I have been to M&T Bank stadium many times, division games against the Steelers included, so why is a 20-12 beating of the lowly Jags my highlight trip to date? Let me explain…
My wife likes to tell me how unromantic I am, so as Christmas 2014 drew closer what better than a surprise trip to New York? Shopping, sightseeing, the Big Apple at Christmas. I surprised her with the news a week before we left and she was over the moon. So happy, in fact, that she said we should try to catch an NFL game whilst we were there.
Music to my ears! Little did she know I had already brought tickets! Now I’m sure a trip to Metlife stadium would have been lovely but Baltimore was only 190 miles away. The news we would have to wake at 6am on a Sunday and miss a whole day in New York went about as well as expected, not helped by the horror that is the I-95, but make it to Baltimore we did.
Taking our seats. I started to worry. It was cold, my sport-hating wife was already looking fed up and I wondered if I had made a horrible mistake. A man delivering hot chocolate to our seats was a welcome sight, as was the smile as pre-game began. The national anthem, the O, the starting offense being announced – things were looking up.
The Jags had an early punt, Darian Stewart blocked, Kamar Aiken scooped and returned the ball 11 yards for the score. Cue the familiar Seven Nation Army chant. I’m screaming and shouting at this point and turn and see my wife high-fiving anyone in arms reach! She had no clue what had happened, but she liked it.
The Jags actually led the game at the half. Josh Scobee kicked four field goals, making it 12-10. Unbelievable as it may sound now, Justin Tucker missed two attempts in the game. Joe had a pretty Joe kind of day, 20 of 30 for 220 yards. He did hook up with Owen Daniels on a nice play action pass for the only offensive TD of the day in the 3rd quarter: cue more high fiving!
The Ravens D did Ravens things. Bortles was sacked eight times, with Suggs, Dumervil and Jernigan all causing havoc. Listening to my wife scream ‘get him’ as Suggs chased down Bortles time after time was music to my ears.
At one point late in the game she stood and shouted out of nowhere “Jaguars suck”, to which an American gentleman sat a few rows in front turned and replied loudly “Hell yeah they suck”. I couldn’t believe it. Every completion the Jags achieved she booed and anytime a Raven made a play she was on her feet.
The game finished 20-12 – the Ravens defense was just too much for Bortles in the second half. We stayed long after most people had left, taking photos and getting as close to the field as we could.
I can honestly say my wife hasn’t watched a single down of football since this day, I don’t think she ever will again. For me, sharing the game with her, watching her celebrate events she had no idea about with total strangers will always stay with me.
M&T Bank is a special place. The people are special. I love it and can’t wait to return. Hopefully, if you haven’t already, you will experience it for yourself someday.
December 14, 2014
Jacksonville Jaguars 12
Baltimore Ravens 20
Game stats and report
Main photo: Keith Allison