By Samuel Njoku
Baltimore continued their emotional roller coaster ride on Saturday with a shocking victory over the number 1 seed Denver Broncos. The Ravens embraced the underdog role and came away victorious against a team that many believed were guaranteed a trip to the AFC Championship. Instead it will be Baltimore heading to New England to battle the Patriots for the second straight year.
Baltimore got off to a slow start against the Broncos when Trindon Holliday returned a punt return for a touchdown early in the first quarter. The return would set the tone for big plays throughout the game. Each team would score five touchdowns in regulation which included a 70 yard bomb from Flacco to Jacoby Jones in the final seconds to force overtime in Denver. Afterwards, you had a feeling that Baltimore would come out on top.
“No weapon forged against me shall prosper,” Ray Lewis cried out in tears after witnessing one of the most spectacular games in playoff history.
Many predicted Denver to be the last city Ray Lewis would ever play in. But Baltimore had other plans. Now, Baltimore looks to return to New England to face off against the Patriots in the AFC Championship. Fans will remember that a dropped pass by Lee Evans in the corner of the endzone and a missed kick by Billy Cundiff highlighted a disappointing outcome. Because of how their season ended last year, many are looking forward to the rematch.
“I think we, personally, kind of wanted to play the Patriots again,” stated Ngata on Monday. “If we were to go to the Super Bowl, it would be great to go through Foxborough and win there. So, it’s another matchup that I think that we’re excited about, and hopefully, we can get it done this time.”
If the Ravens can get another strong performance out of their offense, they’ll be the AFC Champions for sure. Though they face a top notch team in the Patriots, they aren’t as strong on defense as the Broncos. That won’t matter much come gameday. The Patriots are still the favorites to win this game and rightfully so. But Baltimore knew what they were getting into when the playoffs started.
“Obviously, at this point in the year, most of the time you are going to be on the road,” stated Marshall Yanda. “We understood that after we weren’t going to be in the top two seeds. No matter what, we were going to have to go on the road in order to get to the Super Bowl. We understand that, and obviously, we have been there before. It will be a new challenge. It will be a tough battle, but we are looking forward to it. We’re excited. I’m fired up – we are all to be in this position and keep playing and be ready to go.”
Both players and fans have been anticipating this match up for a long time. A chance at a Super Bowl is at stake as well as an opportunity to confront some old demons. The Patriots and Ravens will square off once again on Sunday. And if Saturday was any indication, it would be smart to not count out the Ravens.
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Samuel Njoku was born and raised in Baltimore, MD and is a graduate of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. Samuel has covered the Ravens for Examiner.com since 2010. Prior to 2010, Samuel was an avid blogger and radio personality in Salisbury, MD. He can be reached for comments at SamuelN870@gmail.com. His work can be found on Examiner.com. You can also follow him on Twitter @Ravens_Examiner.