As far as losses go, that was about as shocking of an end as I’ve ever seen.
Lee Evans had the Ravens in Indianapolis, but couldn’t hold on to the ball with 19 seconds left.
Billy Cundiff could have sent the game to overtime with a 32-yard field goal with 11 seconds remaining, but he pulled it wide left. It wasn’t quite the equivalent of Scott Hoch’s 28-inch missed putt that cost him the 1989 Masters, but it was close. Field goal kickers make 32 yarders in their sleep.
But Cundiff didn’t make it.
And the Ravens 2011 season came to a stunning conclusion on a cold Sunday in Foxborough where Joe Flacco outplayed the great Tom Brady in his own building.
“None of it matters,” Flacco said to me at his locker afterwards. ”How close we came, how well we played, how hard we worked today. None of it matters. We lost. That’s all we can say.”
Cundiff took his miscue like a pro, meeting with the media afterwards and simply saying, “I didn’t convert, it’s that simple.”
Evans, meanwhile, sat in front of his locker for 45 minutes after the game, staring straight ahead and no doubt thinking about the ball he dropped that could have eliminated the Patriots and extended Baltimore’s season by one more game.
“No one will feels worse than anyone else in here,” Matt Birk told me. ”We’re all crushed. We’re a team. We lost. Doesn’t matter how it happened. We’re all in this together.”
John Harbaugh was complimentary of the Patriots in his post-game remarks, but the Ravens coach knows the truth. New England was fortunate to escape with a win on Sunday…he just can’t say that to the media gathered in the interview room.
But I can say it, just like I said last Sunday that the Ravens were lucky to beat the Texans.
The Patriots pulled a rabbit out of their hat.
Thanks to a drop in the end zone and a missed 32-yard field goal, the Ravens are going home and New England plays one more game.
I’ve seen a lot of crazy things in sports, but Sunday, watching it unfold live in front of me on the field below — it was stunning, to say the least.