NFL Playoffs: Biggest Plays from the Baltimore Ravens – Denver Broncos Game
Big Moments in the Ravens - Broncos Game
With it being a few days after the Baltimore Ravens win over the Denver Broncos in the divisional round of the playoffs and time to start looking forward to the AFC Championship game, I thought it was the right moment to bust out a slideshow to help everyone really visualize and put a cap on what was possibly one of the biggest playoff upsets of all time.
During the game itself, momentum became a huge factor for both teams, especially in the second half, with the Broncos always seeming to be clawing themselves ahead little by little with each offensive series, only to have the Ravens make a play which would swing their old friend Mo back to the purple sideline and allow Joe Flacco and the Ravens offense to get themselves back in the game.
For me, after the Ravens had tied the game up at the end of the fourth and with the Broncos having two timeouts remaining, a real sign of submission and fear was the fact that John Fox called for Peyton Manning to kneel down to take the game into overtime. As a player, I think this is a terrible message to be sent by my coach and who knows what kind of impact that had on the Broncos going into overtime. Maybe Manning should have pulled one out of his old bag of tricks and audibled to a Hail Mary and channelled his inner Tim Tebow.
With that said, what follows are nine slides of the games biggest moments.
1. Trindon Holliday - 90 Yard Punt Return
The two teams had traded possessions and Sam Koch had unleashed a booming punt, Trindon Holliday fielded it, avoided one tackler and made reservations for 6, easy peasy. It all looked as though the Ravens special teams forgot to send out half of the punt coverage teams as Holliday was under no apparent pressure and ran it back with ease.
2. Torrey Smith - 59 Yard Touchdown Reception
After the excitement of the Holliday return, the Ravens offense came up with an immediate response. As the camera panned away from the Flacco pass towards the intended receiver, and to no surprise it was the speedster Torrey Smith who was striding under it to make the catch. What was surprising was All-Pro cornerback Champ Bailey trailing by a good few yards. Maybe it was just a fluke?
3. Corey Graham - 39 Yard Interception Return for Touchdown
Despite giving up most of the momentum gained by the Holliday return, normal service was set to resume as the Bronco offense took the field. All of a sudden, a tipped pass intended for Eric Decker found its way into the clutches of Corey Graham and after a unchallenged 39 yard scamper to the endzone, the score was 14-7 in the Ravens favour and Mile High was silent.
4. Torrey Smith - 32 Yard Touchdown Catch
Following Grahams pick-6, the Broncos proceeded to put some good drives together and a couple of touchdowns had them up 21-14. The Ravens then put together a late scoring drive that finished with another Torrey Smith touchdown grab over Champ Bailey, this time Smith made Bailey look like a complete amateur as he leapt up to grab the football whilst Bailey stumbled and fell off into the endzone. No fluke after all!
5.Trindon Holliday - 104 Yard Kickoff Return for Touchdown
Score tied, the Broncos were due to get the ball from the restart and the game was feeling relatively even, but good old Trindon Holliday decided that he would make another big impact by taking the second half kickoff all the way for another score. He made a couple of moves and the kicker miss (obviously), before he saw daylight and it was gameover for the Ravens kickoff coverage.
6. Demaryius Thomas - 17 Yard Touchdown Catch
This one had most feeling like the game was over. The Ravens defense was waning and it was late in the fourth quarter, a simple wide receiver screen from 17 yards out which should have been stopped at the point of the catch was woefully defended and Demariyus Thomas practically walked his way to paydirt. The crowd was up and rowdy, the Ravens seemed down and out. Surely the Broncos were moving on to the next round?
7. Jacoby Jones - 70 Yard Touchdown Catch
What is soon to be known as the ‘Flacco Fling’ and enshrined within Raven folklore really shouldn’t have been a catch to even start with. Third down and 41 seconds to go, Flacco avoided the rush, stepped up and unleashed a bomb in the direction of Jacoby Jones who had one defender trailing and a safety coming over to help, the safety completely misjudged the flight of the ball (I’ve been there, worst feeling EVER) and Jones made sure of the catch and walked it in. The game was tied.
8. Corey Graham - Overtime Interception
After the old Manning and Fox L formation to end the fourth quarter, the teams went into overtime and traded punts and field position, with a minute left to play and no draw in sight for Donovan McNabb, Manning was flushed out the pocket, before trying to find his old teammate Brandon Stokley only to have Corey Graham turn right around and take the interception from his knees, giving the Ravens excellent field position.
9. Justin Tucker - 47 Yard Field Goal
After the Graham interception, the Ravens kept it simple and managed to matriculate their way into field goal range. Tucker stepped up, showed poise, and slotted it without hesitation. Game over, job done, Ravens move on.