December 21st, 2013
A Super Bowl repeat is a long show, but as the Ravens learned last year, nothing can stop a team of destiny.
Early in the season, it seemed that the Ravens were destined for a high draft slot and no playoff berth. Late last season, most people thought that the Ravens would be a one-and-done in the playoffs. Baltimore finished that year, helped by a few amazing and unbelievable plays, with a Super Bowl victory.
And now, in 2013, the Ravens have had another improbable run that could bring them to the postseason for the 6th time in John Harbaugh's 6 year career. The Lions-Ravens game was just another chapter in this Baltimore winning streak that could end up in history next to the Super Bowl run of 2012.
Like most of the Ravens' last couple games, there were playoff implications for both teams. The Detroit Lions, who had the NFC North division lead, needed a win to stay atop their division and in the crowded NFC playoff picture. Baltimore, on the other hand, was fighting for the 6th AFC playoff spot and could be virtually eliminated with a loss. The Lions, with unstoppable star wide receiver Calvin "Megatron" Johnson, were the favorites, with most people thinking that the league's best receiver would beat up the Ravens secondary and his defender, 3rd year corner Jimmy Smith.
The game started out very close and low-scoring, and at the end of the 1st half the Ravens were up 9-7. Neither team did well offensively, most obviously the Lions. In the 3rd quarter, the teams exchanged field goals and Baltimore kicker Justin Tucker nailed another early in the 4th quarter to put the Ravens up 15-10. The events that happened next are unparalleled by any other game in NFL history.
Matthew Stafford, the Lions' star quarterback, threw a touchdown pass to undrafted rookie Joseph Fauria to put Detroit on top 16-15 with just over 2 minutes left in the game. After stopping the Lions on the 2 point attempt, Baltimore's offense drove down the field with their playoff hopes on the line. Joe Flacco and the offense was only able to advance the football to around midfield, and Justin Tucker was sent on the field to try his 6th field goal of the night, a 62 yard field goal that would be the 4th longest field goal in NFL history. The kick was perfect, and the football barely got in the bottom right corner of the goalpost.
Justin Tucker was the star of the night, kicking a field goal from 20, 30, 40, 50, and 60 yards, a first in NFL history. He also set franchise records for the Ravens in his historic performance. Calvin Johnson, on the other hand, was the scapegoat. He was held to 98 yards and no touchdowns against Jimmy Smith, and uncharacteristically had two drops in key situations for Detroit.
Few teams have done what the 2012 Ravens accomplished- a winning streak with many unbelievable finishes. Though a lot less stronger, the 2013 Ravens are proving that last year's run was not a fluke, and it will be interesting to see what damage they can do in the playoff picture. The Lions game proved that Baltimore is a tough team to beat, but the battle against New England is an even bigger and more important test to see if the Ravens are contenders. A Super Bowl repeat is a long shot, but as the Ravens learned last year, nothing can stop a team of destiny.
NFLRUSH Kid Reporter