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NFL: Ravens stun Broncos in AFC divisional playoff thriller

By Eddie Pells

Associated Press

Published: Saturday, Jan. 12 2013 10:46 p.m. MST

Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning walks off the field against the Baltimore Ravens in the fourth quarter of an AFC divisional playoff NFL football game, Saturday, Jan. 12, 2013, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

Associated Press

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.

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.

"Our team is so confident and everything went against us," Lewis said, "but we found a way to come here together and we're leaving together. It's 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), 9½-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 Diego's 41-38 double-overtime victory over Miami for drama. But Flacco's throw might best be bookended 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 got it over Moore's 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 I'll make that play."

The teams punted three times to start overtime, setting up Denver on its 7-yard line. Manning was moving the Broncos along slowly and steadily. But on second-and-6 from the 38, he rolled to his right, stopped and threw across the field to Brandon Stokley. Graham stepped in front of the receiver for the interception, bookending the pick he made in the first quarter, which he returned 39 yards for a touchdown and a 14-7 lead.

"Not a good decision," Manning said. "Not a great throw, either."

Ravens 38

Broncos 35 (2OT)

Baltimore 14 7 7 7 3 — 38

Denver 14 7 7 7 0 — 35

First Quarter

Den—Holliday 90 punt return (Prater kick), 12:14.

Bal—T.Smith 59 pass from Flacco (Tucker kick), 10:31.

Bal—Graham 39 interception return (Tucker kick), 9:49.

Den—Stokley 15 pass from Manning (Prater kick), 4:02.

Second Quarter

Den—Moreno 14 pass from Manning (Prater kick), 7:26.

Bal—T.Smith 32 pass from Flacco (Tucker kick), :36.

Third Quarter

Den—Holliday 104 kickoff return (Prater kick), 14:47.

Bal—Rice 1 run (Tucker kick), :20.

Fourth Quarter

Den—D.Thomas 17 pass from Manning (Prater kick), 7:11.

Bal—J.Jones 70 pass from Flacco (Tucker kick), :31.

Overtime

Bal—FG Tucker 47, 13:18.

A—76,732.

Bal Den

First downs 21 30

Total Net Yards 479 398

Rushes-yards 39-155 41-125

Passing 324 273

Punt Returns 3-22 3-90

Kickoff Returns 4-64 4-171

Interceptions Ret. 2-39 0-0

Comp-Att-Int 18-34-0 28-43-2

Sacked-Yards Lost 1-7 3-17

Punts 8-48.3 5-48.8

Fumbles-Lost 1-1 2-1

Penalties-Yards 8-58 10-87

Time of Possession 36:36 40:06

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING—Baltimore, Rice 30-131, Pierce 5-14, Flacco 2-7, Leach 1-3, T.Smith 1-0. Denver, Hillman 22-83, Moreno 10-32, Hester 8-11, Manning 1-(minus 1).

PASSING—Baltimore, Flacco 18-34-0-331. Denver, Manning 28-43-2-290.

RECEIVING—Baltimore, Boldin 6-71, T.Smith 3-98, Pitta 3-55, Dickson 3-29, J.Jones 2-77, Leach 1-1. Denver, Decker 6-84, Dreessen 6-46, Tamme 3-44, D.Thomas 3-37, Stokley 3-27, Hillman 3-20, Moreno 2-21, Hester 1-7, Willis 1-4.

MISSED FIELD GOALS—Denver, Prater 52 (SH).

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