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Team Usually Wins 'Ring Of Honor' Games


By Joe Platania

Just like many Ravens defensive stars of the past, defensive end Michael McCrary was known as a highly motivated, fierce competitor.

It probably wouldn't make McCrary -- third on the Ravens' all-time sack list with 51 -- very happy to know this, but he is the only Ravens' Ring of Honor inductee thus far to have his name elevated to the M&T Bank Stadium upper-deck façade on a day when the home team lost.

Recently retired placekicker Matt Stover certainly hopes that doesn't happen when his name joins that of McCrary and several others Nov. 20, when the Ravens are scheduled to host the Cincinnati Bengals.

The Ravens' 5-1 record on days when a new Ring of Honor inductee is put in place is a clear indication that the team knows how to honor its own. Here's a look at the circumstances that have surrounded the previous six Ring of Honor games:

NOV. 26, 2000
Inductee: Earnest Byner

Playing against the team with which Byner had his greatest fame, the Ravens rolled up the biggest winning margin in team history to that point and won their fourth-consecutive game during a streak that would reach 11, including a Super Bowl win.

Rookie running back Jamal Lewis, in a coincidental homage to the hard-running Byner, carried the ball a season-high 30 times for 170 yards as the Ravens gained 461 yards of total offense only a week after posting a 479-yard effort during a shutout win against Dallas.

OCT. 20, 2002
Inductees: Baltimore Colts players enshrined in the Hall of Fame

After the youngest team in NFL history (19 rookies and first-year players) got off to a 2-2 start, it lost three of its next four games. This was the only win, and it kept the Ravens in first place with a 3-3 record.

Jaguars quarterback Mark Brunell, who had broken Ravens' hearts in the past with last-minute comebacks, drove his team from its own 17 to the Ravens' 25 during the final minutes, but rookie safety Will Demps intercepted his final pass at the one-yard line to seal the win, the Ravens' fifth straight against Jacksonville following eight-straight losses.

DEC. 26, 2003
Inductee: Owner Arthur B. Modell

This was a national-TV game that lost a lot of its meaning earlier during the day when Cleveland beat Cincinnati to hand the Ravens the AFC North Division title. But there was still a two-fold celebration going on.

First, Modell got his place in the Ring during the team's final home game under his stewardship; Steve Bisciotti would take majority control the following year. Secondly, Jamal Lewis had a chance to break Eric Dickerson's NFL-single-season-record mark of 2,105 yards, but ended with 2,066.

OCT. 4, 2004
Inductee: Michael McCrary

This Monday-night affair was the first of four prime-time games the Ravens would play during a year that saw them close in on a playoff berth, only to let it get away in December.

The Chiefs' win, paced by 398 total yards and 125 rushing yards by ex-Ravens undrafted free agent Priest Holmes, was the third in three tries against the Ravens, all in Baltimore. The Ravens wouldn't get their first-ever win over Kansas City until two years later at Arrowhead Stadium.

NOV. 5, 2006
Inductee: Peter Boulware

Boulware, the Ravens' all-time sack leader with 70, got emotional when a message from his brother Michael, a Seattle Seahawks safety -- who didn't have to play that day because of his team’s Monday-night clash with Oakland -- was played on the stadium’s SmartVision screens.

The win -- a tense one after an early 17-0 lead -- was the second in what would turn out to be a midseason five-game winning streak that lifted the Ravens to 6-2 at the season’s halfway point. Rookie cornerback Ronnie Prude had a key pass breakup against Bengals wideout T.J. Houshmandzadeh and a Stover field goal hit the upright before bouncing over the crossbar.

OCT. 26, 2008
Inductee: Jonathan Ogden

This was the 100th regular-season home game in Ravens history, and the fans celebrated wildly by watching defensive coordinator Rex Ryan's team dominate that of his brother, Rob.

Undrafted rookie free agent linebacker Jameel McClain registered the first of his two safeties that year by notching a quarterback sack in the west end zone. Offensively, rookie quarterback Joe Flacco threw for a touchdown, ran for another and caught a 43-yard pass that set up another score.

Posted June 2, 2011