|2000 Baltimore Ravens season|
|Head coach||Brian Billick|
|Home field||PSINet Stadium|
|Division place||2nd AFC Central|
|Playoff finish||Won Wild Card Playoffs (Broncos) 21-3|
Won Divisional Playoffs (Titans) 24-10
Won AFC Championship (Raiders) 16-3
Won Super Bowl XXXV (Giants) 34-7
The Ravens concluded their season with a 12-4 record, thus finishing in second place in the AFC Central, earning them a spot in the playoffs as a wild card team. The Ravens won three straight games in the 2000 AFC playoffs, culminating in a trip to Tampa, Florida for Super Bowl XXXV, where they defeated the New York Giants, 34-7. The team's defense, which set a league record for fewest points allowed in a 16-game regular season with 10.3 points per game, is considered among the greatest of all time.
The Ravens spent most of the off-season concerned with the status of their star linebacker Ray Lewis, who, along with two acquaintances, was arrested and charged with murder after an incident outside an Atlanta nightclub on January 31, 2000. On June 5, a plea bargain was struck, and murder and aggravated assault charges were dropped in exchange for Lewis' testimony against his companions. Lewis pleaded guilty to one count of obstruction of justice and was sentenced to one year of probation. The NFL fined Lewis $250,000. 
The Ravens made some key moves in the offseason to help bolster the team. They signed defensive tackle Sam Adams and tight end Shannon Sharpe in free agency. They used the fifth overall pick in the first round of the 2000 NFL Draft on running back Jamal Lewis.
The Ravens started the season with a 5-1 mark, with three of their victories coming by shutout. Despite the great play of the defense, the offense hit a major swoon after the first month of the season. Following a 37-0 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals, the Ravens would not score a touchdown for five consecutive games. The Ravens won the first two of these games due to their defense and field goals from kicker Matt Stover, then lost the next three, including a critical division loss at home to the Tennessee Titans. During this game, quarterback Tony Banks was benched in favor of Trent Dilfer, who would take over for the rest of the season. After a loss at home to Pittsburgh to fall to 5-4, the Ravens broke both their touchdown-less streak and losing streak against the Bengals the next week. It would be the first of seven straight wins to end the regular season.
The Ravens finished one game behind the Titans in the AFC Central, so the Ravens had to begin their playoff run at home in the wild card round against the Denver Broncos. The team cruised to a 21-3 victory, setting up a date with the Titans the following week in Nashville. The Ravens prevailed 24-10, with linebacker Ray Lewis' 50 yard interception return for a touchdown clinching the game. The team then traveled to Oakland to meet the Raiders for the right to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl. The Ravens advanced to their first Super Bowl after a 16-3 victory, as the defense held Oakland, the league's top rushing offense during the season, to just 24 yards on the ground. The Ravens easily defeated the Giants in Super Bowl XXXV, 34-7, as Ray Lewis led another dominant performance by the defense and was named most valuable player of the game for his efforts.
The Ravens relied heavily on their defense, which set several NFL records during the 2000 season, including fewest points ever allowed during a 16-game season (165) and fewest rushing yards ever allowed (970). The defense also forced more turnovers than any team in the league that year (49), and Ray Lewis was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year by the Associated Press. Starting cornerbacks Chris McAlister and Duane Starks combined to intercept ten passes, and defensive end Rob Burnett contributed with 10.5 sacks. Defensive tackle Sam Adams was voted to the Pro Bowl and first-team All-Pro, as was safety Rod Woodson, who had four interceptions and ranked second on the team in tackles during the regular season. The defense also had plenty of other key players, including linebacker Jamie Sharper, outside linebacker Peter Boulware, and defensive tackle Tony Siragusa. Siragusa played alongside Sam Adams, as the two men combining for nearly 700 pounds and were big factors in the Ravens setting the run-stopping record.
Offensively, the Ravens relied heavily on the running game. Rookie running back Jamal Lewis led the way with 1364 yards and veteran Priest Holmes added 588 rushing yards. The passing game was rather pedestrian (23rd in yards passing), but Trent Dilfer brought stability to the position when he took over for Tony Banks mid-season. Tight end Shannon Sharpe, acquired as an unrestricted free agent from Denver during the offseason, was the team's leading pass receiver with 67 catches for 810 yards. Left tackle Jonathan Ogden was selected first-team All-Pro, and widely regarded as the league's best offensive lineman. The Ravens also had one of the best special teams units in the NFL. Return specialist Jermaine Lewis scored two touchdowns on punt returns during the season, and ran back a kickoff for a touchdown in the Super Bowl. Placekicker Matt Stover made 35 field goals on 39 attempts and was voted to the Pro Bowl and first team All-Pro.
