Ravens Defense Laments Blown Leads in Vegas

Las Vegas Raiders tight end Darren Waller (83) dives into the end zone for a touchdown against the Baltimore Ravens during the second half of an NFL football game, Monday, Sept. 13, 2021, in Las Vegas.

As Derek Carr's 31-yard game-winning touchdown pass floated to wide receiver Zay Jones, Marlon Humphrey throttled down, knowing the Raiders had just delivered the final dagger – for real this time.

A Ravens defense that was staked to a 14-0 lead early and surrendered just 10 points through the first three quarters was hit for 17 points in the fourth quarter, a game-tying field goal in the final 37 seconds of regulation, then the game-winning touchdown in overtime.

Baltimore's unit mustered a wild overtime interception as a last gasp to give its offense one more chance but put back on the field following Lamar Jackson's second fumble, the defense had no counterpunches left.

"We know we have a lot of heart, but we have to find a way to win ballgames like this," defensive end Calais Campbell said.

The Ravens defense kept Vegas off-balance early on, doing a solid job against tight end Darren Waller despite Carr continuing to pump the ball his way. But as the game wore on, the Raiders built more and more momentum and Baltimore's defense didn't deliver a couple key stops.

The Ravens held a three-point lead with just 37 seconds left in regulation following Justin Tucker's 47-yard field goal. The Raiders had no timeouts left. Yet after two long completions, they were in field-goal range and suddenly in overtime.

"We just didn't close the game out when we had the opportunity to do it – three or four times," Head Coach John Harbaugh said after complimenting his team's effort. "That's what you need to do. When you have an opportunity to win, you've got to go win it."

The Raiders piled up 491 yards of total offense and Carr threw for 435 yards and two touchdowns. With the help of an offensive line that did well picking up blitzes, Carr beat Ravens pressures in key situations.

The Ravens knew the Raiders would lean heavily on Waller, but probably wouldn't have guessed this much. The former Raven had a whopping 19 targets and hauled in 10 for 105 yards and a score – a 10-yard goal line extension after shaking off a couple tackles near the end zone.

Baltimore's defense was operating without Pro Bowl cornerback Marcus Peters, who went down with a season-ending knee injury in practice the week leading up to the game. Multiple players stepped up in his absence as Anthony Averett got the start and played well, and Chris Westry and rookie Brandon Stephens saw meaningful defensive snaps.

While Waller was making some catches, the Ravens defense was holding the entire operation in check in the first half. But once the Raiders got rolling, they were hard to stop late in the game.

"They were just running their normal stuff. We just didn't execute on our part," linebacker Patrick Queen said. "It falls on us. We've just got to be better."

"I wouldn't say anything really changed," Averett said. "They made a couple more plays and got the momentum. Football is a game of momentum."

Averett came up with his first career interception after Carr's goal-line pass bounced off DeShon Elliott's helmet and Averett corralled it in the end zone in overtime. It seemed maybe, after losing the lead late in regulation, that Baltimore could pull of a shocker. But then, when the Ravens blitzed Carr hard on the following drive, he just faded back and floated the pass for Jones to run under for the win.

The Raiders scored two touchdowns off Jackson's fumbles. Queen said he knows his quarterback will be tough on himself, but the defense was looking in the mirror after Monday night's falter. After all, the Ravens jumped out to a 14-point lead.

"It's our job to make the stop and get the ball back to our offense again," Queen said. "It falls on us again. We had an opportunity to stop them and we didn't stop them."

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