AFC Divisional Round: Ravens vs Colts

Discussion in 'Game Summaries & Team News' started by Josh Barnes, Oct 30, 2013.

  1. Josh Barnes

    Josh Barnes Walk On

    Aug 12, 2013
    Ravens Stun Colts in Miraculous Comeback to Advance to AFC Conference Finals

    Indianapolis, IN -- In what many pegged as a must see game, did not fail to disappoint, although it certainly looked as though it would early.

    The Baltimore Ravens (10-6) traveled to Indy to take on the Colts (14-2) in the AFC Divisional round of the playoffs. The Ravens who were coming off a big wildcard win against the Jets looked to ride their playoff momentum and upset the higher seeded Colts.

    Baltimore would receive the opening kickoff, but the Ravens offense would not be on the field long. On a 2nd and 8 from the Baltimore 23 yard line, Joe Flacco hit FB Vonta Leacha over the middle for a 5 yard gain; however, Leach coughed up the ball, which was recovered by Indy setting them up with great field position.

    Colts QB Andrew Luck and QSF MVP running back Bernard Pierce would quickly and easily lead the Indy offense down to the goal line. On 1st and goal from the 4 the Colts handed the ball off to Pierce, as they had done for 23 rushing touchdowns during the regular season; however, Ravens safety Matt Elam had other plans. Elam stuck Pierce at the goal line jarring the ball loose, which was covered by Baltimore end Arthur Jones at the 1 yard line.

    “As a defense, we definitely wanted to come out and lay the wood. We knew coming into this game, they were going to run the ball,” said the rookie safety Elam.

    “They had great success all year long in the run game, which is obviously why Pierce was the MVP of the league. We felt like if we could contain him, we had a good chance at winning this ball game.”

    Although the Ravens did not control the running game as much as they had hoped (Pierce 15-140-1) 80 yards came on a long run in the second half.

    Looking to answer the turnover, the Ravens offense took the field, but was forced to punt after a dropped pass on 3rd down. On the punt, Indy WR and return man T.Y. Hilton made a few nice moves to spring a solid 30 yard return.

    With the Colts offense in good field position once again, they looked to finish what they had started on their opening drive. Showing they still had faith in their Pro Bowl back, Indy handed the ball off to Pierce who broke a couple of tackles in route to a 25 yard TD to take an early 7-0 lead over the Ravens.

    Down 7-0 and showing no signs of life, the Ravens offense looked to answer the Colts TD. On a 3rd and 6 Flacco had an open Ray Rice, but was intercepted by a great play from Colts CB Toler to end the first quarter.

    With the ball in excellent field position for their third consecutive drive, Andrew Luck would lead the Colts down the field where he punched it in on a QB sneak to extend their lead to 14-0.

    “You never want to go down early in a game, especially to a team that is as good as the Colts,” mentioned Flacco after the game. “In this league, with this competition, it is incredibly difficult to comeback from an early deficit like that. “

    Things would not look to get better for the Ravens anytime soon. After a dropped pass on 3rd down by WR Torrey Smith, the Ravens were once again forced to punt.

    Up 14-0 and with all the momentum, the Colts were in shape to take complete control of the game. That is until, and Elvis Dumerville sack on second down helped lead to a Jimmy Smith interception on third and long.

    Finally showing signs of life, the Ravens drove the field and scored a TD when Flacco hit TE Dennis Pitta on a crucial 3rd and goal from the 2, cutting the Colts lead to 7.

    Down 7, Ravens safety Matt Elam forced his second fumble of the game on Indy’s following possession, when he hit Colts RB Bradshaw. The Colts would emerge from the viscous scrum with the fumble, which proved to be costly for the Ravens.

    Two plays later Luck threw a screen pass to Pierce, which was nearly picked by Ravens MLB Daryl Smith. Smith gambled on the big play and came up short leading to a convoy of Indy lineman to escort Pierce into the end zone for a 35 yard TD.

