Ravens beat Denver in 2OT; The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

The Denver Broncos had a touchdown lead with under a minute left in regulation, when Joe Flacco found Jacoby Jones for a 70 yard strike down the field to tie the game.

In the 2nd Overtime, the Baltimore Ravens completed their upset of the AFC’s #1 seed. With the 38-35 victory, Baltimore advances to their 3rd AFC Championship Game in the past 5 years, and Ray Lewis’ career is extended for at-least one more week.

The Good:

1) Baltimore’s initial drive started with a 5 yard carry from Rice. On 2nd down, the Ravens moved the chains with a quick slant to Boldin. Rice would then squirm through an attempted Broncos tackle for 8 yards. The drive would end with a punt, but it was good to see a couple of positive offensive plays right away.

2) On Baltimore’s 2nd drive, the Ravens were able to move the chains on 3rd and 8 when Carter was charged with pass interference on Doss. On 1st and 10, Boldin picked up 8 yards. On the next play, Flacco found a streaking Smith for 59 yards and the TD. Smith beat Bailey on the play, and Flacco had a clean pocket to throw from. With the extra-point, the Ravens tied the game at 7.

3) The Broncos 1st offensive series started with just over 10 minutes left in the 1st Quarter. After Moreno gained 4 yards on 1st down, Manning’s 2nd down pass went incomplete. On 3rd down, Manning’s pass was tipped, and Graham grabbed the interception and took it to the house. With the extra-point, Baltimore grabbed the 14-7 lead.

4) After Denver tied the game at 14, Baltimore’s offense got back to work. On a roll-out, Flacco found Dickson for 10 yards. On 2nd and 5, Flacco’s other TE (Pitta) got into the action with a 16 yard grab over the middle. An inside screen to Dickson closed out the 1st Quarter, and set-up 3rd and 2 from the Denver 43. The Ravens did not pick up the 1st, but were able to pin the Broncos within their 10 yard line on the punt.

5) Denver was forced to punt on their 1st series of the 2nd Quarter, when Manning could not pick up 3rd and 10. Graham had nice coverage on the play.

6) On the Broncos 3rd drive of the 2nd Quarter, Suggs came up with a stop in run coverage on 3rd and 3. After Denver was awarded a 1st down on their 1 yard, 4th and 1 run; Harbaugh challenged the call. Regardless of the outcome of the challenge, I liked the decision to throw the flag and give the defense some additional time to rest. Despite Denver’s 1st down standing, the Ravens defense stood-up and forced 52 yard FG attempt which was missed.

7) After Prater’s missed FG, Flacco stood-in against pressure, and found Boldin for 11 yards to move the Denver 47. That was followed with a 15 yard out to Pitta to the Denver 32. Another beautiful throw-and-catch to Smith, whose young legs beat Bailey again. Of course it wasn’t just his legs making the play, as he went up and got the ball. It was supremely important to get points before the end of he half, getting a tying TD was a bonus. With the extra-point, the game was tied at 21 with 36 seconds left in the 1st half. The Ravens needed 3 plays over 40 seconds to go 58 yards for the score.

8) Rice picked up the Ravens first 3rd down conversion, on a 3rd and 2 pitch for 20 yards during Baltimore’s first series of the 3rd Quarter. A nice block was provided by Pitta. Rice’s run took the Ravens to their 47.

9) During Denver’s first series of the 3rd Quarter, Kruger forced an errant pass from Manning. Later in that series, Ellerbe made a nice play over the middle to break up a catch. On 3rd and 5, the Ravens defense got Denver off the field.

10) The Ravens 2nd drive of the 3rd Quarter started at their 3 yard line. Hard runs from Pierce and Leach set-up 3rd and 4. On that play, Smith picked up the 1st with a 7 yard gain. This gave the Ravens a 1st, and moved Baltimore out of horrible field position.

11) Nice play from Williams, making a play on to break up a pass to Decker on Denver’s 2nd series of the 3rd Quarter. Ngata brought pressure the next play, and got Manning to the ground (after the pass). After Tamme picked up a Broncos 1st down, Upshaw made a good play, running Hillman into a 3 yard loss. After a penalty on the Broncos, Denver faced 3rd and 11. McPhee sacked Manning and caused a fumble which was recovered by Kruger giving Baltimore the ball at the Denver 37.

