Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Series History: Bucs-Ravens

Each team has two wins, one dominant shutout victory and a .500 record both at home and on the road in the all-time Bucs-Ravens series…One club will get a chance to break up the symmetry on Sunday

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

  • The Bucs and Ravens have split four previous meetings each winning once on the road and once at home
  • Tampa Bay pitched a shutout in Baltimore to start its Super Bowl run but the Ravens returned the favor in 2006
  • The most recent meeting was in 2010 in Baltimore, with the Ravens holding on for a 17-10 victory

    There is quite a bit of symmetry to the history between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Baltimore Ravens. Or perhaps it's better described as a "lack of variety." Or even more precisely: A lack of actual history.

The Buccaneers and Ravens have shared a field just four times in the regular season, with each team winning twice. Baltimore's greatest day at Raymond James Stadium didn't even involve the Buccaneers; that's where the Ravens won Super Bowl XXXV with a one-sided, 34-7 thrashing of the New York Giants. The Bucs' greatest day in Baltimore's M&T Bank Stadium (then known more simply as Ravens Stadium) was the first win in Tampa Bay's finest season, the 2002 championship year. Of course, that game doesn't have much competition; the Bucs only other regular-season trip to Baltimore resulted in a 17-10 loss four years ago.

The Bucs and Ravens have split their four meetings, with Tampa Bay winning the first two and Baltimore winning the next two. The Bucs are 1-1 at home and 1-1 on the road against the Ravens. Each team has pitched a shutout in the opposing city. The Bucs have 57 total points in the series, while the Ravens have 54. Each of the four games has featured a combined point total between 25 and 32 points.

If there has been a connection between the Buccaneers and Ravens, it was more as common elements in the debate about the greatest defenses in NFL history. The Buccaneers of the mid-90s to the mid-00s are in that discussion, as are the Ravens from right around the turn of the millennium to the present day. Each team also has one season that belongs in the debate regarding the best defensive peak by any team, the Ravens in 2000 and the Buccaneers in 2002. In both cases, that defense capped the season with an absolutely dominant performance in the Super Bowl.

As it turns out, however, the two teams haven't really seen their best years intersect. The closest they came to that was in 2001; technically the Ravens were the defending Super Bowl champions when they came to Tampa for the first meeting between the two teams, but they were scrambling for a Wild Card berth with Pittsburgh in full control of the division. (In the end, it wasn't #1 seed Pittsburgh who made it to the Super Bowl, however, as this happened to be the rise of the Patriots dynasty.)

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Karl Williams returned a punt 56 yards for a scored in Baltimore in 2002 to help the Buccaneers win, 25-0, without finding the end zone on offense

Actually, both teams were in full-on playoff scramble mode on that final December weekend of 2001. The game was played in prime time on Saturday night and was technically part of the Monday Night Football franchise; that Monday was New Year's Eve and no games were scheduled to be played on that night. In addition, this was originally supposed to be the last game on the schedule for the Buccaneers and Ravens, but the 9/11 terrorist attacks in September of that year had led to some rearranging of the league schedule. All the games of Week Two of the season were postponed and eventually rescheduled for the first weekend of January, when the playoffs were supposed to begin. The Bucs were 8-6 coming into the game in a division where both the Bears and Packers would win a dozen or more times.

The Bucs and Ravens would leave the game with identical 9-7 records after Tampa Bay prevailed 22-10 in what was, to the surprise of precisely no one, an absolute defensive struggle with little working for either offense besides Mike Alstott's power running. Both teams came into the game knowing that a win plus one small bit of help in another game that weekend would give them a playoff berth. The Bucs got their spot on Sunday when Atlanta lost to Miami; the Ravens would also make the postseason after beating Minnesota the following weekend. In the Saturday night affair, Alstott ran for 80 yards on 14 carries (5.7 avg.), with 32 coming on the fourth-quarter touchdown run that clinched the Bucs' victory. Baltimore ended up with a few more total yards (257 to 213) but the Bucs' defense swung the tide with the only three takeaways of the game, including interceptions by Derrick Brooks and Ronde Barber.

