Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

Live from Denver: Ravens 38, Broncos 35 (2OT)

PAUL KLEE Updated: January 12, 2013 at 12:00 am

DENVER — Call it an upset, call it a choke, call it a devastating defeat.

The Broncos are done.

Baltimore ended Denver's season with a 38-35 win in double overtime at Sports Authority Field on Saturday. The Broncos were the No. 1 seed in the AFC. Now they are on vacation.

Baltimore kicker Justin Tucker nailed a 47-yard field goal with 13:18 left in the second overtime to send the Ravens into the AFC championship game.

Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco found Torrey Smith for a 70-yard touchdown pass with under 1 minute remaining in regulation. The Broncos got the ball with 30 seconds left — and two timeouts and Manning — but unexpectedly chose to take a knee and test their fortune in overtime.

Baltimore built a 14-7 lead in the first half, the first time Denver had trailed since the Dec. 2 game against Tampa Bay. Thanks to Trindon Holliday, the Broncos battled back.

Holliday, the 5-foot-6 wunderkind from LSU, became the first player in NFL postseason history to return a kick and a punt for touchdowns in the same game. Holliday had a 90-yard punt return in the first quarter and a 104-yard kick return in the third quarter.

Denver had won 11 straight games. The streak ended Saturday, along with Denver dreams of reaching a Super Bowl in Peyton Manning's first season with the Broncos.

Only 129 tickets went unused in temperatures that dropped into the single digits in the second half. The temperature was 13 degrees at kickoff, marking the second-coldest home game in Broncos history. The result might qualify as the most shocking final score.

Gazette.com Live Report — Broncos 28, Ravens 28 — 11:38 left in the third quarter

-The Patriots are in high heaven right now. The Texans will be little more than a speed bump, and a Denver loss gives Tom Brady homefield for the AFC championship.

-Broncos sideline has the look of a bewildered unit. Denver hasn't been in this situation since.... last season. In their three losses, they trailed early and weren't expected to win. Pressure's mounting.

-On the bright side for Broncos fans, the Broncos have outscored their opponents 146-76 in fourth quarter this season.

-On the downside for Broncos fans, these Ravens, with this much on the line, aren’t your normal opponent.

-Total number of unused tickets at Mile High today: 129.

-Turn away, if the Jacksonville game still tickles. The '96 Jaguars were 12.5-point underdogs. The Ravens were 10-point underdogs today. Both the Ravens and Jaguars had a Jimmy Smith on their roster. Both the Ravens and Jaguars had little trouble moving the ball against Denver's defense.

Back in a few. Klee

Gazette.com Live Report — Broncos 28, Ravens 21 — 11:21 left in the third quarter

-With Trindon Holliday's second return for a touchdown, he became the first player in NFL history with kick and punt returns for touchdowns in a postseason game. Brought to mind this comment from his high school coach, whom I talked with a few weeks ago:

"He didn't return kicks for us. He was shaky with the ball," David Masterson said. "We had two guys better than him (on returns)."

-Here's that column on Holliday and his unlikely rise to special-teams stardom: Click here.

-The Broncos are just this side of a sloppy mess today. Denver's been called for seven penalties. Its season high: 11 (vs. Cleveland).

-The fans inside Mile High would suggest the replacement refs returned for the playoffs.

Back in a few. Klee

Gazette.com Live Report — Ravens 21, Broncos 21 — Halftime

-Which unfortunate soul on the Ravens sideline is responsible for telling Ray Lewis it's time to take a seat? Bless his career, but he knew the right time to hang 'em up.

-Don't look now, but the Ravens could've had four deep touchdown passes. Torrey Smith is blazing past the Broncos DBs. He's scored twice — the first Raven in team history to score two postseason touchdown receptions in one game.

-The Ravens' 14-7 lead marked the first time the Broncos had trailed in over a month. Their last deficit was Dec. 2 against Tampa Bay. The Broncos never trailed against the Browns, Ravens, Chiefs or Raiders.

-Torrey Smith tried to take it away, but the crowd hasn't lost its mojo. Lively, well-hydrated, sold-out, packed house. A pair of Ravens fans appear in front of us appear to be buying beers when the Broncos score... and getting their beers paid for when the Ravens score.

-Denver is 7-2 in divisional playoff games at home.

-Peyton Manning is 9-10 in the playoffs — and has a 107.9 QB rating in this one.

-Why attempt a 52-yard field goal at that point? Pin the Ravens, don't give them a shot for more points. I don't envision Bill Belichick doing the same.

-So far, our psychic looks to be right on: "I still the Broncos will win, but it's going to be tight," Denver-area psychic Karen Fox told us.

