Justin Tucker sealed an incredible victory for Baltimore Ravens over Denver Broncos with a 47 yard field goal in double overtime.
Justin Tucker booted a 47-yard field goal in the second overtime Saturday to give the Baltimore Ravens a wild 38-35 victory over the Denver Broncos in the second round of the NFL playoffs.
The improbable victory means Baltimore veteran Ray Lewis – who says he’ll retire at the end of the season – isn’t done yet.
Meanwhile the Ravens’ triumph brought quarterback great Peyton Manning’s first season in Denver to a disappointing close.
The Ravens advanced to the American Conference (AFC) championship game, where they’ll face either New England or Houston for a berth in the Super Bowl. The NFL championship spectacular will be played in New Orleans on February 3.
The San Francisco 49ers advanced to the National Conference (NFC) championship game with a 45-31 victory over the Green Bay Packers.
San Francisco signal-caller Colin Kaepernick set an NFL rushing record for a quarterback with 181 yards and two scores. He also threw for 263 yards and two touchdowns — both to Michael Crabtree.
The 49ers next play the winner of Sunday’s game between NFC top seeds Atlanta and Seattle.
Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers threw for 257 yards with two touchdowns and an interception.
In Denver, Tucker’s deciding field goal came four plays after the Ravens’ Corey Graham intercepted Manning in Broncos territory for the second time of the game.
Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco had connected with Jacoby Jones on a 70-yard touchdown pass with just 31 seconds left in regulation to knot the score at 35-35 and force overtime.
Flacco also hit Torrey Smith for a pair of touchdowns earlier in the game, finishing with 331 passing yards.
Ray Rice contributed 131 rushing yards and a touchdown.
“It was pretty incredible,” Flacco said. “We overcame some things today and we fought until the very end.”
Manning entered the matchup having beaten the Ravens nine consecutive times – including a pair of post-season contests – during his long tenure with Indianapolis. He threw for 290 yards and three touchdowns and the two interceptions.
The Broncos, who had won their last 11 regular-season games to claim the top seed in the AFC and a first-round bye, endured their first playoff loss at home since 1996.
Speedster Trindon Holliday delivered a stand-out performance in the defeat, returning both a punt and a kickoff for Denver touchdowns and establishing an NFL playoff record for the longest return for each.
“Unless you’re hoisting that Lombardi Trophy at the end, it’s disappointing,” said Broncos head coach John Fox. “We had plenty of opportunities in this game, we just came up short.”
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