NFL Nation: 2013 Week 14 MIN at BAL Rapid Reaction
December, 8, 2013
By Jamison Hensley | ESPN.com
BALTIMORE -- A few thoughts on the Baltimore Ravens' 29-26 win over the Minnesota Vikings:
What it means: In a wild finish, the Ravens (7-6) braved a snowy field and a fourth-quarter collapse on defense to come back and beat the last-place Vikings. Joe Flacco's 9-yard touchdown pass to a leaping Marlon Brown with four seconds remaining capped a thrilling comeback. Flacco drove the Ravens 80 yards on five plays as they won for the fourth time in five games. This allowed the Ravens to hold on to the sixth and final playoff spot in the AFC. The Ravens are now 32-9 against teams with losing records, and they needed three late touchdowns to avoid an upset loss to a Vikings team that lost NFL leading rusher Adrian Peterson in the second quarter.
Crazy finish: In the most unbelievable finish in Ravens history, the teams combined for five touchdowns in the final 2 minutes, 1 second. The Ravens thought they had pulled out the victory when Jacoby Jones returned a kickoff 77 yards for a touchdown. But the Ravens couldn't stop Cordarrelle Patterson, who took a short pass and ran past the entire defense for a 79-yard touchdown. Then, not to be outdone, Flacco drove the Ravens down the field in the final minute for his 18th career comeback in the fourth quarter or overtime.
Clutch catch: Before Jones' touchdown, it looked like tight end Dennis Pitta would be the hero. In his first game back since dislocating his hip, Pitta scored on a 1-yard touchdown catch on fourth-and-goal to put the Ravens ahead in the fourth quarter. He was just activated off the injured reserve and looked rusty at the beginning with two drops.
Stock watch: Rising: Undrafted rookie Marlon Brown. After only one catch in each of his past two games, Brown came up big. He finished with six catches for 83 yards and the winning touchdown.
Flacco's costly mistake: Flacco's second interception was the most critical one. Getting pressured in his own territory, Flacco should've thrown the ball out of bounds. Instead, he threw a low pass to the sideline, where it was intercepted by safety Andrew Sendejo at the Ravens' 34-yard line. The Vikings converted that into a 8-yard touchdown pass to Jerome Simpson to put Minnesota ahead 12-7 early in the fourth quarter.
Capitalizing on questionable turnover: The Ravens scored first off what was a debatable turnover. It looked like Toby Gerhart's knee was down before he fumbled, but the call was upheld on a replay challenge. Flacco scrambled for 22 yards before hitting Ed Dickson for a 1-yard touchdown pass on third-and-goal. It marked the fourth time in five games that the Ravens scored first.
What's next: The Ravens begin a season-ending stretch when they play three straight division leaders. It begins next Monday night at the Detroit Lions.
December, 8, 2013
By Ben Goessling | ESPN.com
BALTIMORE -- A few thoughts on the Minnesota Vikings' 29-26 loss to the Baltimore Ravens:
What it means: The Vikings have had plenty of wild finishes this year, but on a wet, snowy day in Baltimore, nothing could compete with this one. Minnesota fell behind on a fourth-down score with 2:07 left, took the lead back 38 seconds later on Toby Gerhart's 41-yard romp, gave up a 77-yard kickoff return touchdown on the ensuing play, regained the lead two offensive plays later on Cordarrelle Patterson's 79-yard touchdown and still managed to lose in the final 45 seconds, after Joe Flacco moved the Ravens 80 yards in five plays. Five touchdowns were scored within the game's final 2:05.
Stock watch: Rising: Patterson. He already had 62 receiving yards and 67 kick-return yards before the final minute of the game, when Patterson took a screen pass from Matt Cassel and saved his most electrifying moment for last. He followed a key block from John Sullivan, cut across the field and raced 79 yards for a touchdown. We've wondered at different points this season why the Vikings weren't trying to get Patterson the ball on more screen passes, and on a slippery track that made it hard for defenders to adjust to him, Patterson showed -- once again -- how good he can be with the ball in his hands.
Peterson leaves with ankle injury: Running back Adrian Peterson left shortly before halftime with a right ankle injury, and reportedly left the stadium in the third quarter to get more tests after an X-ray. But Peterson was back on the sideline in the fourth quarter, standing up without crutches or a boot on his ankle, and told ESPN's Josina Anderson in a text, "I'm good." We'll get more information about Peterson's health after the game, but for now, it appears the Vikings might have avoided a major scare.
Secondary allows late TDs after strong showing: The Vikings' secondary had one of its stronger games of the season in the first three and a half quarters, collecting two of Minnesota's three interceptions on Flacco and stalling the Ravens' passing game in the snow. But once again, a late-game touchdown burned the Vikings; Flacco found Dennis Pitta on fourth-and-1, and he hit Torrey Smith for a two-point conversion when Marcus Sherels and Robert Blanton got caught on a crossing route. Blanton committed a key penalty for the third week in a row, getting called for a 36-yard pass interference penalty that moved the Ravens to Minnesota's 17. And on the Ravens' final drive, an 18-yard interference penalty from Chad Greenway loomed large.
What's next: The Vikings (3-9-1) host the Philadelphia Eagles next Sunday.
Final Atlanta 24 Jacksonville 14 Final Detroit 23 Buffalo 0 Final Indianapolis 7 Cincinnati 35 Final New York 7 Philadelphia 37 Final St. Louis 13 Miami 14 Final Kansas City 14 Green Bay 34 Final Carolina 10 Pittsburgh 0 Final New England 13 New York 16 Final Washington 24 Tampa Bay 10 Final Baltimore 22 New Orleans 13 Final Chicago 13 Cleveland 33 Final San Francisco 40 Houston 13 Final Minnesota 19 Tennessee 3 Final Denver 27 Dallas 3 Final Arizona 9 San Diego 12 Final Seattle 31 Oakland 41