-Says here: The Broncos are in trouble.

Back in a few.

Gazette.com Live Report — Ravens 14, Broncos 14 — End of first quarter

-Joe Flacco has quarterbacked the perfect game so far. Dodging the sack artists, finding the tight ends (weakness of the Broncos) and... no turnovers.

-Fans are livid at the officiating. Only call I disagree with is the Tony Carter penalty. Illegal contact... maybe.

-Big drive from Peyton Manning's offense to tie the score at 14. Denver's defense hasn't shown it can stop Jim Caldwell's offense.

-Baltimore did score a franchise-record 398 points this season. Even if the Ravens fired their offensive coordinator in mid-December.

Back in a few. Klee

Gazette.com Live Report — Ravens 14, Broncos 7 — 9:49 left in first quarter

-Press box was shaking after Trindon Holliday's touchdown return. I'm told TV cameras were shaking, too.

-One man's t-shirt (yes, he's wearing a t-shirt): "Ray Lewis Retirement Ceremony at 2:30 p.m. Today."

-Mike Pereira, the rules analyst for Fox, tweeted the pass interference penalty on Tony Carter was the correct call. Personally, thought the ball was uncatchable. Huge, huge penalty, setting up Torrey Smith's long TD catch.

-The crowd is still booing the PI call.

-Flacco will throw deep all day. Champ Bailey had no safety help on the Flacco-to-Smith TD.

-And the Peyton Manning playoff curse continues. Always questioned his ability in the playoffs, and it is playing out again. Career playoff record: 9-10.

Back in a few. Klee

Gazette.com Live Report — Broncos (13-3) vs. Ravens (11-6) — Sports Authority Field at Mile High (Kickoff: 2:30 p.m.)

-Official game-time temp: 13 degrees, making it the second-coldest home game in Broncos history.

-The Broncos offense was introduced, with No. 18 sending the crowd into hysterics. Crowd is frigid... and amped.

-No surprises on the inactives list. Tracy Porter, out.

-Final thought prior to kickoff: Got a strange feeling about this one. The 10-point spread is too high, and the Broncos will need their finest game to win. An upset wouldn't shock me.

Back in a few. Klee

Gazette.com Live Report — Broncos (13-3) vs. Ravens (11-6) — Sports Authority Field at Mile High (Kickoff: 2:30 p.m.)

-Wind chill: 8 degrees. Temp's climbing, though. We've hit 15.

-Klee's prediction? I think it's closer than expected. I'll go Broncos 23, Ravens 16.

-What else did the psychic predict? Colorado's drought will continue. (Hope she's wrong about that, our trout are in dire need of a strong snowpack.) The Patriots will roll the Texans. Gisele won't leave Tom Brady for me. Peyton Manning won't be the MVP — and won't be in Denver for the duration of his contract. Manning's successor is not on the current roster. After this cold snap, we're in for a warm spell. All according to our favorite psychic.

-Best part about sitting next to NFL guru Andrew Mason in the press box: He always has live college basketball showing on his IPad.

-Baltimore kicker Justin Tucker, who is 30-for-33 this season, the second-best percentage in Ravens history, is on the field booting 47-yard field goals.

The game can start now — Ramsey's here. Back in a few. Klee

Gazette.com Live Report — Broncos (13-3) vs. Ravens (11-6) — Sports Authority Field at Mile High (Kickoff: 2:30 p.m.)

Afternoon everyone. Paul Klee joining you from Sports Authority Field with the first Live Report of the playoffs. I'll be here through the final horn with notes and observations, hopefully to complement your CBS-viewing experience. First things first: The weather....

-It's 7 degrees at Mile High as I type this. The first fans in the building, at least that we could see, was a pair of hearty Ravens fans, decked out in purple feathers and black capes. The coldest game in Broncos history — at home — was in 1972 vs. San Diego. The temp at kickoff: 9 degrees. Today will give the record a run.

-Jacob Tamme and Joel Dreessen are going through their normal pregame routine — throwing TD passes to each other in the north endzone.

-With all the playoff predictions around — office pools, ESPN types, the experts on Twitter — I figured we should chat with a psychic. Her name is Karen Fox, and she foretold the football future in my column today: Click here.

-The Gazette will be well-represented at Mile High today. We have a host of photographers, including the excellent Mark Reis, along with three writers: David Ramsey, Scott Kaniewski and yours truly. Loads of coverage coming in Sunday's Gazette.

Reach me on Twitter (@Klee_Gazette) or via email (paul.klee@gazette.com). Back in a few with more from Mile High. Better warm up this coffee.

Klee

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