The first 57-plus minutes of Minnesota Vikings at Baltimore Ravens produced a predictable scoring output — 20 combined points — given the anemic state of the two teams' offenses, especially after the Adrian Peterson injury.
But the final 2:07 — an eternity in Week 14 terms — produced some of the most ridiculous and unexpected results: a torrent of five touchdowns, and 36 points, in an improbable 29-26 Ravens win that kept them humming in a weird and wild AFC wildcard race.
Six touchdowns in the fourth. Six lead changes in the quarter. Snow on the field. One of the battiest finishes you will ever see. And Michael Phelps, a Baltimore native and huge fan of the defending Super Bowl champs, was running the Ravens' official Twitter account.
We'll let his words help paint the insane final 127 seconds.
The scoring opened with a feel-good touchdown to Ravens tight end Dennis Pitta, in his first game back from an August hip injury that could have ended his season. Pitta finished the game with six big catches for 48 yards, and his 1-yard score (and two-point conversion to Torrey Smith) appeared to deliver the Ravens a winner. Heh, how naive we were.
But the Vikings responded quickly. After a good return and a 27-yard catch by Jerome Simpson, Toby Gerhart — filling in for Peterson — ripped off 41 yards for the touchdown with 1:45 left and the Ravens looked shocked. Phelps, too.
Phelps and the Ravens' fans wouldn't have to wait long to make a response of their own. Jacoby Jones took a short kickoff and ran it back down the left sideline — just like Tomlingate! — but this time Jones scored. Phelps couldn't resist making the comparison.
Thank you Mike Tomlin for being in Pittsburgh #MPtakeover #purplesnowday — Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) December 8, 2013
So yeah. That made it 19-15 Ravens with more than a minute left. Or, in recap terms, most of the excitement.
After a couple of incomplete passes, Matt Cassel did a smart thing: get it in the hands of Cordarrelle Patterson. The thrill-a-minute rookie did the rest, taking it 79 yards for the stunning score. Phelps had little new to offer, so he basically reprised his earlier tweet.
The Ravens got the ball, down 26-22 now, needing a score, at their own 20-yard line with 45 seconds left. Again, an eternity. Joe Flacco hit Marlon Brown for 35 yards. Then, following an incomplete pass, Flacco actually was picked off — but pass interference on Chad Greenway turned it into an 18-yard gain for the Ravens. New life. Then Pitta for 18 more, and on first down and goal from the 9-yard line, Flacco found Brown for the game-winner. Phelps lost it again.
And yes, the Vikings were not able to score in the final nine seconds, which was mildly surprising given everything that happened the previous two minutes and change.
Before heading home, Phelps tweeted the catchphrase of Ravens announcer Gerry Sandusky, signaling that a Baltimore victory had been secured.
Be safe all who are driving home from M&T! I had and ABSOLUTE BLAST! Thank you so much to the @ravens for allowing me to take over!— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) December 8, 2013
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- Michael Phelps
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