Vikings vs. Ravens: Baltimore scores with 4 seconds left to beat Minnesota
BALTIMORE (AP) - It's hard to determine which was wackier, the unrelenting snow during the first half, or the flurry of five touchdowns over the final 125 seconds during this unforgettable game between the Baltimore Ravens and Minnesota Vikings.
Joe Flacco threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to rookie Marlon Brown with 4 seconds left to ice Baltimore's 29-26 victory Sunday. Brown's catch concluded a five-play, 80-yard drive that took only 41 seconds.
It came after Matt Cassel threw a 79-yard touchdown pass to Cordarrelle Patterson with 45 seconds remaining. Just before that, Baltimore's Jacoby Jones took a kickoff 77 yards for a score, which followed a 41-yard touchdown run by Toby Gerhart, who had replaced an injured Adrian Peterson.
The zaniness began when Flacco threw a 1-yard, fourth-down pass to Dennis Pitta with 2:05 go to for a 15-12 Ravens lead.
Baltimore (7-6) has its first three-game winning streak of the season and the inside track for the second AFC wild card.
Minnesota (3-9-1) lost Peterson in the second quarter with an ankle injury.
Peterson, the NFL's leading rusher and 2012 MVP, left in the second quarter after catching a short pass and being tackled near the sideline by linebacker Arthur Brown. The severity of the injury was not immediately announced.
He finished with 13 yards on seven carries.
Gerhart gained 89 yards on 15 attempts. Cassel went 17 for 28 yards for 265 yards.
Flacco completed 28 of 50 passes for 245 yards and three interceptions.
The Vikings took their first lead, 12-7, when Cassel threw an 8-yard pass to Jerome Simpson after an interception by safety Andrew Sendejo. Baltimore then moved to the Minnesota 21 before Vonta Leach was stuffed on a fourth-and-1.
That appeared huge, but the teams had plenty of time left to run up and down the sloppy field.
Before the game and in the first quarter, small tractors with plows and workers with shovels tried to clear the snow, to no avail. After the snow let up, tractors moved it from between the hash marks and shovels cleared the yard lines.
The wet football and messy field had an immediate impact. Flacco underthrew his receiver and was intercepted by Chad Greenway to end the opening possession, and the Vikings' second drive ended when Gerhart fumbled. The ball was recovered by safety Matt Elam at the Minnesota 25, and Flacco slipped and skidded for 22 yards before passing to Ed Dickson for a 1-yard touchdown.
It became apparent early that scoring would be difficult, and more so for the Vikings after Peterson left. So Minnesota coach Leslie Frazier kept his offense on the field on a fourth-and-3 at the Baltimore 38. The Vikings converted to set up a 39-yard field goal by Blair Walsh - a kick that followed a good deal of preparation by holder Jeff Locke, who used a towel to clear the placement spot.
Blair added a 40-yarder in the third quarter after Cassel completed a 19-yard pass to Greg Jennings.