DENVER – 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.
Flaccos desperation 70-yard touchdown pass to Jacoby Jones with 31 seconds left in regulation saved the game for Baltimore in regulation and Mannings 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.
Our team is so confident and everything went against us, Lewis said, but we found a way to come here together and were leaving together. Its just awesome.
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.
This game, the longest since the Browns beat the New York Jets 23-20 in 1987, was an all-timer – up there with San Diegos 41-38 double-overtime victory over Miami for drama. But Flaccos throw might best be book-ended next to one made by Roger Staubach, who famously coined the term Hail Mary after his game-winning toss to Drew Pearson beat Minnesota in the 1975 playoffs.
How to describe the Flacco Fling?
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 Moores head and into Jones hands.
At that point, you have to start taking shots, Flacco said. You have to get a little lucky. Had to take a shot and everyone came through.
Jones caught it and pranced into the end zone, blowing kisses to the crowd.
Moore was on the verge of tears after the game.
The loss, it was my fault, Moore said. I got a little too happy. It was pathetic. My fault. Next time Ill make that play.