Ravens put on air show in Denver

Ravens put on air show in Denver
January 12, 2013, 10:00 pm
Share This Post

When the Ravens faced Denver last month, the Broncos returned an interception 98 yards for a touchdown, held Anquan Boldin without a catch and generally frustrated the Ravens en route to an easy 34-17 Denver win.

Wow, what a difference a month makes.

Facing Denver again in the AFC Divisional Round on Saturday night, Ravens receivers came up with one big play after another -- none bigger than an improbable, 70-yard touchdown catch by Jacoby Jones in the final minute of regulation -- to lead the Ravens to a stunning 38-35 win in overtime.

Torrey Smith, held to one catch against the Broncos in December, torched 12-time Pro Bowl cornerback Champ Bailey throughout the first half on Saturday, catching two touchdown passes and missing a third only because Joe Flacco overthrew him. 

Anquan Boldin, who last month against Denver was held without a catch -- just the second time in his 10-year career that has happened -- answered Saturday with six catches for 71 yards.

The Ravens also got another big day from their tight ends, with Dennis Pitta (3-55) and Ed Dickson (3-29) combining for six catches for 84 yards.

Flacco finished 18-for-34 for 331 yards, with three touchdowns and no interceptions.

Flacco and Pitta connected on one of the game's critical plays. Facing third-and-13 from the Ravens' 3-yard line in overtime, Flacco was standing in his own end zone when he found a leaping Pitta down the middle for a 24-yard gain.

That drive stalled, but the field position shift created by the ensuing punt helped set up Justin Tucker's game-winning field goal.

That play, though, never would have happened had Flacco not connected with Jones on a stunning, last-minute touchdown that will live in Ravens lore forever.

With the Ravens trailing 35-28 and no timeouts left, Flacco faced third-and-3 from the Ravens' 30-yard line. He stepped up in the pocket and launched a ball down the right sideline. Jones somehow slipped behind Denver safety Rahim Moore, who made a poor line to the ball and an ill-advised, mistimed jump. The ball dropped right into Jones' arms, and he walked into the end zone untouched for the game-tying score with 31 seconds left.

"I started to step up in the pocket and kept my eye on the safeties' depth at that point," Flacco said. "I just felt like I had a shot at maybe getting it over 'em.

"At that point in the game, you don't have any timeouts, you need to go some length, you gotta start taking shots at some point, and it happened to work out."

That was the case in the first half too, when Flacco and Smith teamed up against Bailey, the 34-year-old who had all sorts of trouble staying with Smith. He hauled in a 59-yard touchdown pass from Flacco that tied the game at 7, and then caught a 32-yard score that tied the game at 21 just before halftime.

Smith became the first Ravens player with two touchdown catches in a playoff game. They proved to be just two memorable catches on a night filled with them.