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Ravens had special feeling in 2000


Jaguars fans can't help but wonder what would've come of the Baltimore Ravens had the Jaguars not collapsed in the second half of the week-two game in Baltimore.

If ever there was an example of the fine line between winning and losing, it is that week-two victory by the Ravens. The Jaguars were just one defensive stand away from defending their undefeated history against the Ravens.

Instead, the Ravens rallied, broke the Jaguars spell, then went on to this Sunday's Super Bowl. At halftime in Baltimore, when the Jaguars enjoyed a 23-7 lead, who would've thought the Ravens were headed for the Super Bowl and the Jaguars would post a losing record?

That's how it turned out, and largely because in the second half of that week-two game the Ravens developed a habit for making game-winning plays, and the Jaguars began a season-long penchant for late-game collapses.

There's no denying the quality of the Ravens defense. It is so dominant that it has been able to overcome a bulky offense all the way to pro football's pinnacle game.

In contrast, the Jaguars' potent and balanced offense, one of the best in the league, was too often unable to atone for the shortcomings of the team's defense. Why?

Championship teams have a way of developing a particular kind of chemistry for winning. The Ravens and their Super Bowl XXXV opponents, the New York Giants, are perfect examples of the chemistry factor. The Ravens developed that winning feeling in week two, on a day when their defense played its worst football in over two years. The Giants rode their coach's Nov. 19 playoff guarantee all the way through the final five weeks of the regular season and two weeks of the playoffs.

Clearly, the Ravens and Giants are chemistry teams. Just as clearly, the 2000 Jaguars were not.

Teams such as the Jaguars, which is to say those teams whose 2000 seasons were disappointments, need to do more in the offseason than repair their rosters. They also need to begin developing the sense of team that made the Ravens and Giants special in 2000.

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