Ravens defensive end Brent Urban had waited nearly two years to make a play. Safety Will Hill's wait for redemption was only about two minutes, but it felt just as long.
The two combined to make the game-winning play in the Ravens' wild, 33-27 victory over the Cleveland Browns on Monday night at FirstEnergy Stadium. Urban blocked Travis Coons' 51-yard game-winning field-goal attempt and Hill scooped it up and returned it 64 yards with no time on the clock to give the Ravens the victory.
"I was praying. I said, 'If we get a block and it bounced my way, I'm going to take it to the end zone,'" Hill said, acknowledging that he was so drained after the game that he almost threw up. "Luckily, it did. The ball bounced the right way."
A couple of minutes earlier, Hill had let Browns wide receiver Travis Benjamin get behind him for the game-tying 42-yard touchdown reception. When Coons lined up for what could have been his second game-winning field goal against the Ravens this season, that long Benjamin touchdown was still on Hill's mind.
"Desperate and frustrated at the same time," said Hill, summing up his emotions. "That play with Benjamin, I should have been right there. I was locked in on something else and made the wrong play."
Urban, meanwhile, was making his NFL debut after two frustrating seasons. The 2014 fourth-round draft pick missed his entire rookie season after tearing up his knee in training camp. Early in this year's training camp, he tore his right biceps.
Urban wore a big brace on his right arm that he says is a little restrictive to his mobility. However, he got some penetration on the field-goal attempt and stuck his left arm up to deflect Coons' kick.
"I think I had one or two [blocks] my senior year in college," Urban said. "I just wanted to drive out low and stick my hand out and just wait for the play to happen."
Urban called the moment "surreal" and said he was almost speechless. He was so caught up in the play that he thought that he blocked the kick with his surgically-repaired right arm, though replays showed that it was with his left. That hardly mattered though, as the Ravens celebrated their fourth victory on the season.
"It's great for it to go our way at the end of the game with a big play," Urban said. "It's a great feeling. Things just happened our way, finally, and we're ecstatic."
Ravens coach John Harbaugh called the back-and-forth affair one of the "great games you're ever going to see in terms of excitement."
"It was almost a game of redemption," Harbaugh said. "Will Hill didn't do a very good job on that coverage. He got fooled a little bit, gave up a touchdown pass, and then comes back and picks it up and runs it in. All the guys on the field-goal block team that set the wall down the sidelines, it was just a thing of beauty."