Ray Lewis’s Career Is Prolonged: Ravens Upset Broncos
Earlier this week, I heard Skip Bayless call Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco “Joe Fluke-O.” For some reason the epithet stuck with me. I couldn’t get it out of my mind.
Then, during Saturday’s AFC Divisional Playoff Game in Denver, Colorado, Flacco showed us why Bayless calls him “Fluke-O.”
Okay, they were good flukes, but Flacco threw for three touchdowns and each one was a close-your-eyes, chuck-it-down-the-field, and hope-for-the-best heave. He had a few more on key third down plays late in the game.
Thanks to Flacco’s flukes the Ravens defeated the Denver Broncos 38-35 in double-overtime. Kicker Justin Tucker nailed a 47-yard field goal in the opening moments of the second overtime stanza to steal the victory.
What this means is the greatest linebacker of all-time, Ray Lewis, will play at least one more game. His career has not yet seen its finish.
It also means the Ravens will be playing in the AFC Championship Game for the second straight year.
Baltimore was aided by two touchdowns, one occurred with 40 seconds left in the first half and the other with 38 seconds left in second half. Their other big play was an interception by Corey Graham late in the first overtime period.
The Broncos got big boosts from two return touchdowns by Trindon Holiday—one punt (90 yards) and one kick (104 yards).
The first return gave the Broncos a 7-0 lead. Before Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning even touched the football his team had the lead.
So really, the Ravens defense only surrendered 21 points which isn’t bad for being on the road.
The Broncos defense, much ballyhooed entering the game, saw their backfield consistently torched. Cornerback Champ Bailey was burned was twice. The rest of the “D” played okay but when Flacco got time (he was seldom pressured) he found receivers. And he seemed to do so whenever he needed to in the fourth quarter and overtimes.
In the first quarter, Manning threw a pick-six but the ball was tipped. He threw another interception in overtime which led to the game-winning field goal. He also lost a fumble in the third quarter. Overall, Manning played okay (he did throw for three touchdowns) but didn’t protect the ball and couldn’t muster any big plays.
The defeat only elongates Manning’s lengthy postseason failures.
The Broncos as a team were fairly consistent, but minus Holiday’s returns, the Ravens made all the big plays on defense and offense.
Baltimore back Ray Rice had a huge game. He finished with 131 yards and a touchdown.
Flacco went 18 for 34 for 331 yards, 3 touchdowns, and NO interceptions.
It will be debated for a long time. Broncos’ head coach John Fox’s opted to let the clock expire at the end of the 1st half with three timeouts and 30-odd seconds on the clock. He made the same decision, with a little bit less to play and just two timeouts at the end of the game. On both occasions the game was tied and the hometown fans booed.
The game was very entertaining and surprisingly high scoring. Few would have predicted such a robust point total in an affair involving the Ravens. The second half and overtime were marred by a number of suspect penalties.
Temperatures were below freezing and light snow fell in the 4th quarter and overtime.
The Ravens will play the New England Patriots next Sunday in Foxbourgh. The winner goes to the Super Bowl.
The Atlanta Falcons are hosting the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship game.
Three of the four teams that reached the conference championship games in 2012 return in 2013. The New York Giants made it last year and they’re being replaced this year by the Falcons.