James Ihedigbo saved by Ravens' win in overtime

James Ihedigbo saved by Ravens' win in overtime
November 10, 2013, 6:30 pm
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Ihedigbo grabs two picks, talks Ravens win

The Ravens won in overtime Sunday, so safety James Ihedigbo could sleep more peacefully.

Imagine if the Ravens had lost, after Ihedigbo made what he called a “bonehead’’ play at the end of regulation. Instead of batting down Andy Dalton’s Hail Mary pass, Ihedigbo deflected the ball high into the air, right toward the waiting arms of Bengals wide receiver A. J. Green.

Touchdown Bengals. Score tied at 17. Overtime.

The crowd at M & T Bank Stadium was stunned. The Ravens were stunned. Several defensive players were caught on television cameras screaming at each other.  However, Ihedigbo deserved credit. He took the blame. And then he focused on making amends.

“You get two interceptions, and then I make a bonehead play to kind of put us in the position that we were,” said Ihedigbo, describing his range of emotions during the Ravens’ wacky 20-17 win. “You could do one of two things. You could sulk your head and go, ‘Oh man’, and give up another one. Or you can say, hey, next time they throw the ball in my vicinity, I’m going to make a play.”

That’s what Ihedigbo did. With the Bengals driving in overtime, Ihedigbo and Daryl Smith stopped Giovani Bernard for no gain on third-and-two at the Ravens’ 33-yard line. Then on fourth and two, Bernard caught a short pass from Dalton and tried to reverse field to pick up the first down. However, he was pursued by a posse of Ravens’ defenders, and dropped for an 11-yard loss. The Ravens took over on downs, and drove for the game-winning field goal.

Ihedigbo was off the hook. Now he could celebrate his first two career interceptions, and the Ravens’ first victory in more than a month. It will much easier for Ihedigbo when he sees the Bengals’ Hail Mary pass played over and over again on television replays. 

What went wrong?

“My job’s to be back, almost in the back of the end zone,” Ihedigbo said. “I saw the ball get caught in the wind. I knew it was going to be short, so I moved up, bonehead move, I moved up a little bit. I should have just stayed back. It probably would have feel right in my lap. I saw it drifting, tried to slap it to the ground. It went up in the air, easy touchdown.”

Easy touchdown, but the final result was a hard fought win for the Ravens. One that Ihedigbo won’t forget anytime soon.