The Baltimore Ravens are at serious risk of missing the playoffs after a 20-19 loss to the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday. While they were admirable in defeat – and it was a close one – the now 8-8 Ravens aren’t taking positives from the loss.
Sunday’s win marked a five-game skid, which is the longest in head coach John Harbaugh’s tenure. All of them have been close, with three of them by just a single point and the other two by two points.
Of course, there are telling reasons for this slump. Baltimore has been hit by a slew of injuries. That did not stop them from fighting on Sunday; it did not prompt them to make excuses either. The losses have caused the coach and players no end of frustration, especially as they were on track for the playoffs at 8-3 before things went south.
Tight end Mark Andrews broke the team’s single-season receiving record against the Rums on Sunday but he was in no mood to celebrate.
“We don’t do this thing for moral victories,” he said after the game. “A loss is a loss, that stuff still just burns. It sucks. We’re trying to win. This is the Ravens, and that’s what we do. We win games, and we’re going to get back on track.”
Perhaps, the losses would have been easier to take had Baltimore not come close to winning on every occasion. They did not trail on Sunday until Matthew Stafford connected with Odell Beckham Jr. for a game-winning touchdown with 57 seconds left in the contest. The Ravens dominated the Rams for the majority of the game and forced three turnovers as they kept L.A’s offense subdued. However, they failed to put the game away by not scoring on three long drives that ate up a lot of time on the clock, only to end in field goals.
Andrews realized his team was in danger of losing after they went for a field goal to take a 19-14 lead in the fourth quarter, having possessed a second-and-goal from the two.
“That’s super frustrating,” he said. “I knew that was big.”
The Ravens were already facing a poor matchup, to begin with, as they were playing without cornerback Anthony Averett and top corners in Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters. They were always going to struggle against wide receiver Cooper Kupp, who leads the NFL in receiving yards, receptions and touchdown catches this season, while Beckham is one of the most talented receivers in the NFL.
Kupp logged six catches, 95 yards, and one TD on Sunday.
The cornerbacks they had on the field did a great job, however, with Tavon Young, Jimmy Smith, and Kevon Seymour holding their own against the Rams’ receivers. Young had nine tackles in what could have been one of the final games of his career. Smith, who made four tackles himself, pulled off an impressive play when he tackled Sony Michel for a four-yard loss to set up 4th-and-5th from Baltimore’s 12-yard line with 1:08 left on the clock. The Defense was just one play away from securing the win but Stafford found Beckham, who was able to make the catch, with Young all over him, and get a marginal first down.
Beckham got himself open for the winning TD on the next play and the clock ran out on the Ravens for their final possession.
Young doesn’t believe he could have defended Beckham any better than he did on the first down.
“It was simply just a good pass [and a] good catch,” he noted. “There’s nothing to talk about. I had good coverage.”
Despite being third in the AFC North and in danger of missing the playoffs, the Ravens are 8/11 to win the division at the end of it all, and folks who participate in Maryland online gambling would probably take bets on their chances.
Of course, they would do well to note that the Ravens have gone three straight games without quarterback Lamar Jackson, who has been a huge part of their success this season. They aren’t making excuses, though.
“Man, I don’t think I’ve been a part of a season with this many close games ever in my life,” Young declared. “All those overtime games, the last-drive games – it’s been crazy. But like I said, we’re going to fight regardless, no matter the outcome. You’re always going to see us flying around.”
They aren’t prepared to give up either.
“We have our division rival coming into our house, so it’s going to be a big game,” Andrews added. “This team doesn’t quit. We’re not going to stop. It’s all hands on deck; we’re going to be ready to go.”