Ravens Defense Capitalizing With Turnovers After Last Year's Drought


The Ravens defense had six interceptions last season. It has five through three games this year.

Perhaps the most dramatic change from last year – outside of the flipped record through three weeks – is the defense's knack for getting turnovers, especially in clutch moments.

Baltimore came up with three interceptions Sunday in Jacksonville, catapulting them to a 19-17 win in a wild finish.

The Ravens got two interceptions in the fourth quarter. One came when rookie cornerback Tavon Young hauled in a pass that defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan tipped at the line of scrimmage. The second came after safety Lardarius Webb tipped a desperation deep pass on the Jags' final drive and linebacker Zachary Orr came down with the ball to seal the Ravens' victory.

Baltimore's prettiest interception came when linebacker C.J. Mosley hauled in a Blake Bortles deep pass down the seam with one hand. It's Mosley's second interception in two games, as he hauled in a goal-line interception in Cleveland to preserve a win in Week 2.

So what gives? Why are the Ravens getting more turnovers this year?

"Really what it is, we're doing our job," Mosley said. "We're getting in the right position, doing the right drops, and everybody is making the right reads. When you run to the ball, those kinds of plays happen."

In two of the Ravens' three interceptions Sunday in Jacksonville, it was a tipped ball and players rallying around it that made the play. A big priority this offseason was to get faster on defense, and it has paid off.

Mosley and Orr's interceptions were by inside linebackers deep down the field. Safety Eric Weddle, whose interception in Cleveland put the Ravens in position for a key field goal before halftime in their 20-point comeback, sprinted to the sideline to haul in an overthrow.

"You just work on it," Orr said. "You find the playmakers in practice, and half of it is just running to the football. We have a great group of guys that are just running to the football, and that's going to cause you to get sacks, force fumbles, get interceptions and all of that."

Last year, the Ravens defense struggled to get off the field late in games. In the first three weeks last year, the Oakland Raiders and Cincinnati Bengals both put together long drives and big plays in the final minutes to come away with wins.

In each of the Ravens' three victories so far this season, Baltimore's defense has stopped the opponent on its final drive. Twice it came via interceptions.

Trailing by six points, the Bills were held to a three-and-out on their final drive. The Browns drove down the field but Mosley picked off Josh McCown on the goal line. Then Orr hauled in the ill-advised throw from Bortles.

"As a defense, whenever we're the last people on the field, we want to make plays," Orr said. "We emphasize throughout the whole game, throughout the whole season, that we need to make more plays. Coach Harbaugh said that very clearly – we're looking for playmakers – and that's what we're trying to do."

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