Ravens Fall Short Against the Rams For Fifth Straight Loss
The Ravens had plenty of opportunities on Sunday to upset the AFC west leading Los Angeles Rams. But as has been the story during this five game losing streak, missed chances and the failure to finish drives and finish games has put the Ravens in a position now where they could miss the playoffs, after the Rams handed the Ravens another 20-19 loss.
Tyler Huntley got the start for the Ravens once again in place of an injured Lamar Jackson. Huntley and the Ravens got the game started and looked to start fast for the second straight week. Huntley and the Ravens moved down the field with ease on their opening possession. But the drive would stall in Rams territory. A three yard loss on third down pushed the ball back to the Rams 40 yard line. Instead of trying for a long field goal the Ravens opted to pin the Rams deep and punt the ball away, as Sam Koch was able to get the ball down to the Rams four yard line.
Matthew Stafford and the high flying Rams offense took the field for their first possession backed up on their own goal line. Stafford didn’t panic as he moved the Rams down the field. Stafford would find his tight end Higbee for 19-yards down to the Ravens 34 yard line. But after a holding penalty on the next play the Rams drive could go no further, as they would be forced to try a Matt Gay 56-yard field goal. Gay would miss the kick wide right to keep the score locked at zero.
A three and out by the Ravens on their next drive gave the ball back to the Rams on their own eight yard line. Stafford and the Rams looked to pick up where they left off on their last drive, but the momentum would swing on second down. Stafford dropped back to pass looking for his tight end Higbee. Ravens safety Chuck Clark jumped the route intercepting the ball and running it back 17-yards for the Ravens first score.
Stafford and the Rams offense returned to the field looking to make up for the previous drives turnover. On third down Stafford found the NFL’s leading receiver Cooper Kupp for 22-yards to the Ravens 43 yard line. After two Rams runs the Rams faced a third down once again. Stafford dropped back looking down field for receiver Odell Beckham. Beckham was surrounded by three Ravens defenders, Chuck Clark jumped in front of Beckham coming down with his second interception in as many drives.
The Ravens looked to take a strangle hold on the game as they moved down the field taking up a lot of time. The 15-play, 91-yard drive that was capped off by a Justin Tucker 22-yard field goal would take up a total of nine minutes of game time.
The Rams would punt on their next possession, giving Tyler Huntley and the Ravens a chance to extend their lead before halftime.
The Ravens began their drive with just under two minutes to go in the half. The Ravens began the drive with two straight runs by Devonta Freeman. On the third play of the drive Huntley looked deep to Marquise Brown, but a miscommunication between Huntley and Brown led to an easy interception for Rams safety Jordan Fuller. Fuller returned the interception 34-yards down to the Ravens 29 yard line.
The Rams offense that averages nearly 400 yards per game, had been dominated thus far through two quarters. But with their best starting field position, Stafford and the Rams would take advantage of the Ravens first mistake as Stafford found Cooper Kupp for an 18-yard touchdown. The quick three play drive would help the Rams cut the Ravens lead 10-7.
Even after the interception on the last drive, the Ravens weren’t content with kneeling on the ball to take their lead into the half. Huntley quickly moved the Ravens down the field finding Rashad Bateman for 14-yards, then just two plays later Huntley hit Andrews good for 15-yards down to the Rams 29 yard line. An 11-yard Huntley run would get the Ravens to the Rams 28 yard line setting up a Tucker 46-yard field goal with just seven second remaining. Tucker was good giving the Ravens 13-7 lead into the half.
The Rams began the second half with the ball as they looked to put a poor first half behind them. On third down Stafford found receiver Van Jefferson for 35-yards into Ravens territory. Three straight runs by Sony Michel got the ball inside the Ravens 20 yard line. On first down Stafford looked to pass but was wrapped up by Tyus Bowser. As Bowser twisted Stafford to the ground Stafford lost control of the ball, sending the ball fell to the turf. Ravens outside linebacker Justin Houston jumping on the ball, giving the Ravens their third forced turnover of the game.