    Up 21-7 and receiving the ball at half, the Colts were in complete control of the game at this point.

    “We were glad to come out of the first half with the lead that we had,” said Luck. “Things definitely went our way. We made some nice plays, but also had a couple of key plays go our way as well. Our focus was on coming out in the third, driving the ball down the field, and extending our lead.”

    HB Bernard Pierce got the second half started with a bang when he took the first play from scrimmage 80 yards down the to Colts one yard line setting up an easy touchdown for Bradshaw on the following play.

    Facing a 28-7 deficit in the third, it seemed as though the Ravens season would be coming to an abrupt end.

    That is until Joe Flacco pulled the team together prior to the ensuing kickoff.

    “I felt like I had to say something there. You could just feel the energy on the sideline dissipate after that long run/td. I simply pulled the guys together and reminded them of all the work we had put in and that we weren’t a team that gives up. Not now, not ever,” exclaimed Flacco after the game.

    From that point it seemed as if though the Ravens knew they were going to come back and win the game. Even as much as the Ravens believed in themselves, things seemed very bleak when the Ravens offense faced a 4th and 10 at the Colts 30 yard line.

    “That was the play of the game no doubt. Down 28-7, knowing that if we did not score a TD the game was essentially over, we had to take a chance there; a FG wasn’t going to do us any good,” explained Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh.

    Flacco knew it was do or die time, and after the pep talk he had just given to his team, he knew it was time for him to step up.

    Boy did he ever.

    Flacco hit TE Pitta down the seams for the 4th down conversion and threw a perfect pass on the next play to WR Torrey Smith for six.

    Following the TD Indy took over on offense up 28-14 with over four minutes left in the third. Knowing a score would help take what little energy the Ravens had gained away, the Colts continued their game plan to run the ball.

    After a minimal gain on first down, Luck once again handing the ball off to Pierce on second down out of the shotgun formation. Pierce was immediately hit by blitzing Ravens backup safety Quinton Mikel jarring the ball loose. Unfortunately for the Ravens the ball landed directly in the hands of the Colts offensive line.

    “That was very frustrating for us as a defense,” said Suggs. “To cause your third fumble in such a pivotal moment of the game like that, and not be able to recover it. Man, it’s heartbreaking.”

    The heart break was evident on the ensuing play when Baltimore dropped an easy interception that would have set up great field position for the offense. All was not lost for the Ravens. Although an interception would have been ideal, the Colts were still forced to punt.

    The Ravens offense was unable to respond to the stop, being forced to punt after a dropped pass on third down.

    The Ravens defense would arise to the occasion once again, forcing Indy to punt. Baltimore return man Deonte Thompson, who took over return duties late in the season, provided a spark when he returned the punt 37 yards, into Indy territory to end the quarter.

    Thompson would finish what he started a few plays into the fourth, when he took a pass on second and 10 twenty yards for a TD making the score 28-21 Colts.
    After not being able to move the ball much of the second half, the Colts began to gain some momentum as they looked to end any comeback ideas the Ravens had.

    They converted a couple of first downs, but eventually were forced to punt once again. Indy punter Pat McAffe was able to pin the Ravens inside their own ten yard line after a beautiful coffin corner punt.

    Down seven with close to four minutes left in the game, Flacco and the Ravens offense would begin a drive of epic proportions. With plenty of time left, the

    Ravens continued to display a good mix of run and pass. They also converted several big third down conversions. Prior to their final drive in the fourth, the Ravens had been 0 of 6 on third down. On the game tying drive that was capped off by a 5 yard TD run by Jacoby Jones, the Ravens went 4 for 4 on third down.

    Tied with just under a minute left in the game, the Colts would start their drive at the twenty. With the Colts having two timeouts remaining, the Ravens knew they would be looking to get into FG range.

