At the end of the Ravens’ most impressive loss of the season, tight end Mark Andrews looked at the scoreboard inside M&T Bank Stadium on Sunday night, seeing a score made painful not only by the margin – a point, again – but it Also what it signifies: A near-miraculous win, a slip to the AFC North, another decisive 2-point conversion fail.
The Ravens, short of injuries and the coronavirus, were defeated by the NFC-leading Green Bay Packers, 31-30. Another game lived on a knife edge, another defeat that became a slide of three games. A week after losing 24-22 to the Cleveland Browns, the Ravens (8-6) could not fix the failure that had ruined them two weeks earlier, in a 20–19 loss to the Steelers.
That night in Pittsburgh, Andrews was recalled by quarterback Lamar Jackson for leading a two-point-conversion effort. This night, it was backup quarterback Tyler Huntley, starting for an ailing Jackson (ankle), who could not connect with Andrews as he rolled to his right, the Ravens again in the last minute of an unexpected one. Was looking for a narrow edge. Play.
The Ravens’ return from a 14-point fourth-quarter deficit set up a potentially season-defining rematch next Sunday in Cincinnati. After hanging on to defeat the Denver Broncos, the Bengals (8-6) now lead the AFC North based on their Week 7 win in Baltimore. A Ravens defeat at Paul Brown Stadium could put a division title out of reach and put them behind a wild-card picture.
Coach John Harbaugh said, “I thought our guys played very hard and, for the most part, played very well.” “We came up a little bit a few places here and there. Now we’re gearing up for Cincinnati. So we have the opportunity to win the division in the next three games, and that’s what we’re going to do what we got into doing We have full confidence in our ability to do so.”
Few could have predicted Sunday’s game on Huntley’s right arm, missing a wide receiver Sammy Watkins (reserve/COVID-19 list), left guard Ben Powers (leg injury) and right tackle Tyre Phillips, who had left. Second trimester with knee injury. Beginning in his second career, Huntley finished 28-for-40 for 215 yards and two touchdowns and found Andrews 10 times for 136 yards and two touchdowns. He was also the Ravens’ leading rusher, with two touchdowns on 73 yards and 13 carries, including an 8-yard scramble with 42 seconds, which drew the Ravens to within 31-30.
Huntley’s assured final drive wasn’t enough to defeat the NFC North champion Packers (11-3) and quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who finished 23-for-31 for 268 yards and three touchdowns. In the Ravens’ unsuccessful 2-point-conversion attempt, Huntley passed his pass to Andrews, which was deflected by streaking safety Darnell Savage (Maryland). He could not see wide receiver Marquis “Hollywood” Brown (10 catches for 43 yards) open in the middle of the field at the crossing pattern.
After a failed onside kick, the Ravens were left to lick their wounds, prepare for Cincinnati, and steel themselves for another discourse on analytics.
“We were just trying to win there,” Harbaugh said. “In overtime … I think our chances of winning were a little higher than in overtime, maybe, if you count it. I liked it. I thought our game was good. Again, they really did I made a good play. I have to give that security a lot of credit for getting out there and groping that ball.”
“Two drives ago, Coach Harbaugh was like, ‘We’re going to score two touchdowns, and we have good faith that we’re going to get to that 2-point conversion,'” Huntley said. “And that last touchdown, we scored, so it didn’t go according to plan.”
How short-handed was Harbaugh’s team? The Ravens didn’t have Jackson, and yet his defense would have been their most compromised unit. Pro Bowl-level cornerbacks Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters had already lost for the season. So were starting defensive end Derek Wolfe and safety DeShon Elliott.
In the three days before kickoff, the defense’s losses increased as if it had been reduced to its own personal “squid game”. Pro Bowl defensive lineman Kallis Campbell was sidelined by a thigh injury he suffered the week before. Cornerbacks Jimmy Smith and Chris Westery and starting safety Chuck Clark were added to the reserve/COVID-19 list. Cornerback Tavan Young was ruled out with an injury at the start of the third quarter.
