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 the Baltimore Ravens in regulation and Manning’s throw across his body in overtime all but lost it for the Denver Broncos.
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, 9½-point underdogs for this one, will get ready for a game at either New England or Houston, who meet today for the other spot in the AFC title game.
The temperature at kickoff was 13 degrees, and Manning fell to 0-4 lifetime when the temperature is 40 or less. He finished 28-for-43 for 290 yards and accounted for all three Denver turnovers — the two picks and a lost fumble that set up the touchdown that tied the game at 28 late in the third quarter.
The last throw was the worst one, though.
“Not a good decision,” Manning said. “Not a great throw, either.”
Those mistakes nullified a record-setting day for returner Trindon Holliday, who returned a punt 90 yards for a touchdown and a kickoff 104 yards for another score. Both were playoff records for longest returns, as was the 248 total return yards he had.