Ravens Never Stop Believing In Close Games


Baltimore's blood pressure is still likely high, but at least it's been worth it recently.

The Ravens were on the wrong end of close games earlier this year. Of their six losses, four were by three points or less.

Now they're winning them – and thanks to different units.

The Ravens have played nine three-point games this season, losing four of six through Week 10. Now, they've won three straight.

"We've had a lot of practice at it with close games," Head Coach John Harbaugh said. "That's what the National Football League is."

On Thanksgiving against Pittsburgh, the defense made a late goal-line stand to preserve a 22-20 victory. At home against Minnesota, the offense drove the length of the field in the final minutes to score a touchdown with four seconds left for a crazy 29-26 win.

On Monday Night Football in Detroit, Justin Tucker's 61-yard field goal sent the Ravens home smiling once again with an 18-16 victory.

"Man, I tell you what, we are a team that keeps believing. We never quit," inside linebacker Daryl Smith said. "I don't really have any words for it. We made more plays tonight with a miraculous finish again."

Smith had a big interception in the game, but was also the man in coverage when Lions tight end Joseph Fauria made a 14-yard touchdown catch with just two minutes, 17 seconds left to give Detroit a 16-15 lead.

But the Ravens kept battling. First they stopped the Lions from getting a two-point conversion, which meant that Tucker's eventual 61-yard kick won the game instead of tying it.

Then it was quarterback Joe Flacco and the offense's turn to come up with yet another big drive.

Dating back to last year, the Ravens have played in 17 three-point games. Flacco has four game-winning drives in the fourth quarter or overtime this year.

"We've been there so many times over the past few years," wide receiver Torrey Smith said. "If you're in the huddle, everyone's just calmed, relaxed, like, 'Alright, let's go do it.' No one's panicking. We've been there before and we know how to handle it."

Flacco has been clutch throughout the year, and he made one of his best tosses of the year – an absolute laser – to wide receiver Jacoby Jones for a critical 27-yard gain on third-and-10. That essentially put the Ravens in field-goal position for Tucker.

"We don't panic. We don't let the situation get too big," Flacco said. "I wish it wasn't like that and we didn't have to continue to play these types of games. But we've played a lot of them."

Flacco wasn't quite jubilant during his post-game press conference because he felt the offense made the game closer than it needed to be. The Ravens went 0-for-3 in the red zone on Monday night and also stalled on a few more occasions just outside the 20.

"You probably go home feeling better about the ones where you win by a lot and you just did everything really, really well and you're hitting on all cylinders," Flacco said. "It's just two different types of feelings, but they're both good."

Flacco said the Lions were playing a lot of zone coverage in the red zone, but that it just boils down to them doing a better job in that area than the Ravens. Detroit entered the game ranked third in the NFL in red-zone defense whereas it's been a struggle for Baltimore offensively throughout the season.

But the Ravens are making plays in the most critical situations. And they'll take wins however they come.

"Every play was a fight and it was just good that we finished at the end," guard Marshal Yanda said. "Obviously, we want to score some more touchdowns than six field goals, but we can't be picky at this point down the road."

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content