Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Ravens rally late to upend Vikings

BALTIMORE—At first, it appeared the unrelenting snow would be the main topic of conversation.
Then came an incredible flurry of touchdowns—five over the final 125 seconds—that truly made this a one-of-a-kind, unforgettable football game.

After Joe Flacco threw a nine-yard touchdown pass to rookie Marlon Brown with four seconds left to give the Baltimore Ravens a 29-26 victory over the Minnesota Vikings yesterday, the Ravens couldn’t contain their excitement.
“Do you believe in miracles?” cornerback Jimmy Smith shouted as he ran off the field.
“What just happened?” wondered Ravens’ kicker Justin Tucker.
The game featured six different lead changes in the fourth quarter—the most in a single game in NFL history.
“You couldn’t even get emotional,” said Jacoby Jones, who took a kick-off back 77 yards for a touchdown during the back-and-forth excitement.
“It was too confusing.”
Brown’s catch concluded a five-play, 80-yard drive that took only 41 seconds.
Before that:
•Dennis Pitta, in his season debut following a hip injury, caught a one-yard, fourth-down pass from Flacco for a 15-12 lead with 2:05 to go;
•Toby Gerhart, subbing for an injured Adrian Peterson, ran 41 yards to put Minnesota up 19-15 with 1:27 left;
•Jones went the distance with the ensuing kick-off to give Baltimore a 22-19 edge with 1:16 remaining; and
•Matt Cassel threw a 79-yard touchdown pass to Cordarrelle Patterson with 45 seconds to play.
Then the Ravens (7-6) answered with one final salvo.
“I’ve never seen a game like that before,” said Baltimore linebacker Terrell Suggs.
“Besides the Super Bowl, that’s probably the most special win I’ve been a part of.
“Crazy game.”
Baltimore (7-6) has its first three-game winning streak of the season and the inside track for the second AFC wild card.
Meanwhile, Minnesota (3-9-1) lost Peterson in the second quarter with an ankle injury, then dropped a game it appeared to have won. Twice.
The Vikings also officially were eliminated from playoff contention.
“There were so many momentum shifts in the last couple of minutes, it seemed like the game would never end,” Cassel said.
Peterson, the NFL’s leading rusher and 2012 MVP, hurt his right foot in the second quarter after catching a short pass and being tackled near the sideline by linebacker Arthur Brown.
“We did X-rays and it came back pretty clear,” said Peterson, who finished with 13 yards on seven carries.
“The next step is to get an MRI done [Monday] and find out more.”

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