On Baltimore's third drive of the day, Tennessee defensive tackle Jason Jones plowed into Flacco late, and the 15-yard penalty moved the Ravens into Titans territory. Three plays later, on third-and-13 from the Tennessee 48, Flacco nimbly stepped out of a scrum just as Mason sped past cornerback Nick Harper on the right side. Tight end Todd Heap sold his seam route downfield, forcing strong safety Chris Hope to stay with him a split-second longer—and keeping Hope from giving Harper the over-the-top help he desperately needed. The ball was slightly underthrown, but Mason waited and caught it, Hope coming too late to prevent the tying touchdown.
"I may be 34," said Mason, a 12-year veteran who turns 35 on Saturday, "but I can still get behind you."
In Mason's first six seasons he was mostly a possession receiver on a run-first Tennessee team, never reaching 80 receptions. In the six seasons since—two with the Titans, four with the Ravens—he has had five 80-reception seasons and quietly risen up the alltime charts, with 790 catches for 10,061 yards to push him into the top 30 in both categories. Never has he had to play in this much pain, though, and as the Ravens' second win of the postseason sunk in on Saturday night, even he seemed a little amazed at how he's held up. "Superman's still here," he said.
On an imperfect team and with an imperfect left shoulder, Mason was exaggerating only slightly.