The Chargers had the Ravens beat. Until they didn't.
San Diego led 13-10 and had Baltimore down to what may have been its last play. Not only was it fourth down with 1:59 left in the game, but the Ravens also needed 29 yards to get a first down. Impossible, right?
Not if Ray Rice is on the field.
From his own 37-yard line, Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco took the shotgun snap and dumped it off to Rice at the line of scrimmage. With plenty of room to run ahead of him, Rice sprinted down the right side and crossed midfield. With three Chargers defenders coming right at him, Rice switched directions and cut across the field making all three miss. Then, with the help of a block from Anquan Boldin, Rice was able to squeeze through two more Chargers and dive for the first down.
The officials reviewed the spot of the ball and ruled that Rice was down a yard short of the initial call, at the 34-yard line. That didn't matter. Rice still picked up the first down.
According to ESPN Stats and Info, it was the longest first down conversion without a penalty since the Bills in 2001 (4th and 34).
Rice's 29-yard gain kept the Ravens alive and allowed Justin Tucker to kick the game into overtime, where he would kick another field goal to win it for Baltimore.
After the game, Rice's 4th down play was all everyone was talking about.
“It was one of the most amazing plays I’ve ever seen in a football game," Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs said, per the team's official Twitter account.
Rice described the play to Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun as "Hey diddle diddle, Ray Rice up the middle."
"It was just total will. Once I made the first guy miss when I cut back across the grain, I actually saw the defense had to flip their hip and I kept eyeing the first down," Rice said, via NFL.com. "I looked and said, 'Should I keep running to the sideline or should I just keep trying to get up field?' And that's what I did. I just kept getting up field."
(GIF via The Big Lead)