In the final part of the four-quarter series, BR.com takes a final look at the 2007 season with Weeks 14-17.
Week 14 (Dec. 9, 2007): Colts 44 - Ravens 20
Summary: In a 44-20 win over the Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium, Peyton Manning threw 4 touchdown passes, and the Indianapolis Colts built a 30-point lead by the second quarter while picking on a makeshift Baltimore secondary. The Ravens, who missed starting cornerbacks Chris McAlister (knee) and Samari Rolle (shoulder), gave away five turnovers, including four from Kyle Boller.
Manning initially found wideout Reggie Wayne for a 34-yard score after easily marching 65 yards in nine plays to open the game. Willis McGahee fumbled on his second carry, which Marlin Jackson returned 21 yards to set up Joseph Addai's 1-yard touchdown run. Boller gave up the first of his three interceptions on the following possession, leading to Manning's 19-yard lob to Addai for a score. When Baltimore was then forced into a three-and-out, Indianapolis defensive back Michael Coe deflected a Sam Koch punt for a safety. Addai added another 11-yard scoring run before rookie Yamon Figurs took a kickoff 94 yards to paydirt with 11:44 left in the second quarter.
Manning answered five minutes later with a 57-yard bomb to Anthony Gonzalez that upped the score to 37-7. Boller fumbled the third snap after the half, which Manning then turned into a 40-yard TD toss to Gonzalez. After completing 13-of-17 for 249 yards and four scores, Manning was pulled from action.
Despite the heavy margin, Baltimore continued to fight to the end. Boller, who was 19 of 25 for 132 yards, capped a 13-play, 63-yard scoring drive with a 4-yard dart to Devard Darling before taking a seat in the fourth quarter. In his pro debut, quarterback Troy Smith added a 6-yard touchdown run.
Key Stat: Derrick Mason's three catches (30 yards) made him the Ravens' all-time single-season receptions leader with 88 on the year.
They said: "It's never a question of me being motivated. I love playing the game of football. At some point, it's going to be over with for good. So I'm not going to waste a play or take a play off for anybody. I love playing football. It's a blessing. I come from southern Illinois, I'm just glad to be in the NFL, and I'll never take it for granted. I'm going to play every play until it's over with." - Bart Scott
Week 15 (Dec. 16, 2007): Dolphins 22 - Ravens 16
Summary: Using nearly every player on their injury depleted roster, the Ravens fell to the Miami Dolphins in a heartbreaking 22-16 overtime loss at Dolphin Stadium. Stalwart K Matt Stover missed a game-winning 44-yard field goal in the extra period, giving Miami's Greg Camarillo the opportunity to turn a short reception into a 64-yard touchdown three plays later.
The Ravens took a 13-3 2nd quarter lead on Stover's 27- and 39-yard boots and Kyle Boller's 17-yard touchdown to Derrick Mason. The Dolphins then gained momentum when Miami defensive end Jason Taylor blocked a 50-yard field goal attempt with one second left in the half.
Miami posted 13 straight points after the break, taking the lead with 1:56 remaining on Jay Feely's 29-yard field goal. When the ensuing kickoff went out of bounds, rookie Troy Smith, subbing for Boller (mild concussion), engineered an 11-play, 59-yard drive. Faced with third-and-10 from Miami's 10-yard line, Smith found Devard Darling at the 1, and Stover's 18-yard boot with 0:12 remaining sent the game to overtime.
Baltimore won the coin toss and relied on the ground attack to move the chains, rushing on 8 of 9 plays before Stover's attempt sailed wide left. Baltimore was already missing its two starting cornerbacks, Chris McAlister (IR, knee) and Samari Rolle (shoulder), and linebacker Ray Lewis was lost in the third quarter with a dislocated finger.
Key Stat: Willis McGahee finished with 104 yards on 29 carries, topping the century mark for the fifth time as a Raven.
