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Monday, January 14, 2013
Ravens already exorcised some demons

By Jamison Hensley

One of the major storylines for Sunday's AFC Championship Game is how the Ravens get a chance to make up for the final-minute mishaps last season in New England that cost them a trip to the Super Bowl. When the Ravens meet the Patriots again Sunday, it will be 364 days since wide receiver Lee Evans failed to hold onto the ball in the end zone and kicker Billy Cundiff hooked that 32-yarder wide left.

But the Ravens have already moved past one of the most historic flops in playoff history. How? They wouldn't have moved onto the AFC Championship Game if they failed to do so.

In Saturday's double-overtime win in Denver, the Ravens got clutch performances from the players who replaced Evans and Cundiff -- wide receiver Jacoby Jones and kicker Justin Tucker. Jones scored a game-tying, 70-yard touchdown with 31 seconds left in regulation and Tucker hit a 47-yard field goal to win the game in the second overtime.

Both moments will be remembered as two of the most dramatic in playoff history. Jones became only the sixth player to score a game-tying touchdown in a playoff game with less than a minute left in regulation that eventually led to an overtime win. And Tucker's 47-yard field goal is tied for the third-longest overtime field goal in playoff history.

Tucker said he tried not to think about the fact that his kick would send the Ravens to the AFC Championship Game.

"Sure it's in the back of my mind just a little bit," he said. "I do everything I can not to let it creep in the forefront. More than anything, you stick to your routine and try to hit a straight ball and take every kick for what it's worth."