“It wasn’t pretty. It wasn’t perfect. But it was us.”—John Harbaugh, after Super Bowl XLVII
How did he know those words would apply to what was essentially a must-win game 10 months later?
It wasn’t pretty. There were slips, drops, missed tackles and penalties.
It sure wasn’t perfect. Baltimore turned the ball over three times and allowed two touchdowns in 42 seconds, late in the 4th
But it was the Ravens. They made plenty of errors, but when it counted the most, they got the job done.
The Vikings lost Adrian Peterson, their best player and last year’s MVP, early in the 2nd quarter after he was injured while being tackled by Arthur Brown. Peterson rushed seven times for only 13 yards.
A player who came back from injury that had a big impact on the game was Ravens tight end Dennis Pitta. In his first game back from a preseason hip fracture, Pitta made six receptions for 48 yards and one touchdown.
Said Flacco on what his tight end meant to the team today: “He looked a little goofy on a couple catches, I thought. But Dennis is a good player. … He’s a huge player for us. He knows how to get open. He knows how to run routes. He catches the football. So, he means a lot.”
Pitta does mean a lot to this team. His score came with 2:05 remaining in the 4th quarter, and after a Flacco-to-Smith two-point conversion, the Ravens were ahead, 15-12.
But that was just the beginning.
Toby Gerhart, Peterson’s replacement, gave the Vikings the lead 39 seconds later. He ran right up the middle of the Ravens’ defense for a 41-yard touchdown. Gerhart finished the game with 15 rushes for 89 yards and one touchdown.
That run was followed by three scores over the next 1:23. Jacoby Jones returned the ensuing kickoff 77 yards, which was followed by a Cordarrelle Patterson 79-yard TD reception, which was then topped by a Marlon Brown 9-yard toe-tapping reception in the back of the end zone.
The 207 yards in the last 2:05 made up 29.4 percent of the game’s total yardage. The 36 points in the last 2:05 made up 65.5 percent of the game’s total points.
When asked how those final minutes felt, Jones said, “Man you couldn’t even really get emotional. It was too confusing.”
The last time these two teams played, the Ravens lost by two points in Minnesota as Steven Hauschka missed a 44-yard field goal as time expired.
This time Baltimore won by three points at home after scoring a touchdown with four seconds left.
Today marked the Ravens’ fourth win in their last five games (all at home) and improves their record to 7-6. Baltimore’s next game is also against an NFC North opponent, as they play at Detroit in eight days on Monday Night Football.
Until then, or maybe just for the next 36 hours, the Ravens ought to simply breathe and enjoy this one.
“Will we ever see another game like that again? … That was a great fight, and I think it’s one we’ll all remember,” said Harbaugh.
GIF provided by Gordon Dixon