12) Kruger’s recovered fumble set-up the Ravens 3rd possession of the 3rd Quarter. On 2nd and 9, the Ravens offensive line opened up a huge hole, and Rice raced 32 yards to the Denver 4 yard line. Rice ran between the tackles for 3 yards, and was stopped on 2nd down for no gain. On 3rd and Goal, Rice found the end-zone. With the extra-point, the Ravens tied the game at 28.

14) After Rice’s TD, the Ravens made the decision to not allow Holiday have any chance at a return on the following Kickoff. The Broncos started their 3rd drive of the Quarter, with 15 seconds left in the Quarter. As the 4th Quarter began, Suggs got a sack on 3rd down to force a punt.

15) Down 35-28, and facing 3rd and 7 on their 2nd drive of the 4th Quarter, Boldin picked up the 1st with a 19 yard catch. That reception took the Ravens to their 47. That was followed by another Boldin catch, this time for 17 yards to the Denver 36.

16) After turning the ball over on downs with 3:12 left in the 4th Quarter, the Ravens defense was able to get Manning off the field, and give their offense another opportunity to tie the game.

17) The Ravens last drive started at their 23, with 1:09 left in the game. Baltimore faced 3rd and 3, with Denver dropping 8 guys into coverage. Somehow, Flacco found Jones for a 70 yard TD. Really one of the more remarkable plays I’ve ever seen.

18) In OT, the Ravens faced 3rd and 8, when Boldin came down with a tough catch on the sidelines. On 3rd and 4, Bailey was charged with pass interference on Smith. This took the Ravens to their 48. On 2nd and 9, Flacco found Jones on a slant to set up 3rd and short (2).

19) On Denver’s first series in OT, the Ravens came up with a 3rd and 1 stop of Hillman at the Denver 39.

20) On the Ravens 2nd OT series, the Ravens faced 3rd and 13 from their 3 yard line, Flacco threw a perfect seam pass to Pitta for 24 yards and the first down.

21) Following the Ravens 2nd OT punt, Jimmy Smith made a great special teams tackle. This had the Broncos starting within their 5 yard line.

22) Ellerbe made a good tackle on Denver’s 2nd series of OT, setting up 3rd and short. After Hester picked up 3rd and short, Kruger got pressure on 1st down, and Manning threw on the move into the middle of the field. Graham came up with his 2nd pick, and the Ravens started their 3rd series of OT, from the Denver 45 with less than a minute left in the 1st OT.

23) On 2nd and 10 from the Denver 45, Rice found a hole, and Yanda pushed him across the 1st down line. Tucker punched the Ravens ticket to the AFC Championship with his 47 yard kick.

The Bad:

1) On Baltimore’s first series, Boldin was unable to come up with a catch on 2nd and 2. Denver’s Harris got his hand-up on the play. On 3rd and 2, Rice was stuffed.

2) After Holiday’s PR for the TD, Jones did not come up the Kickoff cleanly, forcing the Ravens offense to start from deep in their own territory.

3) On Baltimore’s 2nd drive, Flacco missed an open Dickson.

4) Following Graham’s interception, Moreno had a 1 yard loss on 1st down. On 2nd down, there was an ineligible receiver down-field for Denver. This had the Broncos facing 2nd and 16. On 3rd and 7, Tamme gained 21 yards. On 2nd and 8, Decker had a 13 yard catch for another 1st down. On 2nd and 10, Cody was charged with illegal use of hands. On 1st and 10 from the Ravens 31, Moreno picked up 3 yards. Thomas got the Broncos that much closer, elevating to pick up 11 yards to the 17. On 3rd and 8 from the 15, Manning had all day to throw, and he found Stokley for a tying TD.  Denver’s 5 minute 40 second drive took 11 plays, covering 74 yards. Horrible series for the Ravens defense.

5) The first play of the 2nd Quarter was Baltimore facing 3rd and 2 from the Denver 43. Baltimore attempted to go down the field to Smith, but the throw from Flacco led his young WR out of bounds.

6) Denver’s first series of the 2nd Quarter started with a face-masking penalty from Ellerbe.

7) Baltimore’s first full series of the 2nd Quarter, started with Flacco again finding Dickson. The 14 yard catch from Dickson took the Ravens to their 33. On 2nd and 8, Smith beat Bailey down the field for a 2nd time, but Flacco was not able to find his WR. This was a missed opportunity for the Ravens.