The Ravens defense in 2000 is often named among the greatest NFL defenses of all time. Baltimore gave up only 970 rushing yards (60.6 per game) all year, an NFL record for a 16-game season, and 186 fewer yards than the next lowest team, Baltimore's Super Bowl XXXV opponent, the New York Giants. Baltimore gave up only five rushing touchdowns all season, and allowed a paltry 2.7 yards per rush, both league bests. Baltimore only allowed 165 points all season, also an NFL record for a 16-game season. Including the postseason, Baltimore's defense allowed only 167 points in 20 games to opposing offenses that year (8.35 per game). The Ravens allowed three other touchdowns that came from their opponents' defense and special teams (two interception returns and one kickoff return). Furthermore, the Ravens recovered an astronomical 26 opponents fumbles during the season, double the total of the second-ranked team. Their defense also intercepted 23 passes to give them a total of 49 turnovers forced that season, most in the NFL. They did all of this despite their own offense's passing struggles and going five consecutive games without scoring a touchdown.
Statistical site Football Outsiders noted, "One more interesting note on the Baltimore defense: it was the only dominant defense of the past few years to be based on stopping the run instead of controlling the pass. For all the cliches about the need to stop the run, in general the best defenses are ranked the highest because they have the best ratings against the pass, not against the run - just like the best offenses are ranked the highest because they are the best through the air, not on the ground. The 2000 Ravens only rank seventh in defense against the pass, but their rushing defense ... is far and away the best of the past six seasons."
|2000 Baltimore Ravens draft|
|1||5||Jamal Lewis *||RB||Tennessee|
|5||148||Richard Mercier||OG||Miami (FL)|
|6||186||Adalius Thomas *||LB||Southern Miss|
|Pro Football Hall of Fame Made at least one Pro Bowl during careerMade roster|
|1||August 5, 2000||Philadelphia Eagles||W 16-13||1-0|
|2||August 12, 2000||New York Jets||W 10-0||2-0|
|3||August 18, 2000||at Carolina Panthers||W 24-13||3-0|
|4||August 25, 2000||at New York Giants||W 24-17||4-0|
|Week||Date||Opponent||Result||Record||Game site||Ref||Kickoff||TV Announcers|
|1||September 3, 2000||at Pittsburgh Steelers||W 16-0||1-0||Three Rivers Stadium||||CBS 1:00pm||Don Criqui & Steve Tasker|
|2||September 10, 2000||Jacksonville Jaguars||W 39-36||2-0||PSINet Stadium||||CBS 1:00pm||Verne Lundquist, Dan Dierdorf, & Bonnie Bernstein|
|3||September 17, 2000||at Miami Dolphins||L 6-19||2-1||Pro Player Stadium||||ESPN 8:30pm||Mike Patrick, Paul Maguire, Joe Theismann, & Solomon Wilcots|
|4||September 24, 2000||Cincinnati Bengals||W 37-0||3-1||PSINet Stadium||||CBS 1:00pm||Gus Johnson & Brent Jones|
|5||October 1, 2000||at Cleveland Browns||W 12-0||4-1||Cleveland Browns Stadium||||CBS 1:00pm||Ian Eagle & Mark May|
|6||October 8, 2000||at Jacksonville Jaguars||W 15-10||5-1||ALLTEL Stadium||||ESPN 8:30pm||Mike Patrick, Paul Maguire, Joe Theismann, & Solomon Wilcots|
|7||October 15, 2000||at Washington Redskins||L 3-10||5-2||FedExField||||CBS 1:00pm||Dick Enberg, Dan Dierdorf, & Bonnie Bernstein|
|8||October 22, 2000||Tennessee Titans||L 6-14||5-3||PSINet Stadium||||CBS 1:00pm||Kevin Harlan, Daryl Johnston, & Beasley Reece|
|9||October 29, 2000||Pittsburgh Steelers||L 6-9||5-4||PSINet Stadium||||CBS 1:00pm||Ian Eagle & Mark May|
|10||November 5, 2000||at Cincinnati Bengals||W 27-7||6-4||Paul Brown Stadium||||CBS 1:00pm||Tim Brando & Spencer Tillman|
|11||November 12, 2000||at Tennessee Titans||W 24-23||7-4||Adelphia Coliseum||||CBS 1:00pm||Dick Enberg, Dan Dierdorf, & Bonnie Bernstein|
|12||November 19, 2000||Dallas Cowboys||W 27-0||8-4||PSINet Stadium||||FOX 4:15pm||Pat Summerall, John Madden, & D.J. Johnson|
|13||November 26, 2000||Cleveland Browns||W 44-7||9-4||PSINet Stadium||||CBS 1:00pm||Don Criqui & Steve Tasker|
|15||December 10, 2000||San Diego Chargers||W 24-3||10-4||PSINet Stadium||||CBS 1:00pm||Gus Johnson & Brent Jones|
|16||December 17, 2000||at Arizona Cardinals||W 13-7||11-4||Sun Devil Stadium||||CBS 4:15pm||Don Criqui & Steve Tasker|
|17||December 24, 2000||New York Jets||W 34-20||12-4||PSINet Stadium||||CBS 1:00pm||Dick Enberg, Dan Dierdorf, & Bonnie Bernstein|
In the opening game for Baltimore's regular season, they squared off against division rivals Pittsburgh Steelers at their turf. In a game where the Ravens had 336 yards of total offense, they first scored points with a field goal kick from Matt Stover. Later in the first quarter, Qadry Ismail would catch a pass from Tony Banks for seven more points. After another field goal kick, the Steelers were being shut out by the end of halftime, 13-0. The final score in the game resulted from another field goal from Stover, and the final score resulted with the Ravens winning 16-0. With this win, the Ravens began their season at 1-0.
