When the story of the 2015 NFL season is written, last night may not even be a footnote, one bad team beating another bad team in a mildly interesting fashion.
But for the guys involved in the game-deciding play, it was a novel, full of redemption and reward for years pf perserverance.
The Ravens won on a last second field goal block by defensive end Brent Urban, returned for a touchdown by safety Will Hill. And their reactions should tell you why it was a big deal, at least to them.
Urban called the moment “surreal” and said he was nearly speechless. The 2014 fourth-round pick lost his rookie season to a knee injury, then tore his biceps in training camp and was just activated last week, making it his first NFL game. He was so caught up in the moment he thought he had blocked the kick with his surgically repaired right arm instead of his left.
“It’s great for it to go our way at the end of the game with a big play,” Urban said, via Jeff Zrebeic of the Baltimore Sun. “It’s a great feeling. Things just happened our way, finally, and we’re ecstatic.”
For Hill, the relief was more temporary, since he had just given up a game-tying touchdown to Travis Benjamin with a blown coverage, so picking up the block and returning it 64 yards capped a two minutes that took him from being the cause for a loss to the cause for a win.
The swing left him a little queasy, and he admitted he nearly threw up after scoring his touchdown.
“It was almost a game of redemption,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. “Will Hill didn’t do a very good job on that coverage. He got fooled a little bit, gave up a touchdown pass, and then comes back and picks it up and runs it in. All the guys on the field-goal block team that set the wall down the sidelines, it was just a thing of beauty.”
It might have fallen short of that standard for most. But for Urban and Hill, it created lifelong memories.