In this difficult 2015 season, the Ravens can't even fully enjoy a win.
That's because Sunday's 16-13 win over the visiting St. Louis Rams came at a heavy price as quarterback Joe Flacco and running back Justin Forsett were lost to season-ending injuries.
Flacco suffered a torn ACL and likely MCL on the team's final, game-winning drive. He gritted through three plays to finish the game. Forsett broke his arm early in the first quarter.
The Ravens endured just about all of their season's troubles over the course of one game and still found a way to win, keeping them out of the NFL's cellar at 3-7.
After missing twice from 51 yards, including once with a chance to potentially win the game in the final minutes, kicker Justin Tucker delivered on his second try with a game-winning 47-yard boot.
Baltimore's defense had crumbled late in games so many times this season, but it made play after play Sunday afternoon. Starved for turnovers and with only five entering the game, the Ravens defense recovered a franchise-record-tying four fumbles.
Outside linebacker Courtney Upshaw made the play of the game, crushing Rams quarterback Case Keenum from behind in the final minute to give Tucker another chance.
For a while, it looked quite dim for the Ravens. But the Rams were just as mistake-laden and inconsistent on offense.
Behind Keenum, the Rams offense struggled mightily. Keenum was 12-of-26 for 136 yards and one touchdown. But Baltimore fought back against the Rams' miscues with two interceptions of their own and a slew of penalties.
Although Flacco was often under pressure behind an offensive line playing with three reserves (left tackle Eugene Monroe left with a shoulder injury,* *while Jeremy Zuttah is on injured reserve and Kelechi Osemele was inactive with a knee injury), he wasn't hit on his two interceptions. They were simply the result of misfires that floated over his receivers' heads and into the arms of the Rams.
Baltimore committed 10 penalties for 137 yards. That doesn't include penalties that weren't accepted. On two separate occasions, the Ravens had three penalties on one play (only one is enforced).
But, in the end, rookie running back Javorius Allen stepped up in place of Forsett with more than 100 total yards and the defense bore down to pull out a victory – Baltimore's second in its last three games.
Turning Point Of The Game
Upshaw's forced fumble came on his first sack since 2013. It gave the Ravens possession on the 41-yard line and nearly in field-goal range. Allen churned out 12 rushing yards to put Baltimore in position to win.
- After getting off to a hot start, running back Justin Forsett suffered a broken right arm late in the first quarter. He was slammed hard to the turf by reigning NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year Aaron Donald. That meant rookie Javorius Allen and Raheem Mostert became the Ravens' only two running backs. Tucker missed a 51-yard field goal at the end of the drive.
- On the Rams' first play of the next drive, quarterback Case Keenum stepped up in the pocket and launched a deep pass for tight end Jared Cook. Smith interfered with Cook 49 yards down the field. Head Coach John Harbaugh challenged the play, arguing that Keenum had released the ball beyond the line of scrimmage, but the ruling was not changed. Rookie running back Todd Gurley scored on a 1-yard touchdown on the next play to grab a 7-0 lead.
- Flacco threw over the head of 6-foot-6 tight end Crockett Gillmore and was intercepted by free safety Rodney McLeod. Flacco struggled with his accuracy in the first half.
- Local Baltimore product Tavon Austin muffed a punt and the Ravens recovered at the Rams' 31-yard line. After having trouble getting any offensive momentum, it was the big break Baltimore needed. The Ravens got a field goal out of it to make the score, 7-3, at halftime.
- Keenum fumbled a snap and handoff, giving Baltimore's sluggish offense possession in Rams' territory. However, Flacco floated another pass that, this time, was intercepted by cornerback Trumaine Johnson.
- St. Louis turned Flacco's second interception into a touchdown. Keenum found tight end Lance Kendricks wide open on a pass across the field and he leapt into the end zone for a 30-yard score, breaking the game open midway through the third quarter at 13-3.
- Defensive tackle Brandon Williams had a monster game with two tackles for loss on third-and-short. He put an exclamation point on his day by causing a fumble in the fourth quarter when he clubbed Gurley's arms in the backfield.
- The Ravens converted the turnover into a touchdown. After Allen caught a pass for 15 yards and ran for 5 more, Flacco found receiver Kamar Aiken for a 3-yard touchdown. It was the Ravens' first touchdown of the game.
- Baltimore's offense heated up in the fourth quarter. Flacco found Gillmore wide open for a 46-yard gain, setting up a 20-yard field goal by Tucker to tie the game with about five minutes remaining.
- The Rams were in position to steal another game in the final minutes from Baltimore, but kicker Greg Zuerlein pushed a 52-yard field goal wide right with one minute, 46 seconds remaining.
- Tucker had his first chance at potentially winning the game with a 51-yard attempt with 1:18 left. He also sliced it wide right. The Ravens defense got the ball back, however, and Tucker converted the 47-yard game-winner.
DT Brandon Williams
Williams caused the Rams' third fumble, which shifted the game's momentum in the third quarter. He clubbed Gurley's arms, springing the ball loose. Williams also made two stops in the backfield on third-and-short situations.
On The Horizon
The Ravens will hit the road to face the Cleveland Browns on Monday Night Football. It will be their first game without Flacco at the helm since he came to Baltimore as a rookie in 2008.
Check out the best photos from M&T Bank Stadium as the Ravens host the Rams!