If the Baltimore Ravens can keep Ray Lewis' last ride going to New Orleans and Super Bowl XLVII then this stunning last-minute, 70-yard connection between Joe Flacco and Jacoby Jones is going to need a nickname.
If Joe Montana and Dwight Clark have dibs on "The Catch" and Steve Young and Terrell Owens are going to stick with "The Catch II" then how about we call this "The Heave"? Or maybe "The Flight," to riff on the Ravens' avian nickname? Or we could just call it "The Play Where A Broncos Safety Took A Terrible Route To The Ball And Then Fell Down After John Fox Took The Ball Out Peyton's Hands And Opted To Punt," because that is also more or less what happened.
With the Ravens trailing 35-28 with just 42 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, Flacco called for the snap on 3rd and 3 at his own 30-yard line. The 27-year-old quarterback dropped back and then stepped up in the pocket as he surveyed the field. The free-agent-to-be then arced a deep a pass toward Jones. The speedy return specialist blazed by cornerback Tony Carter, who either didn't think the Ravens would go deep or expected to have help over the top from a safety. Well, the Ravens did. And Carter didn't. Safety Rahim Moore belatedly took a circuitous route to Jones and the in-flight ball but whiffed on both. Jones ran under Flacco's pass, catching it near the 20-yard line. He ran untouched for the game-tying score.
Not only were the Ravens lucky that this play worked out so beautifully but they were lucky to even have the ball. Facing a 3rd and 7 at their own 47-yard line just four plays earlier, the Broncos opted not to have Manning attempt to pick up the first down with a passing attempt. After running for no gain on third down, the Broncos punted it back to Flacco and the Ravens.
John Fox' conservative endgame strategy would set the stage for this dramatic, bold throw by Flacco. A second interception by Ravens cornerback Corey Graham in overtime (after the Broncos opted to leave to timeouts on the shelf and head to OT with a kneel) would set up the winning field goal and give this 70-yard touchdown connection a chance to join the pantheon of iconic postseason plays.