This by far was the most exciting fourth quarter in football today. Six fourth quarter lead changes says it all. The Baltimore Ravens squeaked out a win against the Minnesota Vikings in what appeared to be an easy win on paper before the first whistle. However, that is why this game is played because on any given Sunday, any team can be upset if the will of their opponent is stronger. Luckily, Marlon Brown came through in the end to keep the Ravens’ playoff aspirations alive.
As I was saying earlier, you could have slept through the first three quarters of this game and still caught all of the jaw-dropping action in the fourth quarter. During those first three quarters, the Ravens appeared to have the same old issues. Joe Flacco was making errors as usual, throwing interceptions and not finding open receivers. Granted, he didn’t exactly have the weather on his side; there was snow everywhere. I’m sure at one point fans were trying to adjust their television sets, thinking the picture was skewed. Anyway, the entire offense was playing down to their level of competition. The defense and special teams were putting the Ravens in good field position by stopping Adrian Peterson and eventually knocking him out of the game, but the offense failed to do anything with it.
Everyone in M&T Bank Stadium was waiting to see something exciting from Dennis Pitta’s much anticipated return and for three quarters, but both he and Ray Rice were stagnant. In fact, Flacco had out rushed Rice with 22 yards prior to the RB waking up in the fourth. With that said, the Ravens’ offense finally showed in the fourth quarter and began to operate as if it was the 2012 playoffs all over again, scoring a whopping 22 points in the final quarter.
Rice seemed to have a Tim Tebow-like mentality; he began to heat up, gaining 43 yards on the ground in the final quarter. It appears as if the Ravens went away from the zone-blocking scheme and just let the line put a hat on a head and make a hole, which is what works better for these men. Rice was not the only one who started warming up against the Vikings. Flacco, Pitta and even Brown received their wake up-calls. The offense and special teams began to pick up the slack where the Defense was beginning to falter.
Pitta looked to have scored the game winning touchdown on fourth down, with 2:07 left on the clock, putting the score at 12-15 Baltimore. It appeared it was the Ravens’ day, but the Vikings had plenty to say about that. In a back and forth battle of wills totaling 42 points in one quarter, the game was decided with nine seconds left on the clock. Flacco connected on a nine-yard high pass to the back of the end zone to rookie Brown to save the day and claim the win against the Vikings. Brown was huge on the entire series, as he not only made the game winning touchdown, he was instrumental in catching a 35-yard pass from Flacco earlier in the drive.
Brown had a 92-yard performance and capped it off with the win for the team. This young buck now has five receiving TDs on the year and is really catching on with this offense. Flacco not only has a reliable weapon in him now, but now has Pitta back which makes this offense that much more deadly. Catch this offense on a day that is not filled with snow and opposing Defenses are in trouble.