In a matchup of two first-place teams, the Atlanta Falcons and the Baltimore Ravens kicked off Thursday Night Football in the NFL last night. This was a possible Super Bowl preview, and it did not disappoint.
The Falcons squandered a 13 point lead in last night's game, and were down to their final drive of the game. Quarterback Matt Ryan and receiver Roddy White knew what they had to do with the game on the line. With 20 seconds left on the clock, Matt Ryan hooked up with Roddy White on a 33-yard touchdown pass to give the Falcons a 26-21 lead.
Falcons coach Mike Smith, a former Ravens assistant said, "That might have been the most the intense game I've ever been involved with at any level of football."
He was right. The game was intense, came down to the wire, and left fans on the edge of their seats.
Baltimore had the victory all but locked up when Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco connected with tight end Todd Heap for a nine-yard touchdown with just over a minute remaining. Flacco did all he could do, and probably thought that he had the game winning drive, but it was not to be.
They left 65 seconds left on the clock, and 65 seconds is more than enough for "Matty Ice." Ryan drove down the field, hitting Michael Jenkins on a key third down pass before hitting Roddy White for the go-ahead score.
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On the touchdown pass White knew he had received a big break; as he was making his cut, he used his right arm to shove Josh Wilson in order to get free. He sent Wilson sprawling to the ground and White made the catch with no one around.
Wilson hopped up, looking for a flag that never came. White knew that he had caught one of the biggest breaks of his career.
White said to ESPN: "Yeah, you've got to do whatever you've got to do to win," he said. "It was one-on-one coverage with one guy. But he was kind of flat-footed, and he tried to grab me, so I just pushed him down."
Ryan completed 32 passes for 316 yards, and three touchdowns. White caught 12 passes for 138 yards, and two touchdowns. Ryan and White are the two key players for the Falcons, and they proved once again why they are Atlanta's best players.
What does this mean for the Falcons? They are now 7-2, and in first place in the NFC. They just beat the Ravens, who were the cream of the crop in the AFC.
The Falcons have to like their chances right now of making it to the Super Bowl in Dallas. Atlanta has done what they needed for week 10, and look to expound on their success in week 11. I would not be the one who has to face them next week.
In Atlanta, Matt Ryan and Roddy White are again heroes, at least for another week.