At the Ravens first home game, Baltimore trailed the Jacksonville Jaguars for the majority of the game, where the home team gained another 300+ yard total offense. The first quarter was dominated by Jacksonville, where the time period ended with 2 touchdown passes from Mark Brunell to Jimmy Smith and a field goal from Mike Hollis (17-0). Baltimore put up their first points in the second quarter with a touchdown pass from Tony Banks to Travis Taylor. However, the first half ended with two more field goals from the Jaguars. The third quarter began with the Ravens trailing 23-7. Two further touchdowns by the Ravens (one which was for two extra points) and a field goal from Jaguars put the home team with less than a touchdown differential. In the continuing scoring shootout, the Ravens scored first in the fourth quarter with a touchdown to lead for the first time during the entire game, 29-26. By the later portion of the quarter, the Jaguars had surpassed Baltimore once more at 36-32. In the last scoring drive of the game, Shannon Sharpe completed a 29-yard pass from Banks to defeat Jacksonville, 39-36. With this win, Baltimore's record elevated to 2-0.
In week 3, the Ravens and the Miami Dolphins gained little offense in a defensive struggle for both teams. The first half was led by the Dolphin's placekicker Olindo Mare with two field goals. The Ravens attacked back during the second half, with two field goals of their own by Matt Stover; however, with a touchdown pass from Jay Fiedler to Lamar Smith and a rushing touchdown from the latter player, the Dolphins overcame Baltimore 19-6. In a game where the Ravens got just above 250 yards of total offense, Baltimore ultimately fell to a 2-1 record.
In an attempt to redeem their road lost to the Dolphins, the Ravens faced division rivals Cincinnati Bengals. In a complete shut out, the Ravens gained a near 400 yards (391 yards exact) in a game where the defense shut down the Bengals for only 94 yards of offense. During the first half, the Ravens scored three touchdowns (two passes from Tony Banks to Travis Taylor and Shannon Sharpe, and a rush by Jamal Lewis) and a field goal by Matt Stover. The second half ended with two more field goals and a rushing touchdown from Obafemi Ayanbadejo to finish with a score of 37-0. With this win, Baltimore's record elevated to 3-1.
The Ravens began a five-game touchdown drought with their matchup against Cleveland. In a game dominated by both defenses, the Ravens allowed just under 250 offensive yards. The first half ended with three field goals from kicker Matt Stover, with the longest being from 45 yards in order to advance the Ravens to the locker room at 9-0. The final scoring in the game came during the third quarter when Stover kicked another field goal from 22 yards. In a shutout for the Browns, the Ravens improved their record to 4-1.
Baltimore would travel back to Jacksonville in a Week 2 rematch against the Jaguars at their turf in Jacksonville. The Ravens went with their second consecutive game without a touchdown with their kicker Matt Stover delivering all their points. In the first quarter, Jaguars kicker Steve Lindsey delivered a 49-yard field goal but was answered with a Stover 47-yard field goal to tie up the game. The second quarter ended with another Stover kick that would take the game to halftime with the Ravens winning 6-3. Stover would kick three more consecutive field goals to increase the score to 15-3, but the Jaguars retaliated with the final score of the game: a 1-yard rushing touchdown from Fred Taylor. However, the game was ultimately decided at 15-10 and the Ravens record elevated to 5-1.
