal, with over 110,000 people having tried. 

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