Five plays that ruined Ravens' season: No. 4

January, 7, 2014
Jan 7
4:00
PM ET
All week the Baltimore Ravens blog will look at the five plays that ruined the team's season. Let's continue the countdown with the No. 4 play:

WHEN: Oct. 20, 2013

WHERE: A 19-16 loss in Pittsburgh

THE PLAY: The Steelers' Emmanuel Sanders returns a fourth-quarter kickoff 44 yards to jumpstart Pittsburgh's game-winning drive

WHAT THEY SAID: Ravens coach John Harbaugh: “Our contain guy, that’s just unforgivable to let the ball get outside of you right there. There’s absolutely no reason for it. The ball was bouncing around down there. It’s not like they’ve got that schemed up with the ball bouncing like that. ... That should have never happened.”

WHY IT RUINED THE RAVENS' SEASON: The Ravens had all of the momentum after tying the game at 16 with 1:58 left in the game, when Joe Flacco hit Dallas Clark for a 1-yard touchdown. That changed immediately when Sanders fielded the ensuing kickoff 7 yards deep in the end zone and ran it up the right sideline to the Steelers' 37-yard line. Seven plays later, the Steelers moved the ball 39 yards to set up Shaun Suisham, who kicked the winning, 42-yard field goal as time expired.

That was the longest kickoff return against the Ravens all season. How upset were the Ravens about that play? Michael Huff, who showed a lack of effort in losing outside containment, was released before the Ravens' next game. This loss dropped the Ravens to 3-4 and led linebacker Terrell Suggs to declare the team was in "a state of emergency."

Jamison Hensley

ESPN Ravens reporter

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