It may have been the most joyous cross-country flight in franchise history for the Baltimore Ravens Sunday evening.
The long trip home from San Diego was already going to be extra jovial after the Ravens snatched victory from the jaws of defeat in their miraculous 16-13 overtime victory over the San Diego Chargers.
After three-plus quarters of uninspired and ugly football, the Ravens found themselves trailing by 10 with only 7:51 remaining in the fourth quarter.
After mustering a mere three points through three-plus quarters, Joe Flacco finally got the stagnant offense moving, as he drove them down the field and found his favorite red zone target, Dennis Pitta, for a 4-yard touchdown.
The Ravens’ defense then held serve and forced the Chargers to punt with enough time left for a game-winning or game-tying drive.
However, after the renewed hope, the Ravens again back peddled and found themselves in a 4th-and-29 situation with all hope appearing to be gone.
However, Ray Rice took a one-yard dump off pass from Flacco and made some magical moves to secure a first down, which ultimately led to a Justin Tucker 38-yard game-tying field goal.
After a couple stalled drives by both teams in overtime, Flacco and the Ravens again got into Tucker’s massive range. The rookie kicker sealed the victory with another 38-yard field goal, capping the amazing comeback.
Paired with a Pittsburgh Steelers‘ loss earlier in the day, the Ravens now hold a commanding three-game lead in the AFC North.
As if things weren’t already looking great after the miraculous win and loss by the Steelers, the news surfaced that Ray Lewis, who had been thought to be lost for the season, is evidently going to be able to make a comeback by the playoffs.
With the defense starting to play better the last two weeks, the news of Lewis returning can only further excite a unit that would love to get their emotional and on-field leader back in time for a Super Bowl run.
So, after an unreal come from behind victory highlighted by a play for the ages by Rice, a loss by the Steelers and the probability of getting Lewis back at some point down the stretch, that long flight home for the Ravens was about as enjoyable as can be.
The once severely-damaged Super Bowl chances for the Ravens appear to be back in tact as they get healthy and sit near the top of the weak AFC. Considering how this team looked after they were destroyed by the Houston Texans in week seven, the season-saving turnaround since the bye week can be characterized by the effort against the Chargers on Sunday.