Tampa Bay didn't last long in the playoffs that ensued, and the franchise made a change after another Wild Card loss in Philly, bringing in new Head Coach Jon Gruden. Gruden's team lost its first game to open the 2002 season, 26-20 to the Saints in overtime, which left them at 0-1 heading to Baltimore in Week Two. It was there that the Bucs' championship run began with the first flexing of the defense's powerful muscles. With Chris Redman at the helm for the Ravens, the home team managed just 173 yards of offense, gaining an anemic 2.8 yards per play. Bucs QB Brad Johnson was very efficient, completing 24 of 31 passes for 211 yards and no turnovers, but the visiting team scored 25 points without ever finding the end zone on offense. Martin Gramatica provided three field goals but the rest of the points came on a 56-yard punt return touchdown by Karl "The Truth" Williams, a safety and a 97-yard interception return by Derrick Brooks. That latter TD came in the game's closing moments when the proud Bucs defense was trying to preserve a shutout; it still ranks as the second-longest score of any kind in team history, trailing only Shelton Quarles' 98-yard pick-six against Green Bay the year before.

This game was at the beginning of the new divisional rotation that has been at the center of the NFL's scheduling formula since realignment into eight divisions in 2002. That meant the Bucs and Ravens would wait four years before playing again, this time in a Baltimore visit to Tampa to open the 2006 campaign. By this point, the Ravens had fallen out of the playoffs for two years in a row and were coming off a 6-10 season (and wrapping up the "Kyle Boller era"). The Buccaneers had dipped after their Super Bowl win into a pair of losing campaigns but then rebounded to win the division again in 2005 behind rookie RB Cadillac Williams and the league's number-one ranked defense. The Bucs-Ravens opener would quickly demonstrate that the expectations for both teams were well off base.

Baltimore absolutely throttled the Buccaneers on that afternoon, winning 27-0 and allowing just 142 yards of offense (and 2.8 yards per play, in another bit of series symmetry). Coming off his fabulous rookie campaign, Williams could find nowhere to run, gaining 22 yards on eight carries. Chris Simms came into the season as the Bucs' starting quarterback after finishing the 2005 season well, but he was picked off three times and completed just 17 of 29 passes in the game. The Ravens had TWO 60-yard interception returns in the game, including one by 330-pound defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, playing in his first regular-season NFL game. CB Chris McAlister took the other one all the way to the opposing end zone for a touchdown.

If that original hard-fought game in 2001 was followed by one blowout apiece, then the fourth game of the series finished the pattern with another relatively close affair, though perhaps not as close at it looks on paper. The Bucs went to Baltimore in late November bearing a 7-3 record and with four wins in their last five outings despite a seemingly endless rash of injuries. Baltimore won, 17-10, but the Bucs didn't get their first touchdown until three minutes were left in the game. After Kellen Winslow's five-yard touchdown catch the Bucs needed a defensive stop to get one more scoring opportunity, but Ray Rice ran three times and caught one short pass to create two first downs and run out the clock. The game was just a 3-3 tie late in the first half until a busted assignment left TE Todd Heap wide open down the seam and Joe Flacco hit him for a 65-yard score.

Bucs-Ravens Game-by-Game Record:

2001

W, 22-10

Tampa

2002

W, 25-0

Baltimore

2006

L, 27-0

Tampa

2010

L, 17-10

Baltimore


Series Notes:

  • Overall Season Series: Tied, 2-2
  • Bucs' Home Record: 1-1
  • Bucs' Road Record: 1-1
  • Current Streak: Lose 2 (2006-10)
  • Buccaneers' Longest Winning Streak: 2 (2001-02)
  • Ravens' Longest Winning Streak: 2 (2006-10)
  • Regular Season Point Total: Buccaneers 57, Ravens 54
  • Most Points in a Game for Tampa Bay: Buccaneers 25, Ravens 0 (2002)
  • Most Points in a Game for Baltimore: Ravens 27, Buccaneers 0 (2006)
  • Most Points, combined: Buccaneers 22, Ravens 10 (2001)
  • Fewest Points in a Game for Tampa Bay: Raven 27, Buccaneers 0 (2006)
  • Fewest Points in a Game for Baltimore: Buccaneers 25, Ravens 0 (2002)
  • Fewest Points in a Game, combined: Buccaneers 25, Ravens 0 (2002)
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