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Looking at wild pendulum swings of win probability in Ravens' wacky win Sunday

We are now 24 hours removed from the unbelievable final minutes of the Ravens’ 29-26 win over the Minnesota Vikings, and I still can’t believe what I watched at M&T Bank Stadium. I’m sure I’m not alone.

There were six lead changes in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s game, which was the most in NFL history, according to Elias Sports Bureau. The Ravens and Vikings combined to score five touchdowns for 36 points in the final 125 seconds of the game, which were by far the most combined points scored by two teams in the final two and a half minutes of the fourth quarter in any game over the past 50 seasons.

Many Ravens said this was the craziest game they had ever been a part of, and these are the same guys that won on the miraculous fourth-and-29 play in San Diego and the Miracle at Mile High just last season.

Just how epic was Sunday’s ending? The win probability chart for the game’s final moments looks like someone strapped a pathological liar up to a lie detector test.

The Vikings had a win probability of 87 percent before Ravens tight end Dennis Pitta scored the go-ahead touchdown on fourth down with 2:05 left, swinging the odds the other way by giving the Ravens an 80 percent win probability.

But after the Vikings went 68 yards on two plays, the final 41 coming on a draw by to running back Toby Gerhart, they had a 76 percent win probability with 1:27 left.

Jacoby Jones then took the ensuing kickoff 77 yards for a touchdown to reclaim the lead with 1:16 left. At that point, the Ravens had an 81 percent win probability.

It took the Vikings just three plays to score another touchdown with a 79-yard screen pass to wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson. With the Vikings leading, 26-22, with 45 seconds left, they had a commanding 96 percent win probability.

Quarterback Joe Flacco responded by driving the Ravens 80 yards on five plays. He hit rookie receiver Marlon Brown in the back of the end zone with four seconds left, giving the Ravens the decisive score and making them a near lock to win. They did, 29-26.

How ferociously was that pendulum swinging during that unforgettable ending? Bill Bowen on Twitter put together this poker analogy, and it is the kind of hand that gamblers would tell strangers at poker tables about for the rest of their lives.

Those who played Sunday will probably be telling the story of the game for a long time, too -- especially the Ravens.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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