This is the play voters and ESPN Ravens reporter Jamison Hensley picked as the most memorable in the team's history, beating out Ray Lewis' key interception return for a touchdown against the top-seeded Tennessee Titans in the 2000 playoffs and Jermaine Lewis' timely kickoff return for a touchdown in the Super Bowl.
Score: Ravens 38, Broncos 35
Date: Jan. 12, 2013 Site: Sports Authority Field at Mile High
It's not a surprise the voters and myself both agree the "Mile High Miracle" ranks as the most memorable play in Baltimore Ravens history. The better debate is whether this is the most memorable play in NFL playoff history.
The desperation, high-arcing 70-yard touchdown pass from Joe Flacco to Jacoby Jones had everything you want in a historic play. There was late-game drama: The Ravens trailed the Denver Broncos by a touchdown (35-28) with 41 seconds remaining and no timeouts.
There were high stakes: The winner advanced to the AFC Championship Game.
And there was the thrill of the upset: The Ravens were 9.5-point underdogs to the top-seeded Broncos, who were led by Peyton Manning.
This marked a turning point in the career of Flacco, who outdueled Manning by throwing for 331 yards and three touchdowns. His best throw, however, wasn't his easiest one. Even though the Broncos were rushing three players, Flacco had to step up into the pocket because of pressure before spotting a wide-open receiver down the right sideline. Jones wasn't jammed at the line of scrimmage and had slipped behind cornerback Tony Carter and safety Rahim Moore. After catching the ball at the 20-yard line, Jones had a clear path to the end zone.
This improbable play was even sweeter for the Ravens and their fans considering what they went through the previous year. The Ravens watched a trip to the Super Bowl get ripped away from them in January 2012, when Lee Evans dropped a touchdown pass and Billy Cundiff missed a short field goal in the AFC Championship Game in New England. The roles were reversed a year later when Flacco heaved that touchdown pass to Jones. According to ESPN Stats & Information’s win probability model, Denver had a 97.2 percent chance of winning the game prior to the touchdown.
What many forget is that the "Mile High Miracle" only tied the game. The Ravens needed to intercept Manning and kick a 47-yard field goal to win the game in double overtime. Still, what made this game so epic was the most memorable play in Ravens history.