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The Sports Xchange, Published December 08 2013

Ravens take game from Vikings on last-second touchdown

BALTIMORE – In one of the most frantic, final two minutes in franchise history, Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco found rookie wide receiver Marlon Brown on a 9-yard pass with four seconds left to give the Ravens a 29-26 victory over the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday.

Minnesota had taken the lead, 19-15, on a 41-yard run by Toby Gerhart with 1:27 left in the game. However, Baltimore’s Jacoby Jones ran back the ensuing kickoff for 77 yards for a go-ahead touchdown.

And just as it appeared Baltimore was going to pull out an improbable victory, Minnesota quarterback Matt Cassel threw a 79-yard pass to wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson with 45 seconds left to give the Vikings a 26-22 lead. The Ravens did not quit and finally sealed the win with the late score, capping the fifth touchdown in the final 2:05.

Minnesota running back Adrian Peterson had to be helped off the field early in the second quarter after Ravens linebacker Arthur Brown landed on him while making a tackle near theVikings’ sideline. Peterson was carted to the locker room with an ankle injury and later returned to the sideline in street clothes.

Flacco struggled for most of the game, completing 28 of 50 passes for 245 yards with three touchdown and three interceptions.

Vikings backup quarterback Matt Cassel started in place of Christian Ponder, who suffered a concussion last Sunday against Chicago. Cassel effectively managed the game and completed 17 of 38 passes for 265 yards and two touchdowns.

Chad Greenway, Marcus Sherels and Andrew Sendejo each ended potential Baltimore scoring drives with interceptions.

After trailing 7-3 at the half, Minnesota pulled to within one on its first possession of the third quarter on a 40-yard field goal by Blair Walsh.

After Flacco was intercepted on his own 34 by Sendejo, the Vikings took the first lead, 12-7, on an 8-yard pass from Cassel to Jerome Simpson with 14:22 left in the game. A 2-point conversion failed when safety Matt Elam knocked down a pass from Cassel intended for Greg Jennings.

Minnesota defense played effectively until safety Robert Blanton was called for pass interference on the Vikings 17 with 5:03 left. The Ravens capitalized when Flacco found tight endDennis Pitta for a 1-yard touchdown.

After the Vikings appeared to snatch the victory with Gerhart’s run, Jones answered for the Ravens. However, Cassel surprised the Ravens’ defense with his long strike to Patterson.

In the end, it was Flacco’s pass to Brown that was the difference that was helped by a pass interference penalty.

Baltimore went three-and-out on five of seven drives midway through the game that allowed the Vikings to stay within striking distance.

The Ravens opened the scoring after Elam forced a fumble by running back Toby Gerhart on his own 25-yard line. Flacco then engineered the scoring drive by scrambling for 22 yards and then finding Dennis Dixon two plays later for a 1-yard touchdown and a 7-0 lead with 4:20 left in the first quarter.

The Vikings appeared to be on the verge of tying the game with 5:51 left in the second quarter when Cordarrelle Patterson gained 18 yards on an end-around that placed ball at the Ravens’ 2-yard line. However, an illegal block by center Joe Berger negated the play and Minnesota had to settle for a 39-yard field goal by Walsh

Minnesota 0 3 3 20— 26

Baltimore 7 0 0 22— 29

FIRST QUARTER

Bal—Dickson 1 yard pass from Flacco (J.Tucker kick), 4:14.

SECOND QUARTER

Min—Walsh 39 yard field goal, 4:28.

THIRD QUARTER

Min—Walsh 40 yard field goal, 12:02.

FOURTH QUARTER

Min—Simpson 8 yard pass from Cassel (G.Jennings pass from Cassel - failed), 14:22.

Bal—Pitta 1 yard pass from Flacco (To.Smith pass from Flacco), 2:05.

Min—Gerhart 41 yard rush (Walsh kick), 1:27.

Bal—Jc.Jones 77 yard kickoff return (J.Tucker kick), 1:16.

Min—C.Patterson 79 yard pass from Cassel (Walsh kick), 0:45.

Bal—Ma.Brown 9 yard pass from Flacco (J.Tucker kick), 0:04.

A—70,921.

TEAM STATISTICS

MIN BAL

First Downs 15 23

Total Net Yards 379 342

Rushes-Yds 25-114 27-97

Passing 265 245

Sacked-Yds Lost 0-0 2-17

Comp-Att-Int 17-38-0 28-50-3

Punts 9-44.1 6-54.7

Punt Returns 1-14 4-44

Kickoff Returns 5-131 4-152

Interceptions Ret. 3-1 0-0

Penalties-Yards 6-90 5-45

Fumbles-Lost 3-1 1-0

Time of Possession 27:48 32:12

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING- MIN, Gerhart 15-89, A.Peterson 7-13, Cassel 2-6, C.Patterson 1-6. BAL, R.Rice 17-67, Flacco 1-22, Pierce 7-12, V.Leach 1-0, Jc.Jones 1-(minus 4).

PASSING- MIN, Cassel 17-38-0-265. BAL, Flacco 28-50-3-245.

RECEIVING- MIN, C.Patterson 5-141, G.Jennings 5-53, Simpson 4-48, Carlson 2-19, A.Peterson 1-4. BAL, Ma.Brown 7-92, Pitta 6-48, R.Rice 5-42, Jc.Jones 4-37, Dickson 2-8, To.Smith 1-11, Pierce 1-5, Stokley 1-2, V.Leach 1-0.

MISSED FIELD GOALS- MIN, None. BAL, None