This left the Ravens with just a corner with a grab bag of recent early experience, Anthony Everett, and special teams contributors practicing squad call-ups behind him. Kevon Seymour played just 25 defensive snaps throughout the season. Robert Jackson only saw special teams in his two matches with the Ravens. Mazie Wilkins hasn’t played at all since joining his practice squad in early October.
In terms of security, the names were more familiar and more proven, but not significantly so. Geno Stone, who rarely appeared on defense in the first half of the season, wore the green bindi as the defense’s on-field signal-collar. Special team leader Anthony Levine Sr., who had not played a defensive snap throughout the season, started the game. Tony Jefferson, who had only joined the team six days earlier as a practice squad member, found meaningful photos.
Slowly but surely, the destroyed depths of the Ravens revealed themselves. On Rodgers’ first touchdown pass, he picked up Jackson, who had once started in his youth career. In Rodgers’ second, he went past linebacker Josh Bynes, who stumbled after running into a wide receiver pick he hadn’t seen. On Rodgers’ third score, he again went behind Jackson.
“It’s always hard when you lose people, and it’s out [of] Blue, but we had some guys today,” Everett said. “We made plays, and we fought to the end. all you can really ask is [for] Just out of this group but we went through it last year, and we fought and won a few games like last year, and we lost some last year. So we just have to take what comes with it. ,
For half, the Ravens defied the odds and kept the momentum, entering halftime tied at 14. But in a matchup where they had to make every lever, move and advantage imaginable, the Ravens lost momentum significantly with the margin of the game. At the start of the third quarter, on the Ravens and -10 in the field, Seymour was called for a pass interference after lightly contacting wide receiver Alan Lazard.
Instead of watching kicker Mason Crosby trot on the field, the Ravens watched as Rodgers found Aaron Jones running back in the next game for a 9-yard score and a 21–14 lead. The hooting of fans only intensified.
Suffering their first deficit, the Ravens advanced to Green Bay’s 15, where they faced fourth and -1. But the rookie left guard Ben Cleveland, starting his first career game in place of the injured Powers, quickly flipped. The Ravens called their offense back and leaned on kicker Justin Tucker for a 38-yard field goal, which he crafted to reduce the Packers’ lead to 21-17.
His hopes of further scores soon faded. Five minutes later at the end of an 11-play 88-yard drive, Rodgers found wide receiver Marquez Valdés-Scantling (team-high 98 yards) in the middle for a regularly-appearing 11-yard touchdown. After the Ravens were four-out on their next drive, holding on to their 29, the Packers took a 31–17 lead on a 29-yard field goal by kicker Mason Crosby.
“That’s why he’s a Hall of Famer,” Everett said of playing Rodgers. “He can put the ball where you can’t reach, but [only] The recipient [can], really.”
The game began with the Ravens taking on the momentum that appears to be from the events of the week. On the game’s opening campaign, Huntley marched the Ravens to Green Bay’s 3-yard line, helped by Andrews’ 43-yard catch-and-run. But the boldness of fourth-place coordinator Greg Roman was not rewarded, with Huntley taking a sack at the end of the seven-plus-minute possession.
There was no speed bump in his next two drives. Huntley opened the Ravens’ scoring by scrambling to his right and finding Andrews for a diving 8-yard score past the end zone. On his next red-zone visit, Huntley again found Andrews, who had leapt over Savage in the end zone’s corner for a 9-yard touchdown.
However, that was all the Ravens could do to stop Rodgers. After going three-and-out on their first drive, Green Bay suffered third downs only twice in their next two drives, both ending with touchdowns. Running back, AJ Dillon punched it from 2 yards for the Packers’ first score, and on his next drive, Rodgers easily found wide receiver Davante Adams, who went around Jackson, 3 yards on goal, and 3 yards on goal. were out.
When the Ravens desperately needed a stop a few hours later, they were forced to make a three-and-out on the Packers’ final possession. But when Huntley scored and Andrews tied for a third consecutive loss by four points, they were bound for an even bigger game.
“Obviously we’re going to win at the end, and we came up short, but we always fight to the end, and we do that every week,” said Latvius Murray. “All we can do is get ready for the next one.”
Sunday, 1 p.m.
TV: Ch. 13, 9 radio: 97.9 FM, 1090 AM
Line: 2 1/2