Ravens shock Broncos in double OT
Welcome to NFL immortality, Joe Flacco.
Somewhere up there in the all-time play-off archives near the 'Hail Mary' by Staubach and the 'Immaculate Reception' by Franco, now lives the 'Flacco Fling' by the Baltimore Ravens quarterback.
One big throw down the sideline, 70 make-or-break yards on a wing and a prayer - a high, arcing touchdown pass that soared through the icy air, flew over two defenders, landed in the hands of Jacoby Jones, saved the game for Baltimore and kept Ray Lewis' 17-year career going at least one more week.
The record will show Justin Tucker kicked a 47-yard field goal 1:42 into the second overtime Saturday to give the Ravens a 38-35 victory over Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos. But it was so much more. It was a crazy, back-and-forth instant classic of an AFC divisional play-off game. The highlight? That would be Flacco's game-tying touchdown to Jones on third-and-three from the 30 with 31 seconds left in regulation and no time-outs.
"At that point," Flacco said, "you have to start taking shots. You have to get a little lucky."
And while Flacco gets to celebrate that throw, Manning will have a long off season to think about a really bad one.
On Denver's second possession of overtime, he stopped and threw across his body to the middle of the field and into the arms of Ravens cornerback Corey Graham at Denver's 45. Baltimore (12-6) ran five plays and gained 16 yards before Tucker sailed his winning kick inside the right upright.
"Yeah, bad throw," Manning said. "Probably the decision wasn't great either. I thought I had an opening, and I didn't get enough on it, and I was trying to make a play and certainly a throw I'd like to have back."
Lewis, who led the Ravens with 17 tackles over this nearly 77-minute game in 13-degree weather, kneeled down to the ground and put his helmet on the rock-solid turf when it was over.
"I've never been a part of a game so crazy in my life," he said.
This game, the longest since the Browns beat the New York Jets 23-20 in 1987, was an all-timer - up there with San Diego's 41-38 double-overtime victory over Miami when it comes to drama, momentum shifts and the unexpected. But Flacco's throw might best be bookended next to one made by Dallas quarterback Roger Staubach, who famously brought the term 'Hail Mary' to football after his game-winning toss to Drew Pearson beat Minnesota in the 1975 play-offs.