It looks like Ray Lewis lives to play another day as the Baltimore Ravens pull off one of the surprising upsets of the weekend in beating the Denver Broncos 38-35 in double overtime. I’m going to say it right now. It shouldn’t have happened. As well as the Ravens played, as strong as the passing of Joe Flaco turned out to be, the Baltimore Ravens were beaten. In a tight game the Broncos were up 35-28 and had only to prevent the big play. When an opponent is forced to go for the Hail Mary option from in their own territory there is only one rule to remember and it’s a simple one: Don’t let a receiver get behind you.
Somehow Rahim Moore forgot that rule and Joe Flaco and Jacoby Jones connected on a 7-yard touchdown pass to tie the game. Of course Denver and manning still had a chance to win and this mistake I lay squarely on the shoulders of Manning, who should know better. Chased out of the pocket by the Ravens defense, the Super Bowl winning quarterback made a rookie move, throwing back across his body and directly into the arms of Corey Graham.
You can debate this all you want. Manning should have thrown the ball away. But in my mind he should never have been in that position. The Broncos should have advanced to the AFC Championship with a 35-28 win. It just serves as a reminder that mistakes in the playoffs will kill you and you’ll be forced to deal with them for the entire coming year. Both Manning and Moore will have a ton of thinking to do in 2013.
But since the Ravens won, their performance can’t be denied, if only to point out they’re unwillingness to quit. Just shy of 500 yards of offense against a great Denver defense. The clutch throw and pass between Flaco and Jones, keeping Manning out of the end zone in OT and eventually forcing him into the fatal mistake. From here it will be either the Patriots or the Texans standing between Baltimore and the Super Bowl.Eric Drouant