After three snowy, sloppy quarters to start Sunday's game, it suddenly in the fourth quarter became one of those games in which the team that gets the ball last wins the game. The Ravens and Vikings exchanged touchdowns and swapped leads late in the fourth quarter, but it was the Ravens who got the ball last. The Ravens trailed, 26-22, when they started the drive at their 20-yard line with 45 seconds left in the game. Quarterback Joe Flacco would lead them on another long drive to put them in scoring position. He completed a 35-yard pass to rookie wide receiver Marlon Brown and picked up 18 penalty yards when the Vikings were called for committing pass interference on tight end Dennis Pitta. After an 18-yard completion to Pitta got them to the Minnesota 9-yard line, the Ravens took their final timeout with 10 seconds left. The Ravens had enough time for two, maybe three, throws into the end zone, but they only needed one as Flacco would connect with Brown, who has been a non-factor in recent weeks, for the winning score. "I was out there just trying to make sure I just run my routes right," said Brown, a rookie who was signed as an undrafted free agent. "I didn't want to mess up. It was already the fourth quarter. I didn't want to mess up. I was locking in." Brown lined up in the left slot between wide receiver Jacoby Jones and Pitta, who was flexed out into the slot. Torrey Smith was alone on the right. Running back Ray Rice stood next to Flacco in the shotgun. The Vikings were in a big nickel defense with three safeties on the field. Second-year safety Robert Blanton was lined up in the left slot across Brown, who had four inches on the 6-foot-1 defender.
SEE MORE GALLERIES
Throughout the game, the Vikings had been playing a lot of zone coverage, mostly Cover One and Cover Three. But as Flacco made his drop, the Vikings were playing a Tampa Two zone with two deep safeties in the end zone, a linebacker dropping deep down the middle and four defenders taking the intermediate zones. Smith ran a corner route toward the back right pylon. Pitta leaked into the left flat toward the sideline in case Flacco needed a safe dump-off. Jones ran a post and Brown ran straight up the seam to the back of the end zone. Flacco appeared to have his eyes on Brown the whole time, waiting for him to get open. Brown ran past Blanton, who carried him to the deep zones so another defender could make a play, and bent his route slightly toward the middle of the field to find a soft spot behind the Vikings secondary. Vikings deep safety Andrew Sendejo pulled himself out of position by trying to undercut the route, but it would still take an accurate lob from Flacco and a tip-toe catch from Brown to finish off the play. "I thought they had pretty good coverage on the touchdown play there at the end," said Flacco, who threw for 245 yards and three touchdowns in the win but who also threw three interceptions.
SEE MORE GALLERIES
Each week, reporter and blogger Matt Vensel breaks down a critical play, sometimes with the help of Ravens players and coaches, from that week's game. Today, he breaks down wide receiver Marlon Brown's game-winning touchdown catch in Sunday's 29-26 win over the Minnesota Vikings.