They said: "Were still trying to hold onto that pride. Nobody will understand what we are going through. Of course you see how much it meant to them to get that win. After so many loses, it would mean that much to us." - Jason Brown
Week 16 (Dec. 23, 2007): Seahawks 27 - Ravens 6
Summary: The Ravens limped into Qwest Field on their third and final West Coast trip of the season to fall 27-6 to the NFC West-champion Seattle Seahawks. Baltimore started four rookies on offense - including QB Troy Smith - and missed the services of six injured Pro Bowlers in the defeat. Seattle's Matt Hasselbeck threw two touchdown passes to offset two interceptions as the Seahawks built a 27-0 lead before Smith found Derrick Mason with a 79-yard touchdown bomb in the fourth quarter.
Neither team could get anything started in the first quarter, as a series of punts was only interrupted by safety Ed Reed's seventh pick on the season. Hasselbeck threw his touchdown pass, 21 yards to Nate Burleson, at 11:34 in the second when the wideout got free behind rookie cornerback Willie Gaston. Linebacker Leroy Hill then returned a Mike Anderson fumble 20 yards for a score, which was followed by Shaun Alexander's 14-yard touchdown reception. Anderson's turnover snuffed out a Baltimore possession that began with cornerback Derrick Martin's interception on the 2-yard line.
Willis McGahee left the game after five carries with cracked ribs, leaving the offense on Smith's shoulders. It took seven drives for Smith to march into Seattle territory, but that was derailed when defensive end Patrick Kerney sacked the signal-caller, causing another fumble. Seahawks K Josh Brown added two field goals (42 and 39 yards) in the third quarter before Smith, who completed 16 of 33 for 199 yards and no interceptions, hit Mason in-stride for the Ravens' only points of the game.
Key Stat: The 79-yard bomb was not only Smith's 1st TD pass, it was also the longest catch of Mason's 11-year career.
They said: "[The injuries] put things in perspective. It lets you know that you have to keep playing and stay focused. You just have to stay on top of your P's and Q's. When someone gets hurt it is just kind of a lackadaisical kind of thing or a freakish type of thing. You really can't stop it you just hope that it is not a serious injury." - Ed Reed
Week 17 (Dec. 30, 2007): Ravens 27 - Steelers 21
Summary: After enduring nine straight losses, the Ravens closed their 2007 campaign with a 27-21 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. On the legs of running backs Musa Smith and Cory Ross, the Ravens built a 20-point lead, but it took a last-minute interception from CB David Pittman to seal the victory. Pittman secured quarterback Charlie Batch's 50-yard attempt to Santonio Holmes with 1:04 left.
Batch, who finished 16-of-31 for 218 yards, tossed two 4th-quarter touchdown passes, while Troy Smith went 16-of-27 for 171 yards and one touchdown. Musa Smith, who was third on the depth chart a week before the game, rushed for 83 yards and a touchdown. Ross contributed 72 yards on 12 carries, including a 32-yard touchdown romp.
The game started well for the Ravens. Pittsburgh fumbled the opening kickoff, leading to M. Smith's 2-yard touchdown run. Matt Stover added a 28-yard field goal on the next Ravens possession. By the time Ross weaved his way through the defense at 13:27 in the second quarter, the Ravens had a 17-0 cushion. Najeh Davenport ran for a 1-yard touchdown three minutes later, and he was aided by a 47-yard pass interference on cornerback Corey Ivy. Another Stover field goal made the score 20-7 at the half.
T. Smith found Devard Darling for a 15-yard score midway through the third quarter to raise the margin to 20 points. The Steelers' offense rallied when Batch found Holmes on a short pass, and the wideout had a step on CB Derrick Martin to race 59 yards to paydirt. Pittsburgh recovered the ensuing onsides kick after Darling and fullback Le'Ron McClain collided, and Batch mounted another 56-yard touchdown drive. Sam Koch's punt on the next series backed the Steelers up to their 11, and Pittman corralled Batch's late throw to Holmes for his second pick of the game.
Key Stat: Nick Greisen, starting for the injured Ray Lewis (hand), led the team with 15 tackles.
They said: "I took a deep breath once we got that interception. All that frustration just came out. It was good because we played against a very good team and they fought until the end. We were able to make one more play than them at the end so that just leaves us to go into the offseason on a positive note. No matter how the season went, we were able to win our last game and that's good." - Derrick Mason