No matter where his season or his career might end, Joe Flacco will always have The Fling.
And Peyton Manning will always have to live with that throw he made, too.
Flacco’s desperation 70-yard touchdown pass to Jacoby Jones with 31 seconds left in regulation saved the game for Baltimore in regulation and Manning’s throw across his body in overtime all but lost it for Denver.
On a frostbitten day on the frozen tundra known as Denver, the Ravens got a 47-yard field goal from Justin Tucker 1:42 into the second overtime Saturday to pull off a 38-35 upset over Manning and the Broncos, extending linebacker Ray Lewis’ career by at least one game.
Lewis, who led the Ravens with 17 tackles over this nearly 77-minute game, kneeled down to the ground and put his helmet on the rock-solid turf when it was over.
After Lewis thaws out, the Ravens (12-6), 9 1/2-point underdogs for this one, will get ready for a game at either New England or Houston, who meet Sunday for the other spot in the AFC title game.
On third-and-3 from his 30 with 41 seconds and no timeouts left, Flacco bought time in the pocket and saw Jones sprinting down the right sideline into double coverage. Defensive back Tony Carter slowed up and let Jones streak by him. Instead of staying step for step with Jones, safety Rahim Moore tried to leap and knock down the ball. Flacco, who throws the high, deep ball as well as anyone, got it over Moore’s head and into Jones’ hands. Jones caught it and pranced into the end zone, blowing kisses to the crowd.
Baltimore and Lewis are now in the AFC title game for the second straight year.
Last year, Billy Cundiff missed a 32-yard field goal against New England that would have tied that game at the end of regulation.
This year, the Ravens had Justin Tucker, and though the temperature was cold and the ball was hard, coach John Harbaugh showed zero desire to get the ball closer after Ray Rice ran for 11 yards to the Denver 34 near the end of the first overtime.
The Ravens await the winner of the Houston/New England game this Sunday for the AFC Championship next week.