The Ravens' injury-ravaged secondary knew it was going to need some plays against the Los Angeles Rams' potent offense and safety Chuck Clark delivered in the first half with back-to-back interceptions.
Clark got the scoring started with a 17-yard pick-six in the first quarter, coming underneath a Matthew Stafford pass to go untouched to the end zone.
It's the first interception returned for a touchdown of Clark's career and his first interception in 364 days. He had one in the regular-season finale in Cincinnati last year.
Clark's film study is second to none and it paid off in a big way on his pick-six. Clark came off his man and jumped under a pass intended for tight end Tyler Higbee.
"It was just something that I'd seen on film, individually, this week," Clark said. "I kind of have that same play in practice, and I had a collision with somebody. But I'd just seen it again in the game, and [I said,] 'I've got to make this one.'"
On the ensuing possession, Stafford took a deep shot to Odell Beckham Jr., but Clark was playing deep center field and made the leaping pick near the goal line.
The Ravens defense entered the game with just six interceptions this season, tied for the second-fewest in the NFL. However, Stafford threw three interceptions in his last outing and his 13 picks entering the game were tied for the sixth-most in the league.
Baltimore got a third turnover in the second half when Tyus Bowser sacked Stafford and popped the ball out. Justin Houston jumped on the fumble in Ravens territory.
Though it was a strong day for the defense overall, especially considering all the players missing (including cornerbacks Marlon Humphrey, Marcus Peters and Anthony Averett), it ended with frustration.
Trailing by five points with four minutes, 30 seconds left, the Ravens defense couldn't get one more stop to win the game. Stafford hit three chunk plays to move the Rams into scoring range, but a good tackle by Jimmy Smith forced a fourth-and-5 at Baltimore's 12-yard line with about a minute left.
Stafford found Odell Beckham Jr. for a high throw and catch with Tavon Young draped all over him to barely move the sticks. Then Stafford hit Beckham again for the game-winning 7-yard touchdown on the next play.
"I thought we had him covered," Head Coach John Harbaugh said. "It was a tight combination coverage there, a man combination coverage that we used. Obviously, it was simply a great play by them. The throw was right where it needed to be. [Beckham] made a great catch right there at the sticks. I don't really fault the coverage; it was a nice play by them."