The Ravens had so much luck a year ago that it appeared to all have run out. There was the fourth-and-mile check down pass to Ray Rice in San Diego and the Mile High Miracle pass to Jacoby Jones in the postseason.
When the 2013 season began, the Ravens had the early injury to tight end Dennis Pitta and a promising offensive line failed. They couldn't convert on several short yardage situations and head coach John Harbaugh looked like he wouldn't win many challenges until 2014.
And then came Sunday.
In a game where five touchdowns were scored in the last 2 minutes, 05 seconds, the Ravens scored the last one on a 9-yard touchdown pass from Joe Flacco to Marlon Brown with four seconds remaining as the Ravens beat the Minnesota Vikings, 29-26.
The mo-jo is back.
This is not to say the Ravens were totally lucky because they made good calls and had several big plays in crunch time, but in the watered down NFL the difference between a contender looking for the sixth seed is luck.
Or fate. Or whatever you call it.
"Was it unlikely that we win this game today?" Flacco asked. "Probably, but we did."
And when you are a middle-of-the-road club like the Ravens, it takes luck to get into the postseason. Fortunately, the NFL has become a flag football league and few teams play great defense anymore.
That's why the Ravens and Vikings ran up and down the field in the final two minutes Sunday. Both teams had receivers wide open across the middle numerous times. Both teams were able to run the ball in the final quarter. If the Pro Bowl voting was held today, not one player on the Ravens or the Vikings defense would get a vote.
"You couldn't even really get emotional," Ravens returner Jacoby Jones said. "It was too confusing. It was like touchdown…yeah. Then it would be like, whoa. Touchdown…yeah. Whoa. I was like, you know what? Hold on, I'll just slow that down, as long as we got the ball last we'll be all right."
The Ravens got some very good breaks. Vikings running back Toby Gerhart clearly had his knee on the ground when he fumbled, but the officials gave it to the Ravens and Flacco threw a 1-yard touchdown pass to Ed Dickson four plays later in the first quarter.
Twice, the officials blew calls when Minnesota defenders got tangled up with Ravens receivers by accident and Minnesota was called for pass interference, one on Pitta that eventually led to the Ravens' game-winning touchdown. The Vikings intercepted the pass, but it was nullified and that could have sealed a Vikings' victory. The Ravens also only had to face running back Adrian Peterson for a half after he left with a leg injury.
Maybe the biggest break was playing a team like the Vikings who have one of the worst pass defenses in the NFL and are now 3-9-1. The Vikings remind me of Pig-Pen from the old Charlie Brown cartoons. There is always an odor around them.
The Ravens have smelled like that most of the season, but maybe their fortunes changed Sunday. Flacco had a quarterback rating of 64.2 and threw three interceptions and the Ravens still won. Twice the Vikings seemed to have put the game away with touchdowns, but the Ravens answered with a 77-yard kickoff return for a touchdown from Jones and Brown's game-winning touchdown reception.
That's not supposed to happen. When it does, that's fantasy football, not the NFL.
"Well, it sure keeps you humble, doesn't it, if there is any fear of that" Harbaugh said. "I don't know what it does for you. It probably makes you tough. It probably makes you resilient. It probably puts a lot of calluses all over your psyche and your character. When you've got calluses on your character, that's probably a good thing in the end."
Ravens safety Matt Elam said: "We're the best 7-6 team in the league. I just feel like the way we stick together and the way we have faith in each other will serve us great down the road. We have faith in each other and see it every day in practice."
That's a key for this team. When you start putting together a couple of wins like the Ravens have confidence grows. And if they keep winning then they start feeling invincible.
The Ravens need that type of luck and energy going into the final three games against the Detroit Lions, New England Patriots and Cincinnati Bengals. Despite what Flacco or Harbaugh says they haven't gotten much better since the beginning of the season. No one knows which Flacco will show up from half to half. The running game still has problems, especially in short-yardage situations.
They can't get any defensive pressure with the front four and the Ravens still have a lot of communication problems in their secondary.
But on Sunday, they survived against one of the worst defenses in the NFL because they played just good enough to win, and they had some luck.
The mo-jo was back, and it can take a team a long way in the NFL, at least into the postseason.