It was a moment Bryn Renner will admit he shouldn't have been in — his team down a score, 27-23, after the Saints turned an interception he threw deep in his own territory into the would-be game-winning touchdown.
But in his NFL debut, the Ravens' third-string quarterback orchestrated a 14-play, 80-yard drive capped by a diving bootleg into the end-zone with nine seconds to play that gave them a 30-27 win over the New Orleans Saints.
It set off a celebration the likes of which preseasons haven't seen — the undrafted, third-string offensive linemen swarmed Renner in the end zone. Starters, who had been out of the game for three hours, welcomed the returning third-stringers back to the sidelines with open arms. Star outside linebacker Terrell Suggs dumped a pair of water bottles on Renner's head as he was being interviewed on television after the game.
Memorable moments, all around, but for the young quarterback who was cut before he could even see preseason action with the Denver Broncos in training camp last year, it was all about having a short memory and moving on from his earlier mistake.
"We have a saying, 'Short-term memory and move on to the next play,' and coach [Marc] Trestman preaches that," Renner said. "That's what we kind of did as a whole offensive unit to score that touchdown.
"[It was a] tough interception starting that second drive," Renner said. "You can't do that with the four-minute drill and being backed up like that. You can't do that and cost your team. So, having the two-minute drive was great."
Renner, who was signed to a reserve-future contract in January and was a highly-touted quarterback prospect entering the University of North Carolina, properly credited his offensive line, plus tight end Maxx Williams, for their roles in the final drive.
Williams converted a fourth-and-20, plowing through a defender for the final five yards, to extend the drive. He also had long completions to wide receivers DeAndre Carter and Tom Nelson.
But with the team on the goalline and no timeouts remaining, Trestman took a gamble to call a bootleg for the young quarterback. The Saints' defensive line bit as the Ravens' front moved to the left, and after Renner faked a handoff, he ran around the right side where he had to dive in for the score.
The play capped a night in which Renner went 6-for-14 with an interception, 88 passing yards, and a 34.2 rating. Even if Renner himself downplayed the play that capped the winning drive, his teammates didn't.
"That was great, because you feel bad when he threw the pick the drive before, and I know John wants to win these football games and I knew [Bryn] would have felt bad about that," starting quarterback Joe Flacco said. "So, for him to go out there and do what he did was just awesome. That's a best-case scenario for him, because if he doesn't throw the pick early on then he has to run a four-minute drive. Instead, he throws a pick and gets himself an awesome two-minute drill and shows that he can bounce back and he's tough and he can play and I thought it was really awesome."