We've been there.
We've done that.
When Blair "Polar Bear" Walsh's 17 yard chip-shot field goal careened wide left yesterday in the final couple dozen seconds of the game, an immediate feeling of deja vu rushed over Ravens fans all over the world. This is because we know how it feels for a kicker to miss what is considered an easy make that would help bring a favorable outcome from the game. In the playoffs. Against the defending conference champion. As an underdog that no one gave a chance.
Back in 2011-12, Ravens Nation had just endured a false positive Super Bowl berth with a Lee Evans end zone drop. He had a Joe Flacco pass that would have put the Ravens ahead FTW in his hands, with almost the same amount of time left--:27. And he allowed it to be knocked from his grasp, leisurely turning within the end zone perhaps with a celebration in mind, instead of ball security. With that falling through, there was the sure thing of a 32-yard FG to tie the game and head to extra frames, non-sudden death because this was the playoffs. This was the AFC Championship. Someone had to win and someone had to go home.
In similar fashion, the Vikings overcame so much yesterday--the media hype, to begin with; the juggernaut offense that Seattle had boasted for most of the last month; the psychological disadvantage of having lost badly to this same team a few weeks ago. They even overcame losing the lead with a solid drive to deep within the red zone. The kick was meticulously set up, draining every second possible. Missing simply was not an options. I thought that Seattle would get a penalty attempting to block it, giving the Vikings a first down, after which they might take one more shot to the end zone. I never dreamed that a horrid shank would end the season mercilessly.
What is it about the left? A vortex of football hopes and dreams with no light in it.
It cheated you, it cheated us.
Also palpable was the collective curse of a nation of purple people towards television announcer Cris Collinsworth, who had pointed out the laces' positioning in an earlier kick. Ironic that the same thing happened again, with different results.
So take solace, Vikings Nation, we have been where you are.
Where we went next should also inspire you -- the Super Bowl, bulldozing our way through that same defending conference champ on the way there.