NFL Baltimore RavensDenver Broncos

NFL Playoff Classic: Baltimore Ravens Show Tremendous Resilience in Win Over Denver Broncos

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

If you had the privilege of watching the Baltimore Ravens defeat the Denver Broncos Saturday night, you were treated to one of the best playoff games in the history of the league. Nobody predicted the game that unfolded in Denver, nobody. Sure some picked the Ravens to win, and some predicted Peyton Manning would choke, but the way this one went down was unforeseen to say the least.

There will be tons of cliche analogies about this game, but it really did feature two teams that kept trading blows up until Justin Tucker‘s game-winning field goal sailed through the uprights. It was indeed the proverbial heavyweight fight, and all along the Ravens had a puncher’s chance.

All it took was one last big shot and Joe Flacco delivered with the game on the line late in the fourth quarter. The question of Fluko or Flacco was answered on this night in a big way. Flacco stepped up and threw several deep balls right on the money. The final one of course to Jacoby Jones on 70-yard bomb that sent the game into overtime.

But when people talk about this game much of the discussion will be about the Ravens defense, and of course the late interception from Manning. I’m not surprised by the performances from either party. I thought Baltimore would be up to the challenge with Ray Lewis, and I wasn’t going to shocked if Peyton had another bad playoff loss.

I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but Flacco was a better quarterback than Manning on this night. Undeniably, Flacco made the big plays, and Manning did not.

Those who jumped to conclusions and wrote off the Ravens were proven wrong. I really think this is a case of  ‘never underestimate the heart of a champion.’ Baltimore showed tremendous heart in this game, and I give a lot of the credit to Lewis. He again stepped up and led the team in tackles (17), and without the leadership and extra motivation that he’s providing the Ravens right now, I’m not sure they win this game.

In the playoffs it comes down to the little things, and in this one, the Ravens had more of an edge than the Broncos. It was a game that Denver no doubt should have won, but the Ravens just wouldn’t die. Along the way to their huge upset, they treated fans to one of the gutsiest performances they will ever witness.

Follow Andrew Fisher on Twitter @the_realfish