Mother Nature put a lump of coal in the Ravens’ stocking.
With a temperature of 17 degrees and a wind chill of two degrees at kickoff, Saturday’s 17-9 win over the Atlanta Falcons was the coldest home game in franchise history. It was two degrees colder than a Dec. 31, 2017, game against the Cincinnati Bengals, who beat Baltimore, 31-27, behind three touchdown passes from Andy Dalton, including a 49-yarder to Tyler Boyd on fourth-and-12 with 44 seconds left that ended the Ravens’ playoff hopes.
“It’s Christmas Eve day, it’s zero degrees. It’s not exactly ideal outdoor sports weather unless you’re an ice fisherman or something,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said with a hoarse voice after the game.
Baltimore was not the only team affected by cold weather on Christmas Eve. In the Cleveland Browns’ 17-10 loss to the New Orleans Saints, the temperature was 6 degrees at kickoff, making it the coldest regular-season game in franchise history. Meanwhile, the Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Seattle Seahawks with the wind chill at minus 2 at kickoff.
In Tennessee, the Titans faced the Houston Texans in their coldest home game in franchise history, with the temperature 20 degrees at kickoff. The game was delayed an hour due to the frigid weather and power outages that affected the area.
Despite the forecast, many fans flocked to M&T Bank Stadium and braved the harsh cold. Mark Trader, 59, is a season ticket holder and had no intentions of skipping Saturday’s game. The Anne Arundel County resident hasn’t missed a Ravens game and wasn’t going to let the weather keep him away.
“It was cold, but I was ready to go,” Trader said while wearing a custom-designed Ravens fireman helmet.
Thirty-six-year-old Falcons fan Chandler Ladd was coming to the game no matter what. Ladd, who flew in with his girlfriend from Atlanta on Friday, said they bought the tickets two months in advance with the expectations of enduring cold weather.
“It’s football,” Ladd said. “You never know what you are going to get. It’s just as cold back at home.”
A few Ravens appeared to be unfazed by the cold conditions — at least before the game. Right guard Kevin Zeitler, safety Chuck Clark, linebacker Patrick Queen and tight ends Mark Andrews and Josh Oliver warmed up in sleeveless shirts. Cornerback Marlon Humphrey was completely shirtless as he caught passes before kickoff.
“Personally, I don’t really care,” Andrews said. “I’ll play in anything, and I’ve played worse. Obviously, it’s a factor, but we’re glad to get the win.”
Playing high school football in Staten Island, New York, running back Gus Edwards grew accustomed to games like Saturday. Edwards said the weather forced the Ravens to stick with the running game, and they thrived. Baltimore totaled 184 rushing yards as Edwards rushed for 99 yards on 11 carries, including 67 yards in the second half.
“We had no choice but to run the ball,” Edwards said. “A lot of guys don’t want to tackle in those conditions.”
Rookie safety Kyle Hamilton praised the equipment staff for keeping everyone warm on the sideline.
“We have heated benches and [other] heaters and stuff like that,” he said. “So the only time you are cold is on the field. I think we do a good job with that.”
Ravens inside linebacker Patrick Queen said the wind was “brutal.” However, he thought the Ravens’ playoff loss to the Buffalo Bills in 2020 in Orchard Park, New York, was colder. Rookie center Tyler Linderbaum said Saturday was one of the coldest games he has played, but he adjusted as he moved around the field.
“This is the coldest game I’ve played in,” outside linebacker Tyus Bowser said. “But when you are in the moment, and your adrenaline is pushing, you throw that out of the way.”
Source: Berkshire mont