The story seems too good to be true, even to Ravens running back Ray Rice.
"We had a guy who lost his brother the night before a game and went out there and played on a Sunday," Rice said. "We lose Ray Lewis. We lost Terrell Suggs. Our whole defense was hurt at one point. We shuffle our offensive line. Our coordinator [gets fired].
"Listen, I need a ghostwriter to write this book, and I want all residuals on this one because this is going to be a great story."
In the middle of this story should be a chapter based in San Diego a little over two months ago.
On Nov. 25, Rice manufactured 29 yards against the San Diego Chargers in one of the most improbable scenarios, leading to a 16-13 win in overtime that could be considered a critical step in the Ravens' ride to Super Bowl XLVII.
As the Ravens took part in four consecutive days of interviews leading up to Sunday's Super Bowl, they were asked numerous times how Rice converted a dump-off pass on fourth-and-29 against the Chargers into a first down. The play extended the game and led to a victory that proved pivotal in the playoff hunt.
The Ravens would go on to lose four of their next five games — a slide so steep the Ravens clinched a playoff berth after a loss when the Pittsburgh Steelers were mathematically eliminated.
Yet Rice can't get the phrase "team of destiny" out of his head as he and his teammates reflect on the 2012 regular season.
Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith's brother died in a motorcycle accident the night before the Ravens played the New England Patriots on Sept. 23.
Lewis tore his triceps and Lardarius Webb tore his right anterior cruciate ligament against the Dallas Cowboys on Oct. 14. Suggs was out six weeks with an Achilles injury and later suffered a torn biceps. And offensive coordinator Cam Cameron was fired the day after an overtime loss to the Washington Redskins on Dec. 9.
"When you have a great team, all things are possible," Rice said. "I don't have to be the center of attention, but I know I'm a playmaker on this team. When it comes, I just have to make the play."
Ray Rice's improbable conversion keys Ravens' storybook season
Baltimore Sun | Feb 1