The Ravens traveled to their Capital Beltway neighbors, Washington Redskins, for their third straight road game. In a defensive struggle, both teams allowed under 250 yards of total offense. Halftime ended with both teams tied at 3-3 as a result of two field goals: one from the Redskins (37 yards by Kris Heppner) and the Ravens (Matt Stover from 51 yards). That field goal from Stover would be the only score that the Ravens put up in this game, where in the fourth quarter, Stephen Davis ran for a 33-yard touchdown that put Washington 10-3 over the Ravens. With this final score, the Ravens suffered their second loss and fell to 5-2.
In Week 8, the Ravens flew back home to face off against division rivals Tennessee Titans. The Ravens continued their touchdown-less streak, where Matt Stover produced the only score for Baltimore with two field goals (from the 21 and 38-yard lines). In the second quarter, Titans quarterback Steve McNair threw a 9-yard pass to Rodney Thomas to go ahead of the home team. Just under one point, the Ravens sought to get ahead of Tennessee, however, Tony Banks produced a game high of 3 interceptions, with the last one sealing the game for the Titans as they won 14-6. With this loss, the Ravens fell to 5-3.
In a rematch from week 1, Baltimore continued their streak without a touchdown. However, second-string quarterback Trent Dilfer started in replacement of Tony Banks, who in the past four games had not thrown one touchdown but rather more interceptions. In this game, unlike Banks, Dilfer threw no interceptions but was unable to connect with any receiver into the endzone. The Ravens had the advantage heading into halftime with two field goals from Matt Stover that were over 40 yards. In the third quarter, the Steelers retaliated with six points of their own as a result of a touchdown and a missed extra point from Kris Brown.
In a Week 4 rematch, the Ravens traveled to Ohio against AFC Central adversaries, Bengals. Matt Stover put the Ravens on the board with three points after a 38-yard field goal in the first quarter. Baltimore entered their season best second quarter in this game with three touchdown passes from new starting quarterback Trent Dilfer that had the Ravens up by 24 unanswered points. Cincinnati answered with a touchdown, and their only score, during the third quarter with Peter Warrick's 4-yard rush. The game came to a close following a field goal from Stover that had the Ravens defeat the Bengals 27-7. The Ravens improved their record to 6-4 and began a seven-game winning streak.
Just after battling against Tennessee three weeks earlier, Baltimore traveled to Nashville to face off against the Titans. The Ravens attacked by adding seven points to their score in the first quarter after a reception by Qadry Ismail from Trent Dilfer. Jamal Lewis would then double the points with a 2-yard rush that put up the Ravens 14-0 during the second quarter. The Titans answered with two touchdown passes from Steve McNair to Derrick Mason and Lorenzo Neal, respectively. After a field goal from Matt Stover, halftime stood at 17-14, favoring the Ravens. In a defensive struggle in the third quarter, no team was able to score. However, the game became tied at 17-17 with a 23-yard field goal from Al Del Greco upon the final quarter. Tennessee sought to end the game after Perry Phenix intercepted a pass from Dilfer and returned it 87 yards for a touchdown; however, Del Greco failed to convert the extra point. This allowed the Ravens to end the game with a touchdown pass to Patrick Johnson from Dilfer and a successful extra point conversion. With this win, the Ravens raised their record to 7-4 and became the first team to defeat the Titans in Adelphia Coliseum.
|Wild Card||December 31, 2000||Denver Broncos||W 21-3||PSINet Stadium||||CBS 12:30pm|
|Divisional||January 7, 2001||at Tennessee Titans||W 24-10||Adelphia Coliseum||||CBS 12:30pm|
|AFC Championship||January 14, 2001||at Oakland Raiders||W 16-3||Network Associates Coliseum||||CBS 4:00pm|
|Super Bowl XXXV||January 28, 2001||vs. New York Giants||W 34-7||Raymond James Stadium||||CBS 6:30pm|
The Ravens and Giants would set a Super Bowl record by scoring three touchdowns in three consecutive plays, tallying just 36 seconds in the 3rd quarter. The Ravens defense completely shut down the Giants offense, not yielding a single point. The only points the Giants would score on would be a kickoff return for a touchdown. The Ravens held the Giants to 152 total yards of offense and forced five turnovers along with four sacks. The Ravens defense surrendered just one offensive touchdown in four playoff games and only allowed 16 points (4.0 points per game).
Middle linebacker Ray Lewis was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year by the Associated Press. Five players represented the Ravens in the Pro Bowl: Lewis joined defensive tackle Sam Adams, safety Rod Woodson, offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden, and kicker Matt Stover. Matt Stover joined Lewis and Ogden on the associated press' All-Pro first team. Defensive end Rob Burnett joined Adams and Woodson on the AP All-Pro second team.