It was a frosty bone-chilling afternoon in Colorado, Saturday Jan. 12, as the Baltimore Ravens came out on top of the Denver Broncos 38-35 in double overtime to move on to the AFC Championship game next weekend.
While much of the focus prior to kickoff was on Denver’s quarterback great, Peyton Manning, and Baltimore’s retiring Ray Lewis, it was the Ravens offense led by Joe Flacco that got things done in the end.
The game was a tightly fought battle throughout as the Broncos and Ravens traded touchdowns; it seemed two teams could not be more evenly matched. The box score shows the same amount of points scored by each team in each quarter : 14 for both in the first quarter and seven in each additional quarter. It took 77 minutes for the Baltimore Ravens to at last emerge victorious.
It wasn't a bad game for Manning who went 28 for 43 with 290 yards and three touchdowns, but the Ravens offense was just a little bit better. Joe Flacco threw for 331 yards, and running back Ray Rice rushed 131 yards, averaging 4.4 yards per carry.
However the overall stats only tell part of the story. The 70-yard touchdown pass from Flacco to Jacoby Jones with 31 seconds left in regulation kept the Ravens alive and sent the game into overtime.
The first overtime was ticking away when perhaps the most significant game changing play ensued as Peyton Manning was picked off by Ravens cornerback Corey Graham on the Bronco’s 45. Into the second overtime and three runs by Ray Rice later, the Baltimore Ravens Justin Tucker kicked the 47-yard game winning field goal. Raven's head coach John Harbaugh planted a celebratory smooch on Rice's noggin as the ball sailed through the uprights.
It is on to the AFC Championship game next week for the Baltimore Ravens who will hit the road again to face either the New England Patriots or Houston Texans, while Peyton Manning and his Denver Broncos are left to ponder what could have been.