The thrill of victory

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It’s been more than 24 hours since the Ravens pulled off one of the memorable wins in NFL Playoff History and my heart rate is still through the roof. I tossed and turned in bed last night as I replayed Flacco’s 70-yard TD heave to Jacoby Jones in my head.

How did we get here? No one wanted to see the Baltimore Ravens move past Peyton Manning on Saturday. Baltimore’s team was supposed to be a stepping-stone on the journey to #18 cementing his legacy.

Ray Lewis couldn’t beat Peyton Manning. Joe Flacco couldn’t complete passes against the great Champ Bailey. The Ravens offensive line had no shot blocking Denver’s Dumervil and Miller.

But then they played the game. And what a game it was. As the two teams traded body blows I kept saying, “Damn, this is a good game.”

It was clear that the Ravens had come to play and despite seemingly backbreaking special teams letdowns Joe Flacco’s sideline demeanor was as light as the Denver air. He was patient and fearless. He was Baltimore’s Quarterback.

Ray Lewis told media after the game that he had passed the torch to Flacco and that he was only there to facilitate. The defense facilitated three turnovers, which turned out to be the difference in the game.

However, the outlook on Saturday wasn’t always sunny. When Flacco’s 4th and 5 pass to Dennis Pitta fell to the ground I was sure that we were done. It was an awesome season and we fought hard, right?

Ok, the defense has a chance to get one more stop. I was hoping that Joe would get one more chance to touch the ball no matter how improbable the circumstances would be once he got it. The Broncos called three straight runs and punted the Ravens the ball with under a minute left and no timeouts. Impossible…

But let’s see what he’s got. After a 7-yard run and incomplete pass the Ravens had around 30 seconds left and the slimmest of hopes.

On 3rd and 3, Flacco dropped back in the face of a three-man rush and was forced to step up. As Flacco loaded up to fling the ball downfield I could feel myself saying “NO! NO!” But then I saw Jacoby Jones. They said this man would let me down. He’ll look good for a while but sooner or later he’ll break your heart. I’d assumed that Jones drop on 3rd and 5 on the previous drive was the moment he had shown his true colors.

It wasn’t. Jacoby hauled in the Mile High Miracle and raced into the end zone to tie the game at 35. It was a huge moment. So huge in fact that the potential Dancing With The Stars candidate forgot to do a TD celebration.

I’m sure fans at home didn’t forget to celebrate. I was a madman. I’ll never forget that moment.

I felt a weird calmness and sense of peace as the Ravens played overtime. This team had fought their ass off. Every player had done something significant and all I felt was love for my team.

I have lived and died with this team for years. I have an unhealthy emotional connection to the outcomes of their games. I have felt the agony of defeat. I wasn’t afraid to feel it anymore. The joy that this team has brought me extends far beyond wins. I was watching history and I was grateful.

Justin Tucker lined up for the game winning field goal and I wasn’t nervous at all. My kicker is a winner and so is my team. The ball split the uprights and there it was… the thrill of victory.

Who knows how long this feeling will last? I just want to keep watching my favorite team.

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About Kyle Purkey

Kyle Purkey
Kyle Purkey is a Senior at James Madison University currently pursuing a Bachelors Degree in Kinesiology focusing on Exercise Science with a Minor in Coaching Education. He is an aspiring football coach and works as a videographer for the JMU Football Team. Growing up in Carroll County, Kyle's love of...more

6 Raves on “The thrill of victory

  1. Ebuhuel on said:

    My feelings exactly allthough i was nervous with kick a bit but knew Tucker was the man for the job and so happy we dropped cundiff like a unwanted venereal disease. I am still on cloud 9 with this wins, i am looking forward to the AFC chamionship game, the next game were everybody will say we won’t have a chance

  2. Greg on said:

    I was at Mile High, freezing to death, and all I could think was, like you, that I was grateful to be watching a historic game and deep pride in the players and coaches for enduring that unimaginable cold, still executing, answering every Bronco’s TD, not allowing defeat to set in. The Jones TD happened right in front of me (i was at the 20, ravens sideline). I was in disbelief and found myself leaping in the air over and over. It was truly miraculous. I was proud of our fight in that game before that but from then on, it was impossible not to be overcome with pride for the team, no matter how it mightve turned out. For us to force it into double OT and get an INT and put it away, just wow. History, man.

  3. Pepe on said:

    Well written Kyle. I too was nervous and admittedly conceded the game after the failed 4th down attempt by Pitta. However, we made a huge stop and got the ball back. After the Jones Game-Tying TD and Tucker’s GWFG, we were celebrating with euphoria. It was a thrill of victory indeed.

  4. ravenrick58 on said:

    I gotta say after Jacoby caught that touchdown pass, I experienced an unusual calm watching the overtime periods. Typically I’m on the edge of my seat screaming at every bad play call, every mistake and stupid penalty.

    But this time, even after the sixth straight Ray Rice run up the middle for two yards on first down, I had this confidence it was our time and enjoyed this epic game for what it was.

    At the end we (the players, coaches, and fans) all celebrated the amazing win like we achieved our ultimate goal. The ultimate goal is two wins away. I hope we don’t lose focus this week. Hopefully the 9.5 point opening line will help to keep our focus on the ultimate prize.

    New Orleans or bust.

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