Dreams die hard. And the end of the Baltimore/Minnesota game was proof of that.
This game saw five touchdowns in the last 2:07 of the game. Joe Flacco capped off a touchdown drive at that 2:07 mark with a touchdown pass to Dennis Pitta to take a 15-12 lead.
But with their playoff hopes hanging in the balance, the Ravens defense surrendered a two-play 68 yard touchdown drive, highlighted by Toby Gerhart’s 41 yard touchdown run. The Ravens had the answer. Jacoby Jones returned the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown. Ravens 22 Vikings 19 for those keeping score at home.
But it wasn’t done yet.
Matt Cassell threw a 79 yard touchdown pass to Cordarrelle Patterson to give Minnesota the lead once more with just :31 left. Were the Ravens’ playoff hopes over? Hell no. With :09 left rookie Marlon Brown hauled in a 9 yard touchdown pass from Flacco and miraculously kept his feet in bounds. What a finish!
This Week’s Sucked And Won: Mike Glennon, QB (TB). The rookie has looked good for Tampa for the most part, but not this week. He went 9 for 25 for 90 yards, an abysmal 3.6 yards per attempt, and posted a Geno Smith-like passer rating of 40.4. He did throw two touchdowns, but he also threw two picks. Tampa’s defense is the reason they won this week, not Glennon.
Speaking of thrilling finishes, trailing 34-28, the Pittsburgh Steelers were down to their final play, they ran the classic hook and ladder, and after numerous laterals, Antonio Brown broke free and appeared to score the go ahead touchdown as time expired. He was ruled out of bounds on the 15, however, and Miami held on for the win. Not for nothing, but that game ALSO featured 28 fourth quarter points.
Shocking realization of the week: The Lions had 7 fumbles this Sunday, five of them by QB Matt Stafford. Now I realize the game was played in bad weather, but Stafford’s counterpart Nick Foles had just one fumble, the Eagles’ only fumble of the day.
Can you heart stand one more thrilling ending? With 2:39 left to go the Cleveland Browns scored what appeared to be the put away touchdown against New England and went up 26-14. But then Brady went to work, and a minute and a half later, the Patriots were trailing 26-21 with 1:01 remaining. They recovered the ensuing onside kick, giving them one more chance to avoid the upset at the hands of the Browns. Well, you’ve all seen this one before. With :35 left, a terrible pass interference call in the end zone gave New England a first and goal at the 1. On the very next play, Brady connected with Danny Amendola for their second touchdown in the final two minutes. But the Pats missed on the two point conversion, and with :30 left, Jason Campbell drove the Browns into Patriots’ territory to set up a 58 yard Billy Cundiff field goal attempt. Would the Pats lose after all? No. No they wouldn’t. It’s 58 yards and it’s Billy Cundiff and predictably it was short. It was fun to watch though.
This Week’s Great But Lost: Jeremy Ross, KR/PR (DET). Ross had both a kick and punt return for touchdowns (243 return yards total) and made a brilliant open field tackle on DeSean Jackson for Detroit’s punt coverage team. That’s making the most of your special teams duty.
Congratulations to Matt Prater for setting a new NFL record with a 64 yard field goal as time expired in the first half of the Broncos/Titans game. Prater broke the record shared by Tom Dempsey, Sebastian Janikowski and former Bronco Jason Elam.
Thursday Pick: San Diego (+10) @Denver (Wynn Las Vegas)
This is a very tough game to handicap as this spread is right where it should be. The Chargers are at a lose and go home point in their season, but the Broncos need this game as well to stay ahead of New England for home field. Denver was 8 points better than the Chargers in San Diego. Both teams are coming off the short week, and the game may well be played in less than ideal weather conditions. I’m leaning towards Denver giving the 10. If I was confident this game would be played in reasonably good weather, I’d like the over, but in the event it’s not, the 55 points is too high to risk.
Denver Broncos 34 San Diego Chargers 23
“Kraken. Hogwarts.” – Panthers DE Greg Hardy, during the “name, school” introductions on Sunday Night Football. This guy just became my favorite player in the NFL.
“It means nothing to me if we can’t win as a team while doing it.” – Browns WR Josh Gordon, on setting the NFL record for receiving yards over a four game span. Gordon was reportedly too upset to answer questions from the media and instead released this statement through a spokesperson.
“Whoever wrote that narrative can shove it where the sun don’t shine.” – Broncos QB Peyton Manning, on the perception that he can’t play well in cold weather.
“We got lucky. Sometimes it’s good to be lucky.” – Dolphins CB Brent Grimes, on the final play of the Steelers/Dolphins game where Antonio Brown nearly scored but stepped out of bounds on the 12 yard line.”
“Oh my gosh, I don’t know if there has ever been a crazier minute and forty-some seconds ever.” – Ravens QB Joe Flacco, on the Vikings and Ravens remarkable finish.
“I can’t use the words he used. My mom would get at me if I did that.” – Cardinals LB Karlos Dansby, on coach Bruce Arians rousing pre-game talk to the team.
“We peed down our legs…Today is as bad as we’ve played the whole season. It’s really embarrassing to be a part of it. We looked like the Bad News Bears out there today.” – Raiders S Charles Woodson, on the play of Oakland’s defense.
“I don’t know that it can be fixed now.” – An unnamed “Redskins Official,” on the deteriorating relationship between team owner Dan Snyder and coach Mike Shanahan.
“We were getting booed at home. They never blinked. I’d classify it as a character win.” – Packers coach Mike McCarthy, on Green Bay’s comeback win against Atlanta.
“We told them after the game. We will see you up there.” – 49ers G Alex Boone, on an anticipated rematch with the Seahawks in the playoffs.