(Image credit: Geoff Burke/USA Today Sports)
Written by: Connor Pelesh
There is something about the Ravens on Monday Night Football this season! Baltimore hosted the Indianapolis Colts for their second home game in primetime. This game had the makings of an unfortunate upset blowout for the Ravens when they trailed the Colts 22-3 late in the third quarter. Baltimore’s defense struggled all night and the offense couldn’t keep drives alive by converting on third down. Just as it looked like the Ravens were about to get back into the game, Lamar Jackson fumbled on the one-yard line putting the Ravens in what seemed to be an insurmountable hole. However, the Ravens found their groove offensively late in the third quarter and absolutely dominated in the fourth quarter. A crucial field goal block by Calais Campbell kept the Ravens within one possession with 4 minutes remaining. Jackson led the Ravens down the field, passing often to Mark Andrews and Hollywood Brown, and tied the game up. After converting a must-make 2-point conversion to tie the game, the Colts made one last offensive stand that ended with a missed field goal with regulation time expiring. When the Ravens won the coin toss, there was a strong belief among the Ravens and their fans that they would score a touchdown on the opening drive. Baltimore marched right down the field without facing a third down and won the game 31-25. The Ravens had a number of standout performances that were crucial in their comeback win.
The narrative of Lamar Jackson not being able to throw the ball is over. Jackson passed for a career-high 442 yards which was a Ravens franchise record. He threw for 4 touchdowns and had no interceptions along with 62 rushing yards. To lead this Ravens comeback, Jackson had to be perfect and he was. He accounted for 504 total yards and had an 86% completion percentage. Jackson has been passing more and more over the past three weeks and this performance topped them all. Not only was his passing and running game impressive, but his poise throughout the game was very impressive. Jackson was explaining after the game how he was planning the comeback in his head and thinking of all the things that needed to happen for the Ravens to win. He never lost hope or had his head down even when things looked bad. This mentality will take the Ravens a long way this season and always give them a chance to win no matter who the opponent is or the score of the game.
This was the game that Ravens fans were waiting for from Andrews. He finally was given opportunities one on one in the middle of the field and made the most of them. Lamar Jackson opened up the passing game in the second half and Andrews feasted, catching 11 passes for 147 yards and 2 touchdowns. Andrews now leads all tight ends in receiving yards and is 10th in receiving amongst all players in the league. The Ravens tight end plays a crucial role in run blocking even when he is not putting up large production numbers. Andrews, along with his 2 touchdowns, caught the game-tying 2-point conversion. He had a one-handed grab for 30 yards to start the Ravens comeback drive as well and just made all the necessary plays to win a game down 19 points. Andrews is the target Lamar Jackson looks for first whenever a crucial play needs to be made like on third downs. After signing a big extension in the offseason, Andrews is performing up to his high salary and is looking to cement himself as a household name player in the NFL.
The Ravens wide receiver has proven that the game vs Denver was a fluke. After dropping 3 touchdown passes and almost costing the Ravens the win vs the Lions, Brown was dialed in and focused for the Colts game. Brown had his best game of the season catching 9 passes for 125 yards and two touchdowns. Hollywood is 8th in receiving yards in the whole NFL and is on pace for over 1,250+ yards and around 15 touchdowns. What is impressive for both Andrews and Brown is that they became the first NFL players in history from the same school to record 100+ receiving yards and 2+ touchdowns in the same game. With Ravens first-round pick Rashod Bateman now expected to make his NFL debut this Sunday vs the Chargers, it will be interesting to see if Brown has even more opportunities to make plays for the Ravens. If Brown is given one on one coverage he can do lots of damage, as on display vs the Colts.
The Ravens defense really struggled to tackle in the game and it needs to be improved ASAP or the Ravens will be in shootouts each week. After having good performances the past two weeks, the loss of Marcus Peters is really starting to show unfortunately in the secondary. Another note is that the Ravens are having a hard time running the ball which is very uncharacteristic of them. No running backs have stepped up to fill the void of Dobbins and Edwards yet. The offensive line needs to improve in general to help these new running backs on the team find holes to run through, but currently, the Ravens are reliant on Lamar Jackson to carry the offense with both his arm and his legs.
The Ravens have another home game vs the LA Chargers this Sunday. The Chargers are also 4-1 and have a very good offense led by second-year quarterback Justin Herbert. The defense will be looking for a rebound game vs LA and improve on their tackling. The Ravens as a team have been in crazy games this season and this week looks like it has the potential to be another close game.