The Denver Broncos went into their AFC Divisional Playoff matchup Jan. 12, 2013, with the Baltimore Ravens expecting it to be more of the same. After having defeated the Ravens 34-17 in their last meeting, Peyton Manning and crew looked to have the game plan well in hand that could see them reach the AFC title game against the Houston Texans or New England Patriots.
However, that would prove not the case. The Ravens and Broncos kept place with each other all night long as a 14-14 first quarter gave way to each side scoring a touchdown in the second, third and eventually the fourth quarter.
Peyton Manning had led his side to a 28-35 lead at the two minute warning of the second half and looked ready for another showdown in the AFC Championship game. As the Broncos punted the ball to the Ravens with 1:15 left in the fourth quarter the fans at Sports Authority Field at Mile High were buzzing thinking all they had to do was shut down the Ravens and run out the clock.
But, in true irony, rather than Peyton Manning being the one to imitate legendary Bronco John Elway in the dying minutes of a game it was Baltimore Ravens man of the hour, Joe Flacco. Having been on the wrong end of several terrible passes and decisions in the last game against the Bronco's Flacco played one of the best playoff games of his career with three touchdowns and no interceptions for 331 yards going 18-34.
Flacco took the ball with 1:09 left hoping to make history for the Ravens and himself and he did just that. His first attempt to Dennis Pitta was incomplete, but the mobile quarterback took matters into his own hands rushing for seven yards to bring up a 3rd & 3 situation.
Then the big moment happened. Flacco stepped up in the pocket and went deep for Jacoby Jones who had sprinted based Denver's broken coverage to catch a 70-yard touchdown with 31 seconds left to force overtime. The Ravens would eventually secure an inspired 38-35 comeback victory thanks to a double overtime 47-yard field goal from Justin Tucker.
Speaking after the game to ESPN an emotional Ray Lewis who gets at least one more game in the NFL next weekend was nearly brought to tears from his teammates performance:
Our team is so confident and everything went against us, but we found a way to come here together and we're leaving together. It's just awesome.
The Ravens will now travel to either Houston or New England as the two top teams remaining in the AFC face off tomorrow night in Foxboro Massachusetts.
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