Ravens' greatest game ever, no doubt

Ravens' greatest game ever, no doubt
January 13, 2013, 11:15 am
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We have a tendency, especially when it comes to sports, to be quick to label the latest as the greatest. So, without even 24 hours of perspective, we should be cautious before we attach a superlative to Saturday’s Ravens victory over the Broncos.

However, even given that the excitement has yet to die down, this can safely be called the Ravens’ greatest game ever. Why? Start with the fact that it was a playoff game and go from there:

*The Ravens were big underdogs. During the week, the Broncos were favored by about 10 points. Most national prognostications went for Denver.

*They beat Peyton Manning. Though Manning’s postseason record doesn’t match up to his regular-season success, he has had the Ravens’ number throughout his career.

*It was a thrilling game. The score stayed close throughout. The Ravens tied the game four times, the last time with under a minute left in regulation, and led for only about five minutes in the first quarter.

*The game was filled with memorable plays that could fill a month’s worth of highlights. Torrey Smith’s two touchdown catches against Champ Bailey. Trindon Holliday’s punt and kickoff returns for touchdowns. Jacoby Jones’ 70-yard TD catch on Joe Flacco’s heave to send the game to overtime.

*The Ravens had the Ray Lewis factor. Each game could be his last. Even more than usual, he’s wearing his emotions on his sleeve.

There is really no argument for any other game in Ravens history. No other postseason contest has had so many twists and turns. And if you want to pick their Super Bowl victory over the Giants as the most important game, fine. But that one had no suspense to it.

As for where this ranks among Baltimore’s greatest NFL games of all time — or even among the league’s all-time best — that perspective may take more time. After all, the Colts did win a league championship in The Greatest Game Ever Played. But this generation of Baltimore fans has a game it can talk about to the grandchildren.