The Falcons close their slate of 2022 AFC play this weekend by trying to go 2-2 against the AFC North on the season. The team standing in their way will be the Baltimore Ravens, against whom Atlanta has had just six matchups to date, with the team from Maryland owning a 4-2 lead.
The Ravens’ inception as a franchise came in 1996, when the old Cleveland Browns were moved to the once proud home of the Baltimore Colts and renamed after Edgar Allen Poe’s famous poem. After not having any winning seasons in their first four years of existence, the Ravens broke through and won a Super Bowl in 2000.
Their first matchup against the Falcons was an overtime victory in 1999 to help the franchise to its first ever non-losing season. Stoney Case was the winning quarterback, while Atlanta’s signal callers were Danny Kanell and Tony Graziani.
Atlanta returned the favor with a win in 2002 before losing by two touchdowns in 2006. Maybe the most exciting game in this series came on Thursday night in 2010, when a last minute Roddy White touchdown helped the Falcons to a famous win in the midst of their 13-3 season, in what was the first matchup between 2008 draft mates Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco.
The Ravens have won each of the last two matchups, in 2014 and 2018, by double digit points, including a 29-7 blowout.
The Falcons were reeling when they met the Ravens in Week 13 of the 2018 season — they had just lost to the New Orleans Saints on Thanksgiving and were at 4-7 with their season dissolving in front of them. Baltimore came to the Mercedes-Benz Stadium at 6-5, looking to break a three-year playoff drought, the longest of the John Harbaugh era.
The teams went into the half tied at 10-10, with the Falcons being stifled by a ferocious Ravens defense every step of the way. Atlanta mustered less than 200 yards of total offense all afternoon, including just 30 rushing yards. Their only non-garbage time touchdown was a Vic Beasley fumble returned 74 yards for a touchdown, after Grady Jarrett strip sacked Lamar Jackson.
Atlanta got past midfield once in the second half, and that’s when the game was out of reach. Following Beasley’s score, Baltimore scored 12 straight points, exclusively through Justin Tucker field goals, before Tavon Young took a strip sack fumble back for a touchdown Baltimore’s way to put the nail in the coffin.
Atlanta went on to finish the season at 7-9 and miss the playoff for the first of five straight seasons (and counting), while the Ravens won the AFC North for the first time since 2012, and embarked on three straight post season appearances.