Gold Medal Stripe: Inside Raven’s 19-Sport File of Summer season Domination – Baltimore Raven’s Weblog

OWINGS MILLS, Maryland – It was August 11, 2016, and the Baltimore Ravens took their first of 19 straight wins the preseason with a 22:19 win over the Carolina Panthers. And the most memorable moment had nothing to do with football.

Late in the fourth quarter, Ravens players and fans celebrated after watching hometown hero Michael Phelps win his 22nd Olympic gold medal on the M&T Bank Stadium video board. Panther’s quarterback Cam Newton raised both arms in the air, and Raven’s safety Eric Weddle spoke about how he would share that story with his children 20 years later.

“I remember [Phelps] to win, and that’s maybe the loudest applause of the night, ”said Ravens kicker Justin Tucker this week.

The Ravens Marching Band and the Ravens and Panthers players took the time on August 11, 2016 to watch Michael Phelps of Baltimore win his 22nd Olympic gold medal. Jeff Siner / Charlotte Observer / Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Like Phelps, the Ravens have dominated the Summer Games, winning every preseason for the past six years. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Ravens ‘preseason streak is the longest in at least 26 years, but Elias’ preseason records don’t go beyond 1995.

Long-time NFL reporter Rick Gosselin reported that the Packers won 19 consecutive exhibition games 59 years ago. With a win in Washington on Saturday, Baltimore can beat Vince Lombardi’s teams for the unofficial mark of most consecutive wins in the preseason.

The Ravens have heard others blame them for adopting a streak that is not recognized by the NFL record books and that has appeared during a portion of the league calendar where games technically don’t count. But for players and team officials, this August dynasty represents a culture of winning, a success story in finding talent, and a system for developing players.

What does this mean for the ravens? When asked about the streak, quarterback Lamar Jackson crossed his fingers on both hands and told the reporter not to hex him.

Please don’t hex us 😂😂 @ Lj_era8

– Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) August 24, 2021

“We want to win,” said Jackson, who was a newcomer to Louisville the last time Baltimore lost a game in the preseason. “We don’t care what it is; we want to win. It’s a very competitive team. “

It’s well documented that Baltimore took on the league’s best record (30-7) since Jackson was the starting quarterback in mid-2018. What many do not know is that the Ravens try to outdo each other on the practice field.

There is a scoreboard that shows whether the offensive or defensive wins the training. Jackson and linebacker safety Anthony Levine Jr. always start with trash talk.

“To win is win,” said Levine, the third-longest reigning player for the Ravens. “If the score is maintained, we want to win. This is the raven way. That’s how we teach it. “

The Ravens dominated the teams during this hot preseason, winning by an average of 11.7 points. But Baltimore doesn’t try to win at any cost.

Ravens coach John Harbaugh traditionally doesn’t play much with his starters, especially the quarterbacks, in the preseason. During the streak, Jackson and Joe Flacco only threw 20% of the Ravens’ passes. Ryan Mallett, Josh Woodrum, Robert Griffin III, and Trace McSorley delivered the most touchdown strikes.

The real stars of the preseason were the third day draft prospects (and the undrafted ones) who later became sought-after players. In 2016, outside linebacker Matthew Judon led Baltimore as a rookie in tackles and sacks, outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith recorded a sack, and Darren Waller produced 84 yards that were received as a wide receiver. In the final that year, Nose Tackle Michael Pierce won one of the last places on the squad with a strip sack he brought for a touchdown.

It’s not that Lamar Jackson played deep into the games during the Ravens preseason. It was the lesser-known names that did the most damage. AP Photo / Nick Wass

These four players – Judon, Smith, Waller and Pierce – have since played a total of five Pro Bowls and received $ 80.6 million in guaranteed money for their second contracts.

“We’re proud of that,” said Tucker. “It’s not Joe Flacco, Steve Smith and Terrell Suggs and all the other big name starters who are involved. It’s everyone who’s been on that 90-man squad for the Baltimore Ravens since 2016. There are a lot of people involved in these victories. “

In 2017, Woodrum met Tim White for a 33-yard touchdown against Washington. Woodrum played for the Alliance of American Football’s Salt Lake Stallions a year later before moving to Washington, where he tore a chest muscle and never wore his suit again.

In 2018, De’Lance Turner’s running back freed himself for a 65-yard touchdown in Miami. Turner went on to have 10 career rushing yards in 12 games for the Ravens and Dolphins.

That year, Huntley made a comeback in the fourth quarter with a 7-yard touchdown run against the New Orleans Saints with 6:35 minutes remaining.

The Ravens’ most dramatic preseason game came in 2016 after the Indianapolis Colts took the lead at 3:54 before the game at 18:17. Then Levine intercepted the two point conversion and returned it 95 yards to score the winning result.

Once Levine reached the end zone at Lucas Oil Stadium, he held two fingers twice and then his entire hand into the crowd. It meant “25”, the jersey number of Cornerback Tray Walker, who died five months earlier as a result of a motorcycle accident.

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Don’t tell Levine that preseason memories like this are meaningless.

“To make this game and to honor him, I’ll say this is probably one of my best games ever,” said Levine.

The second-longest current winning streak in the preseason belongs to the Buffalo Bills, who have won seven straight wins. To beat the Ravens’ current mark, Buffalo would have to win every preseason game by 2025.

But Harbaugh isn’t worried about the preseason records. The priority at this time of the season is to evaluate the players.

“It’s not even a conversation,” said Harbaugh. “We have never approached any of these games differently than ever before.

“What’s the best way to say it? It means something to the people who have been a part of it over the years. There are other aspects that are valuable, but we’ll do it as we always do and let the chips fly. “

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