It wasn't a beauty pageant, but the Ravens pulled out a must-have 20-12 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium.
"I think our guys have the ability to overcome adversity," Head Coach John Harbaugh said.
"And they have the ability to keep pounding and keep fighting and not let self-inflicted wounds overcome us. But we had too many that we had to overcome to play the kind of football that we want to play."
Baltimore (9-5) dropped key passes, committed one turnover in its own territory, missed two field goals and fell victim to two special teams trick plays.
The offense struggled for much of the game, as it notched just one touchdown and two field goals. The run game was particularly off-track as Justin Forsett ran 16 times for 48 yards (3 yards per carry), and didn't have a run longer than 6 yards.
Those factors allowed Jacksonville (2-12) to hang around until the final drive of the game, but Baltimore's defense was just too much for the Jaguars and rookie quarterback Blake Bortles.
The Ravens defense held Jacksonville out of the end zone entirely, despite another injury at cornerback (Asa Jackson, knee). Facing an offense leading the league in sacks allowed, Baltimore's pass rush notched eight sacks, including 2.5 by outside linebacker Terrell Suggs.
Turning Point Of The Game
After a sluggish first half, the Ravens turned the game around on their second drive of the second half. A 15-yard unnecessary roughness call on a hit to the head of tight end Owen Daniels started the drive. Marlon Brown rumbled for 22 yards, then Daniels caught a 29-yard pass off play-action and finished the drive on the next play with a 3-yard touchdown. Joe Flacco went 5-for-5 for 64 yards and a touchdown on the drive, giving the Ravens a lead they never relinquished.
Quote Of The Day
"It would have sucked if we lost. It would have been very unfortunate." -- Suggs
- Safety Darian Stewart came up the middle and blocked the Jaguars' punt, which was recovered by wide receiver Kamar Aiken, who returned it 11 yards for a touchdown. Just like that, the Ravens were out to a lead.
- Fullback Kyle Juszczyk fumbled as he tried to stretch for extra yardage, giving the Jaguars the ball in Ravens' territory. Josh Scobee kicked his second 53-yard field goal of the day, giving Jacksonville a 9-7 lead in the second quarter.
- The Jaguars recovered an onside kick in the second quarter after taking their first lead. But Bortles overthrew Marqise Lee in the end zone and Josh Scobee, who had hit two 53-yard field goals and one from 45 previously, missed wide right from 42. The Jags missed their chance to take a strong hold on the game.
- A drop by wide receiver Torrey Smith for what would have been a first down left Baltimore on the fringe of field-goal range near the end of the first half. Kicker Justin Tucker missed wide left on a 53-yard attempt, giving the Jags the ball near midfield. They moved into field-goal range and took a 12-10 lead into halftime.
- After Baltimore lost yet another cornerback to injury (Jackson), Rashaan Melvin stepped in and made his presence immediately felt. With Jacksonville in Ravens' territory following a successful fake punt, Melvin made two tackles (including one for a 5-yard loss), and had a pass breakup to force a punt.
- Following Tucker's second missed field goal of the game, Jacksonville had a chance to regain the lead and momentum. Terrell Suggs and the pass rush pushed the Jags back. C.J. Mosley sacked Bortles on first down and Suggs and Pernell McPhee shared a sack on third down.
- The Jaguars had the ball at the Ravens' 37-yard line with under four minutes left and still had a chance to win as they trailed by five points. Melvin ran stride-for-stride with a receiver up the left sideline as Jacksonville's fourth-down pass went incomplete out of bounds, turning the ball over on downs in Ravens' territory.
- With the Ravens hanging on to an eight-point lead and trying to run out the clock with just more than three minutes left, Offensive Coordinator Gary Kubiak called a quarterback keeper on third-and-5. Flacco took it around the edge for a 10-yard gain.
- Trailing by eight points, and thus one score away, safety Jeromy Miles intercepted Bortles' final heave on fourth down to seal the game with 27 seconds left. After losing a late lead at home against the Chargers two weeks ago, Baltimore's defense held on this time.
OLB Terrell Suggs
With the offense slowed and the secondary even further banged up, Baltimore's pass rush took over. Suggs was the ringleader with 2.5 sacks, upping his season total to 11. He could have had one more too, but Bortles slipped out of his grasp and Elvis Dumervil picked up the sack.
What This Means
It wasn't pretty, but Baltimore kept pace in the AFC playoff chase. The Ravens needed to beat the Jaguars, who now fall to 2-12, and they did. Baltimore still controls its playoff destiny.
Stat Of The Game
The Ravens pass rush carried the team, and it wasn't just Suggs. The defense had eight sacks in all, with Suggs, Dumervil, C.J. Mosley, Pernell McPhee and Timmy Jernigan getting in on the action.
On The Horizon
The Ravens will head to Houston for their final road game of the regular season, and it's a big one. The Texans are another team in the playoff hunt. Houston lost starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (broken leg) for the remainder of the season on Sunday, forcing rookie Tom Savage under center.
Check out the best photos from M&T Bank Stadium as the Ravens battle the Jaguars!