8) The Broncos 2nd series of the 2nd Quarter started at their own 14. Thomas started the drive with a 9 yard reception. Moreno followed with a 5 yard run, and a 7 yard catch. Hillman would run off LT for 6 yards, and Decker would gain 10 yards to the left on a catch. The Broncos reached the Ravens 14 when Decker caught a 32 yard pass, after a missed tackle from Chykie Brown. On the following play, Moreno caught a pass and scored on a double move on Ellerbe. With the extra-point, Denver took the 21-14 lead.

9) Despite a 6 yard gain from Rice on 2nd down, Baltimore went 3 and out on their 2nd full series of the 2nd Quarter, when Flacco and Boldin could not connect on 3rd and 4. This made Baltimore 0 for 4 on 3rd down conversions.

10) Following the fumble from Flacco in the 3rd Quarter, the Broncos gained their first 1st down of the 2nd half, with Lewis being charged with pass interference (intentionally) on Stokley. That was followed with a ridiculous call on Suggs (which was not accepted), and an accepted call by Williams. The penalties negated a sack on Manning.

11) On 3rd and 10 on Denver’s 2nd series of the 3rd Quarter, Manning found Tamme for an 11 yard gain to the Broncos 46.

12) The Ravens went 3 and out on their first series of the 4th Quarter, with Boldin unable to pull in a pass, which is a bit out in-front of him.

13) Denver started their first series of the 4th from their 12 yard line.  On 2nd and 10 from the 34, Dressen made an 11 yard catch. In addition to that reception, Brown was charged with unnecessary roughness taking the ball to the Ravens 40. On 3rd and 3, Williams was charged with defensive holding, giving Denver a 1st down at the Baltimore 28. Decker would move the chains, with a 1st down to the Ravens 17. Missed tackles from Reed, and Lewis allowed Thomas to find the end zone. The 10 play, 88 yard, 5 minute drive put Denver up 35-28 with 7:11 left in the game.

14) Osemele was charged with a false start on the Ravens 2nd drive of the 4th Quarter, putting the Ravens in a 1st and 15 situation at the Broncos 42. On that drive, Smith had an ineffective block on Rice’s run to the outside. On 3rd and 5, Jones could not come up with a needed catch. On 4th and 5, Pitta was draped in coverage, and the Ravens turned the ball over on downs. Prior to the 4th down, Harbaugh was forced to use a timeout when Flacco faced a delay of game penalty.

15) In OT, with the Ravens facing 3rd and 2 from the Denver 44; Flacco was sacked by Miller and Dumervil.

16) Following Denver’s OT punt, Reed was back for the punt return. Instead of letting the punt go, he made the catch and attempted to make the return. He was stopped, an the Ravens were forced to start deep in their territory.

17) Flacco and the Ravens offense was charged with a delay of game in OT, forcing a 3rd and 13 situation from the Ravens 3 yard line. After Pitta’s first down catch, the Ravens were forced to punt for a 2nd time in OT.

18) Manning and the Broncos were backed-up to start their 2nd drive of OT. An 11 yard out to Decker got Denver out to their 23. On 3rd and short, Hester picked up a first.

The Ugly:

1) A devastating early blow, giving Denver 7 points on Holiday’s 89 yard PR for a Touchdown.

2) A devastating blow right after half-time, giving Denver 7 more points on Holiday’s 104 yard KR for a TD. To give away one score on Special Teams is brutal. For it to happen twice, is inexcusable. It should be mentioned that Holiday would not have had a chance for any return, had Tucker knocked his kickoff out of the endzone. Ayanbadejo missed a tackle.

3) Baltimore’s first series of the 3rd Quarter reached the Denver 43, but ended on a fumbled exchange between Birk and Flacco.

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About the author


Chris Stoner   

Majority Owner

Chris Stoner founded Baltimore Sports and Life in 2009. He has appeared as a radio guest with 1090 WBAL, 105.7 The Fan, ESPN 1300, FOX 1370, WOYK 1350, WKAV 1400, and WNST 1570. You can find Stoner on Twitter @BmoreSportsLife, and you can reach him via email at Chris.Stoner@baltimoresportsandlife.com.


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