"I've never been on a roller coaster like that before"
Ravens coach John Harbaugh opened his post-game news conference by asking: "Will we ever see another game like that again?"
Indeed, the Ravens' remarkable 29-26 win over the Vikings -- featuring five touchdowns in the final 125 seconds -- was like no other in Ravens history. It is the first game in NFL history, in fact, featuring six lead changes in the fourth quarter, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
It also was, meteorologically speaking, like no other Ravens game: Never in the Ravens' 17-year history had they played a home game in measurable, driving snow
For 57 minutes, the weather was the leading storyline in what to that point was a sluggish affair. Then came the fireworks of the final three minutes, and it was almost easy to forget how the snow reduced visibility to near zero at times.
"In the first half, you could hardly see," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "I'm glad they wore purple pants. I'm not sure we would have ever seen them out there when the snow was coming down as heavy as it was."
It was a visual treat for the 50,000 or so hardy fans who braved the elements (attendance was announced at 70,921, but the stadium was about two-thirds full), but tough sledding for the grounds crew. The field was snow-covered before the game, and the best efforts of the grounds crew to clear the field after warmups was futile. Intense bands of snow covered the field again by game time.
"(In) the first half, the conditions were pretty brutal," tight end Dennis Pitta said. "The footing was terrible, the game was just so slow, and it made it tough to do anything effectively offensively."
It was so bad at one point that a small plow being used to clear the snow broke down -- and had to be pushed off the field during a TV timeout.
The Ravens took an all-hands-on-deck approach: According to Ravens vice president Kevin Byrne, members of the sales and marketing staff were part of the crew shoveling snow to clear the yard lines during stoppages in play.
"We played in a tornado in Chicago. We played in a monsoon in preseason in Tampa," Jacoby Jones said. "It was Disneyland on Ice today."
Vikings running back Adrian Peterson took to Twitter after the game to complain that Ravens fans were lobbing snowballs and ice balls at the Vikings.
Ravens officials said some fans were warned about throwing snowballs, but there were no reported ejections.
Afterward, the Ravens could smile after fighting through yet another day of wild weather.
"It's the first time I've ever played in the snow," tight end Ed Dickson said. "We're ready to play in any type of game. We've played in a hurricane this year. We've played in a blizzard. What else can they throw at us?"