Baltimore Ravens: A Finish For The Ages!


Dec 8, 2013; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Marlon Brown (14) catches a pass in front of Minnesota Vikings safety Jamarca Sanford (33) — Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb, USA Today sports

The Baltimore Ravens 29-26 win over the Minnesota Vikings is going to be one of those games that will be re-played over and over for years to come. The images of the game will be etched in the minds of Ravens fans for decades.

Featuring four touchdowns in 1:30, each team twice thought they had the game won, and each twice thought they had been beaten. The old saying, “He who laughs last, laughs best” is certainly true today for the Ravens.

This game with the up and down the field in the final two minutes reminded me of being a kid playing football on the school playground when someone would say, “Let’s play tackle!”  Of course, nobody could tackle well, and those who were able to would be afraid to get their clothes dirty and get yelled at by their mothers. So, there was a touchdown on more plays than not!

We are going to be talking about this game all week, so rather than break it down now, let me just make a couple of observations.

Give Joe Flacco some credit. The guy threw three interceptions, yes. And it is true he has thrown a lot of them this year. But he can bring a team back. This was the 18th time in his career that he has brought the Ravens back in the final two minutes. The guy is good.

And it is good to have Dennis Pitta back. We talked last week about what this would mean for the red zone offense, and sure enough, it was on display today. After a few drops, Pitta got totally into the flow of the game. His return is huge for the Ravens.

Ray Rice found his stride in the snow and the ice – just sayin.’  His 67 yards on the ground and 42 through the air appeared to be accompanied with an aggressive attitude.

Jacoby Jones – wow. No coaches in the way this week. I did laugh out loud when I saw a tweet from Birds Watchers editor Domenic Vadala (the Orioles page on this network) that said, “Mike Tomlin would have caught Jacoby Jones!”  Having said that, I’ll really be impressed with Jacoby takes it back along the right sideline instead of the left.

And the final catch by rookie Marlon Brown – simply outstanding to get the feet down and hold the ball. It saves the season, at least for now.

The Ravens needed to win these last three games to get to 7-6 and have a shot against the Lions, Patriots, and Bengals. They got it done.

And of the team … at the risk of offending Ravens fans by making a Dallas Cowboys analogy… Probably most who read this have no memory of seeing Roger Staubach play. He was famous in the late 70s for his ability to bring the Cowboys back at the end. He wrote a book about this and his experiences with one of the great teams in NFL history entitled “Time Enough to Win.”  The Ravens – led by Flacco – are becoming that sort of an outfit, always believing they have time enough to win.

Final thought for now —- I was going to say, “I don’t want to rain on your parade” … but your parade has already been snowed on for about 8-9 inches. But anyhow – though it was great for the Ravens to get out of this game with a win, and though it was a great finish we’ll never forget, I’m not sure these sorts of games prove much about team talent. On an extreme weather day like today, perhaps the worst team can manage to hang in games against much better teams. Terrible weather is such an equalizer that it proves little, other than who can survive best to the end. It would appear that the Ravens got out of this game unscathed without losing anyone, though the Vikings had a couple of big losses of personnel today… particularly Adrian Peterson – who did not enjoy his Baltimore visit according to his tweet after the game.

More to come all this next week … as we’ll take a look inside the numbers and anticipate the big finish of the season.