    Luck had done a great job several times earlier in the game of scrambling for yards when WR’s failed to get open. Knowing this, the Ravens wanted to be ready for Luck to try and scramble, and put a spy on him. Luck indeed tried to scramble, while heading up field, Luck noticed an open WR in the middle of the field and threw him the ball not realizing he had already passed the line of scrimmage.

    The Ravens defense, aware of the flag, knew they had a free chance to try and make a big play. Knowing this, Elam unleashed a monster of a hit causing the WR to fumble. Once again, for the third time of the game, the fumble landed in the arms of a Colts player.

    After accepting the penalty, the Ravens forced the Colts to punt and were comfortable taking the game into overtime.

    The Ravens won the coin toss and accepted to receive the ball and looked to cap off their comeback with an historic drive. After two successful running plays, the

    Ravens faced a 3rd and 3 from their own 28. Knowing this was a crucial third down, Flacco proceed to call a time out at the line.

    “I knew once we lined up, the play we had called was not going to be there. It was too big of a situation to not take a timeout there and regroup,” explained Flacco after the game.

    After speaking things over, Flacco and the coaches knew exactly what play they wanted. Heading to the line of scrimmage the team felt comfortable in its play selection and looked to convert its fifth consecutive third down.Indy, also knowing this was as big of a play as any, called a timeout of their own after the Ravens came back to the line.

    “There were some talks about whether or not we should have changed the call up after that timeout. They had a chance to see what we were lined up in and prepare accordingly,” said Harbaugh. “Some folks would have changed up the play call there, but we felt extremely confident in our call and went with it.”

    The decision to stick with their play proved to be the correct one for the Ravens as Flacco connected with Smith for a first down.

    “It was almost as though you could sense that feeling of ‘Oh no, this can’t be happening’ within the stadium throughout the second half, but especially in the fourth quarter and overtime,” mentioned Flacco. “After everything we put into the comeback, we were not going to be denied the win. That was the mentality we had.”

    And be denied the Ravens would not. The Ravens proceeded to march down the field and on 3rd and goal from the 2, Flacco connected with Pitta for the game winning TD.

    “Coming into this game, not very many people gave us a snow ball’s chance,” exclaimed Ravens LB Terrell Suggs. “They had basically penciled the Colts into the Super Bowl, and deservingly so. They had an unbelievable year and have historically been a tough team to face.” Suggs went on to say, “Oh yes. You bet we did. We used that as motivation all week long in preparing for this game. Don’t get me wrong, we didn’t play that great today. Realistically we probably shouldn’t have come back and won that game, especially considering how many opportunities we missed recovering those fumbles. But here’s the thing, we never gave up.”

    The Ravens will travel to Boston to take on the Patriots, who finished the season at 15-1, in a rematch game for the AFC Conference Championship next week. These two teams meet earlier in the year with the Pats coming from behind to win, and have a history of playing each other in the playoffs.

    Key Stats:

    Ravens started the game 0-6 on 3rd down, but converted 6 straight 3rd downs to end the game (6/12 on 3rd)

    Flacco was 28 of 42 for 335 yards, 4 TDs and 1 INT

    Rice ran for 82 yards on 21 carries

    Luck was 9 of 16 for 160 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT

    Pierce ran for 140 yards and 1 TD on 15 carries (fumbled 2 times as well, but only 1 was lost)

    GG thafuture3886 was definitely one heck of a game! Best of luck in the offseason and look forward to more potential games in the future
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2013
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  2. thafuture3886

    thafuture3886 Power Rankings Analyst

    Jul 23, 2010
    Hell of a writeup! Great game and gl going forward

    CHUNKNESS Commissioner Quality Simulation Football

    Jun 13, 2010
    Nice win Josh. Thx for such a great, detailed recap. (y)(y)
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  4. cry_havoc

    cry_havoc Walk On

    Jul 27, 2012
    Thats an unreal game. Congrats Josh. And liek Curtis and Dougie said...terrific write up.
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