Jan 12 2013; Denver, CO, USA; Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco (5) reacts to his touchdown in the fourth quarter against the Denver Broncos of the AFC divisional round playoff game at Sports Authority Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

2013 AFC Championship: Baltimore Ravens Defeat Broncos; Clinch Berth in Title Game


The Baltimore Ravens traveled to Denver to take on the Broncos in the AFC divisional round of the playoffs in an entertaining back and forth battle. Unlike the Saturday games from Wildcard weekend, the Ravens vs. Broncos game gave us a flurry of big plays and exciting momentum shifts in a game that featured five ties.

It was Baltimore’s first trip to Denver since 2006 and they pulled off a shocker.

Broncos return man and former collegiate track star Trindon Holliday was the big story during regulation.

Holliday returned a punt 90 yards for a score and a kickoff to start the second half for 104 yards and the touchdown. They are the longest punt returns and kickoff returns in NFL playoff history. Holliday also became the first player in NFL history to have two touchdowns of more longer than 90 yards in a game.

The Denver offense was only able to put together three touchdowns, which all came by way of Manning’s arm. Demaryius Thomas, Brandon Stokely and Knowshon Moreno all hauled in Manning passes for a score.

Surprisingly, Flacco outplayed Peyton Manning on the game with crucial and clutch plays coming from his arm with regularity.

Baltimore made the game interesting when they forced overtime on an unbelievable throw from Joe Flacco to Jacoby Jones on a stutter-and-go. The play tied the ballgame, 35-35. It was inexcusable for the Broncos secondary to allow a receiver to get behind them in that situation. However, that is the kind of afternoon it was for the Broncos defensive backfield.

The Ravens received the ball first in overtime, but Von Miller was able to record the Broncos first sack of the afternoon and end the Ravens.

That is when the ball was put back in the hands of Peyton Manning. The magic wasn’t happening on the drive, despite a beautiful come back catch from Brandon Stokely and Denver was forced to punt.

Baltimore was trapped inside their five-yard line following the punt and the offense initially sputtered. Following a delay of game penalty, Flacco was able to hit Dennis Pitta down the seam with a brilliant touch pass to extend the drive, but nothing came of the drive and the ball went right back to Denver.

It was redemption time for Peyton Manning and No. 18 worked his magic one more time, but the drive ended with an interception from Corey Graham, who had his second pick of the night.

Baltimore  took advantage of the turnover and found their way into field goal range, where rookie Justin Tucker nailed a 47 yard field goal attempt.

With the loss, Peyton Manning fell to 9-11 in his postseason career. The eleven losses ties Brett Favre for most postseason losses of all-time.

Flacco and the Ravens will travel to the winner of the Houston Texans vs. New England Patriots game to face off in the 2013 AFC Championship Game. The win extends Ray Lewis’ final ride and he let Peyton know he was moving on in the playoffs with this friendly, but hard slap to the head:

Most impressive part of the Lewis slap? It was with his injured arm!

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Tags: Baltimore Ravens Denver Broncos