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 9-yard touchdown pass to rookie Marlon Brown with 4 seconds left to give the Baltimore Ravens a 29-26 victory over the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday, 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?” Ravens kicker Justin Tucker exclaimed.
The game featured six lead changes in the fourth quarter. That is the most fourth-quarter lead changes in a single game in NFL history.
And the Ravens’ Jacoby Jones, who took a kickoff back 77 yards for a touchdown during the back-and-forth excitement, said, “You couldn’t even get emotional. It was too confusing.”
Brown’s catch concluded a five-play, 80-yard drive that took only 41 seconds.
• Dennis Pitta, in his season debut following a hip injury, caught a 1-yard, fourth-down pass from Flacco for a 15-12 lead with 2:05 remaining.
• Toby Gerhart, subbing for an injured Adrian Peterson, ran 41 yards to put Minnesota up 19-15 with 1:27 to go.
• Jones went the distance with the ensuing kickoff to give Baltimore a 22-19 edge with 1:16 left.
• 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,” Baltimore linebacker Terrell Suggs said. “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.
Minnesota (3-9-1) lost Peterson in the second quarter with an ankle injury, then dropped a game it appeared to have won. Twice.
“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 (today) and find out more.”
“You think you’ve seen everything and then a game like this happens,” Tucker said. “To sum it up in one word, it was pandemonium.”
Bal—Dickson 1 pass from Flacco (Tucker kick)
Min—FG Walsh 39
Min—FG Walsh 40
Min—Simpson 8 pass from Cassel (pass failed)
Bal—Pitta 1 pass from Flacco (T.Smith pass from Flacco)
Min—Gerhart 41 run (Walsh kick)
Bal—J.Jones 77 kickoff return (Tucker kick)
Min—Patterson 79 pass from Cassel (Walsh kick)
Bal—M.Brown 9 pass from Flacco (Tucker kick)
|Total Net Yards||379||325|
|Time of Poss.||27:48||32:12|
RUSHING—Minnesota, Gerhart 15-89, Peterson 7-13, Cassel 2-6, Patterson 1-6. Baltimore, Rice 17-67, Flacco 1-22, Pierce 7-12, Leach 1-0, J.Jones 1-(minus 4).
PASSING—Minnesota, Cassel 17-38-0-265. Baltimore, Flacco 28-50-3-245.
RECEIVING—Minnesota, Patterson 5-141, Jennings 5-53, Simpson 4-48, Carlson 2-19, Peterson 1-4. Baltimore, M.Brown 7-92, Pitta 6-48, Rice 5-42, J.Jones 4-37, Dickson 2-8, T.Smith 1-11, Pierce 1-5, Stokley 1-2, Leach 1-0.
MISSED FIELD GOALS—None.