When the game is on the line and a play needs to be made, you turn to the veterans.
That’s what the Ravens did yesterday when the game was in the balance in Tennessee.
Maligned earlier in the season by fans who wanted them chased out of town, both Matt Stover and Todd Heap came through when it mattered most on Saturday.
Heap corralled a terrific 23-yard thread-the-needle-pass from Joe Flacco on 3rd down in the game’s final two minutes and moments later Stover connected on the game-winning 43-yard field goal as Baltimore moved on to the AFC title game. Just like old times — Heap and Stover factoring in a win.
It couldn’t have happened to two nicer guys. Or, two better professionals.
Heap has gallantly played through a difficult season, battling both a pre-season calf injury and an offensive system that clearly doesn’t utilize him like in year’s past. Stover had some brief struggles early in the season as special teams coach Jerry Rosburg made a couple of small – but significant – changes in the team’s kicking game. And Stover, admittedly, took some time to adjust.
But yesterday, there they were, playing huge roles for the Ravens.
And to think that we took plenty of calls from folks back in September who said, “Heap is done…Stover can’t do it anymore…time for those guys to go.” If I took one of those calls, I took 20.
Done. And done. Both of them.
Not quite, kids.
They still have football left to play this season.
And, if the game is on the line next Sunday, I’m perfectly fine with the ball being thrown at Heap with 2 minutes to go on 3rd down. And, if there’s less than a minute to play and Stover jogs on to the field for a 40-something-yard field goal, I like our chances.
I always like our chances when two veterans like Heap and Stover are the ones we need to rely on to come through in the clutch.
They proved that again yesterday.