The Ravens looked to extend their lead after the fumble taking over on their own 20 yard line. Huntley and the Ravens offense would go on another long drive this time taking up over six minutes of game time. The 14-play drive would be finished off with a successful 46-yard field goal to extend the Ravens lead 16-7, late in the third quarter.
A three and out by the Rams followed a the Ravens own three and out, would give the Rams the ball back with just 57 second remaining in the third quarter. With possession for the Rams beginning to run out, this drive was important for the Rams to remain in the game. Sony Michel was the focal point for the Rams on this drive as he touched the ball on four of the Rams seven offensive plays. Michel’s final touch on the drive would be the most important as he ran in untouched for the Rams one-yard score to cut the Ravens lead 16-14.
With the Rams staying in the game the Ravens offense could not afford to take their foot off the gas, as they began their next offensive possession. On the first play of the drive Freeman broke off a long 32-yard run to get the Ravens quickly into Rams territory. After an 11-yard completion to Brown the Ravens would run the ball seven straight times with Latavius Murray. On third down from the Rams four yard line, a failure to call a timeout before the play clock expired would give the Ravens a delay of game penalty pushing them back to the Rams nine yard line. Huntley would be sacked on third down leading to yet another Justin Tucker field goal attempt. Tucker’s kick was good from 34-yards to give the Ravens a 19-14 lead with just over four and a half minutes remaining.
A missed chance for the Ravens to put the game away with a touchdown, now opened the door for the Rams to take their first lead of the game. After throw two interceptions earlier in the game, Stafford didn’t let that effect him as he used his arm to move the Rams down the field. A 24-yard reception by Kupp on on the second play of the drive got the Rams down to the Ravens 36 yard line. But the hero of the drive would be Odell Beckham. Beckham who was quite for most of Sunday would come up with the two biggest plays for the Rams. On fourth down Stafford found Beckham across the middle for a contested catch with a Ravens defender on his back to keep the Rams drive alive. After a timeout, Stafford looked Beckham’s way again this time for a seven-yard touchdown to give the Rams their first lead of the game with 57 seconds remaining. The Rams two-point conversion would be unsuccessful giving the Rams a 20-19 lead.
With 57 seconds reaming, one timeout, and the greatest kicker of all time on the sideline. The Ravens still had a great chance to come away with a much needed win. A four-yard pass to Andrews, followed by a five-yard pass to Duvernay got the ball to the Ravens own 34 yard line. An incompletion on third down would lead to a Ravens fourth and one, but Huntley would find Andrews for four yards and a first down. After a Ravens timeout, Huntley looked to pass again but would be sacked by Rams defensive end Von Miller. The Ravens scrambled back to the line before Huntley spiked the ball with just three seconds left. A delay of game would set the Ravens back to their own 25 yard line, needing a miracle now to win. Huntley dropped back to pass throwing short to Bateman who lateraled it to Brown who was immediately hit by Rams defensive lineman Aaron Donald jarring the ball loose, ultimately being recovered by the Rams ending the game, and giving the Rams the come from behind win.
This is the Ravens first five game losing streak for John Harbaugh as head coach. The Ravens now enter week 18 at 8-8 with their playoff hopes on the line. The Ravens will need some help from other teams to ensure they don’t miss the playoffs for the first time since 2017.
The Ravens will face off against their arch rival the Pittsburgh Steelers in a true must win next Sunday. While the Steelers travel to Baltimore for their second game against the Ravens with their own playoff aspirations in what will likely be Ben Roethlisberger’s final game in a Steelers uniform.
Ravens tight end Mark Andrews broke Michael Jacksons 1996 Ravens single season receiving record.
Ravens kicker Justin Tucker became the first kicker in NFL history to have seven seasons of 30 or more made field goals
Ravens running backs Devonta Freeman and Latavius Murray combined for 107 rushing yards.
Tavon Young led all Ravens with 9 tackles.
The Ravens are one of six teams to hold Rams receiver Cooper Kupp to under 100 yards receiving.