The Ravens have scored first in four out of their last five games, and are now 39-8 at home and 11-1 against the NFC teams under John Harbaugh in Baltimore. Their 29-26 win in the snow against the struggling Vikings, improves their record to 7-6 and gives them a confident booster before they hit the road two times in the final three weeks of the regular season.
The game was filled with crazy weather and a crazy finish with 5 touchdowns over the last 2:05 of the contest. Also, a combined 42 points (22 by Baltimore and 20 by Minnesota) were scored in the fourth quarter, after only a total of 13 were scored in the game’s first three.
The coaches and players have seen everything these past few weeks with a delay because of lightning, a coach stepping on to the field of play during a punt return and Sunday, 5 scores in the final 125 seconds. The final TD in that span was a 9-yard pass from QB Joe Flacco to rookie Marlon Brown who caught the clinching touchdown with just 4 seconds to go in regulation. Brown now has 6 TD catches this season, tying RB Jamal Lewis (6 in 2000) for the second-most TDs by a Ravens’ rookie in team history. WR Torrey Smith (7 in 2011) holds the record.
“I don’t think about that rookie stuff, I just think about making plays as a football player because on the football field I am a football player not a rookie,” Brown said.
As far as the conditions go, they did not faze Flacco despite the three interceptions he was able to throw three TD’s on the day for 245 total yards. That first score would arrive late in the first with the catch being made by Ed Dickson; His first touchdown reception since December 24th, 2011.
Flacco said after the game that they were not concerned about the weather and In the Ravens’ 18-year history; Baltimore has hosted 17 games when the temperature was below 40 degrees. (Game time temperature was 33.) Impressively, the Ravens are 15-2 in these contests, winning 15 of the past 16. TE Dennis Pitta was also not worried about the conditions; he made his return after suffering a dislocated hip injury during training camp this past summer. Pitta caught what would have been the game winning TD for the Ravens with 2:06 to play in the game until the Vikings Toby Gerhart answered with a score of his own.
“I knew this was going to be a game I wanted to play in, and as bad as the conditions were in the first half, I am happy to be a part of it,” Pitta said, after the game on a one-on-one with Jerry Coleman
Adrian Peterson who the Ravens were prepared for left in the second quarter due to an ankle injury but even with the 10,000-yard rusher out of the game, the Vikings fought until the final whistle and so did the Ravens. Especially, in the final 2 minutes where there is so much adrenaline going through the players, the Ravens could have given up but they are too familiar with crazy finishes and know how to respond. As Linebacker Terrell Suggs put it: “It goes to shows a lot about the character of this team, never say die and always keep fighting”.
Ray Rice contributed to 67 rushing yards on the day and was the team’s leading rusher. Even though those aren’t ecstatic numbers, it is certainly better than weeks past. Now with three games left the Ravens will need Flacco, Rice, and the receiving corps to work together and contribute if they hope to make the playoffs for a 6th straight year under Harbaugh. Currently, no other team has made the postseason more than three seasons in a row.
“We fought for each other, and like I said this is a resilient bunch and they showed it out there. When you looked at the Minnesota Vikings on film they were not a bad football team, they caught a few breaks in the year but Adrian Peterson I wish him a speedy recovery I don’t know what the extent of the injury is but he is somebody I look up to and that is a tough fighting bunch,” Rice proclaimed.