|Shannon, Nib & I|
We had tickets in advance because I decided to get them on Ticketmaster when they went on sale just before I went away to end 2012. With that being said, we were able to go right into the stadium without a hassle. After what I went through in Detroit, I'm glad I didn't have to waste my time outside trying to find tickets again. As it turned out, I "Lucked" out in more ways than one. It turned out that the Ravens wound up playing the Indianapolis Colts. It was Andrew Luck's first playoff game. In addition, a few days before the game, original Raven and inspirational team leader, Ray Lewis announced this was going to be his "last ride." With that being said, I knew tickets would be harder to come by.
This was going to be my 27th and final NFL game of the season regardless. I just wanted to see one playoff game to keep my streak of seeing at least one playoff game every year since 1997 alive. Mission accomplished. As for the King, it was his 20th NFL game of the season.
Upon entry, I headed right upstairs to section 500 row 32 which is the last row right at mid field. I wanted to see a guy named Harry "Nib"Pirrung who I met at a Raven game back on October 30, 2011 when I saw the Arizona Cardinals there. Nib has he's called was there with his daughter Shannon. It should be noted Nib has been at every Raven home game since they moved to Baltimore back in 1996. He loves his Ravens. Since we initially met, this was my fourth Raven game there since. Every time I've been there, I've made sure that I've seen Nib. The man is a fixture and he's a good guy. I'm so glad we've met. Once people came for the seats around him, I walked down to row 21 in section 500 and I "lucked" out again as I wound up finding an empty seat on the aisle where I was able to watch & score the game. With that being said, I gave myself a royal upgrade. I sat at mid field instead of the end zone where was my seat was located. The King decided to go to his seat. While I was getting ready for the game, I got in touch with our pal, Andrew Van Cleve who came on Amtrak from Philadelphia for the game. There were no seats available where I was sitting so he decided to stand below my section instead. He wound up having a great view of the game.
Speaking of the game, it started slow and sloppy. As a result, both teams failed to score in the first quarter despite a costly fumble by running back Ray Rice of the Ravens.
In second quarter, the Ravens got a 23 yard field goal from rookie kicker Justin Tucker with 11:18 left until halftime to take a 3-0 lead. With 2:25 left in the half, the Colts got even as veteran kicker Adam Vinatieri kicked a 47 yard field goal to tie the game at three. The Ravens roared back as they capped off a six play sixty three yard drive to regain the lead, 10-3 as fullback Vonta Leach ran in from two yards out with 50 seconds left. The Colts made good use of the remaining time as they converted a third and long which put them in position to attempt another field goal to slice into the lead as time expired in the half. Adam Vinatieri capitalized on the opportunity as he boomed a 52 yarder to make it a 10-6 game as the teams headed into the locker room.
In the third quarter, the Ravens extended their lead to 17-6 with 8:26 left as quarterback Joe Flacco connected with tight end Dennis Pitta on a 20 yard touchdown pass. With 40 seconds to go, the Colts added another field goal to get within eight at 17-9 as Adam Vinatieri booted one through from 26 yards out.
In the fourth quarter, the Ravens finished the scoring as wide receiver Anquan Boldin caught a 18 yard touchdown pass from Joe Flacco with 9:14 left to secure the win for the Ravens, 24-9. The Colts and Andrew ran out of "Luck" on this day.
As for the Ravens earned a trip to Denver as Ray Lewis' "last ride" continued on the road in the Mile High City against Peyton Manning and the Broncos.
Stay tuned for the special post I'm going to do about Ray Lewis and his legendary football playing career.
Thank you for reading and following along.