Reality: Until Sunday, 5 Touchdowns had never been scored in the final 2:05 of a game in the history of the NFL.
Perception: Wow. That is all you can say about the ending to Sunday’s Ravens game. Take one look at John Harbaugh on the sidelines at the end of that game and you know how crazy it was. He was speechless and nearly had no energy. He just hugged another coach in stunned silence and exhaustion. The game featured the shortest span featuring five combined TDs in the last 50 years. At the start of the 4th quarter, the Ravens led the Vikings 7-6. But then the Ravens and Vikings became the first in NFL history to have 6+ lead changes in the 4th quarter. They scored a combined 42 points in the 4th quarter after just scoring 13 total in the first three quarters. As ugly as the game was for the Ravens, they continue to just find ways to win when it matters most. Since the NFL merger, only five teams have had at least eight of their 1st 13 games decided by three points or fewer. The Ravens in 2012 and 2013 comprise two of those five.
Reality: Wide Receiver Marlon Brown has six touchdowns this year, tying Jamal Lewis for the 2nd-most by a Ravens rookie. Torrey Smith holds the record with seven in 2011.
Perception: If Brown can stay healthy, he will make a great #2 receiver next to Torrey Smith. Whenever he does play, he seems to make plays. And He made two big catches on that final drive yesterday. It was really great to see how composed he was able to stay in the midst of that snow storm. He said it was the first he had played in snow like that, since he’s a southern guy. But what may be more impressive are the throws that Joe Flacco made on that final drive.
Reality: Joe Flacco has now produced 18 career game-winning drives in the 4th quarter or overtime.
Perception: Joe was not great for the whole game, but he had many great plays in this game. He’s not RG3, Cam Newton, Russell Wilson but he has always had just enough mobility to make plays. That was evident yesterday when he broke a number of tackles and then picked up a huge gain.
c/o Gordon Dixon
He’s not Brady, Manning, or Brees, but Flacco knows how to find a way to win. He led them down the field, 80 yards, in just 45 seconds. No quarterback has done that in the NFL since 1981! Flacco now has 61 wins… that is the NFL record for most wins by a starting QB in his 1st 6 seasons. He is now 27-4 in home games dating back to 2010. Brady, Manning, and Brees may be three of the top quarterbacks to ever play the game, but I will stand behind Joe Flacco. If I need a game-winning drive, I’m glad he’s the quarterback of my team.
Reality: A lot of people, including me, think hosting a Super Bowl in a city that could be frigid and snowy is a bad idea.
Perception: Yesterday during the NFL Pre-Game shows, I tweeted “I don’t mind outside Super Bowls, but if it’s like this, then it’s bad for the game.” Three hours later I was singing a different tune. After watching the Dolphins/Steelers, Lions/Eagles and Vikings/Ravens all have exciting 4th quarters it might not be a bad things to have a Super Bowl out in the winter elements. And, if you are in to such things, the Farmer’s Almanac is predicting weather like what we saw in Baltimore and Philadelphia on Sunday, during this year’s Super Bowl.
Reality: The Ravens are the #6 seed in the AFC and control their own destiny to make the playoffs.
Perception: Listen, I get it. The Ravens have struggled all season. They have their flaws, but who doesn’t? The Patriots should have lost to the Browns yesterday. Even the Broncos, the Chiefs, and Colts have had their issues this year. As I’ve said all year… just make the playoffs, and then it’s anyone’s guess who will make the Super Bowl. The Ravens will never look pretty or win big, but they seem to find ways to win, even if it’s “lucky” or ugly. At 7-6, they control their own fate. They have two of their last three games on the road. That will decide who they really are. The next three games will NOT be easy, in Detroit, at home against the Patriots, and in Cincinnati. The Ravens need to view Week 15 as the start of the playoffs. Win or go home.