It’s so terribly cliché, but sometimes there is a turning point in a season that you can point to in hindsight that propelled one team on to greatness while it doomed the other to abject failure. While the team that was clearly driven to success was the Baltimore Ravens, the other side of that miserable coin was the San Diego Chargers.
Obviously the moment in question is the now infamous 4th&29 play where Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco harmlessly dumped the ball off to running back Ray Rice in a last ditch effort to gain some yardage on a fourth down that appeared hopeless. Unfortunately for the Bolts, the only thing really hopeless on that play were their efforts to tackle the Ravens ball carrier as he evaded tacklers, was aided by a questionable block in the back from wide receiver Anquan Boldin on safety Eric Weddle, and found the necessary 29 yards to get a first down out of a certain turnover on downs.
While the Chargers’ terrible tackling techniques were mainly at fault for Rice being able to find the necessary yardage to gain a first down, that one play basically encompassed the entire season for San Diego. Bad angles, shoddy tackling, and ill-preparedness allowed Rice to gain the yards on that one play, but lack of attention to detail, poor technique, and terrible coaching were all common factors in the other mishaps along the way for the Bolts during the 2012 campaign.
In the same way, that single play perfectly described the whole year for the Ravens. Perseverance, determination, and effort along with proper execution all led to their eventual hoisting of the Lombardi trophy. Often times it is cliché to say that one play actually changed the complexion of a single game, but in this case, one play altered the outcome of an entire season.