Tonight, the Baltimore Ravens will step back inside the Denver Broncos’ Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium — the site where an improbable play helped propel the Ravens to a Super Bowl title.
With under a minute remaining in last year’s divisional round playoff game against the Broncos, the Ravens were down seven and facing elimination.
Quarterback Joe Flacco stepped up in the pocket and launched a pass deep down the right sideline, with receiver Jacoby Jones trailing underneath it.
Broncos safety Rahim Moore was responsible for the coverage over the top. Overcommitting on the play, Moore stumbled. The ball landed in Jones’ hands, with the receiver taking the 70-yard play into the end zone to tie the score at 35-35, sending the game into overtime.
“I think Joe caught them in a certain coverage, put it up, and completion,” Jones said Sunday, recalling the play four days before the Ravens face the Broncos in the first game of the 2013 NFL season. “It happened and it was a big one. It got us to the next level. I think [Moore] was trying to make a play, and we caught him slipping. They weren’t up for us. Bingo.”
The momentum from the touchdown carried over into two overtime periods, which saw the Ravens come away with a 38-35 win. Baltimore went on to win the AFC Championship and Super Bowl, capping an improbable postseason run after losing four of its last five regular-season games.
Outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil was a part of the Broncos’ defense that gave up the 70-yard touchdown to Jones. Now that he’s with the Ravens, he’s been watching film from that game all week, criticizing himself for not applying pressure on Flacco.
“I feel like I could’ve rushed better, and it hurts every time I watch it, even being here,” Dumervil said. “As a player, you want to make a difference. Me being a Raven now, I want to make sure I make a difference.”
Tonight’s game will be the third time since Dec. 16, 2012, that the two teams will meet.
Despite the play’s importance, Flacco claims it’s been an afterthought. Perhaps winning a Super Bowl and signing a $120.6 million contract this offseason were on the forefront of his mind.
“I haven’t really thought about it too many times — even this week getting ready to play them,” Flacco said. “If anything, I hope we don’t put ourselves in that situation again so that we have to win like that.”