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Ravens Offense Comes Alive in Second Half

Ravens QB Lamar Jackson looks to make a pass
Ravens QB Lamar Jackson looks to make a pass

Sunday's second half was potentially a significant turning point for the Ravens' offense.

After a first half in which Baltimore was held to a paltry 55 yards and averaged just 2.2 yards per play, the Ravens found their mojo.

They sped up the pace, going with some no huddle and getting to the line of scrimmage faster. Lamar Jackson got hot, completing all 10 of his passes in the second half and scoring Baltimore's final touchdown on a 9-yard scamper. The offensive line found its rhythm in its first game with Orlando Brown Jr. starting at left tackle and Patrick Mekari starting at right guard.

The result was an impressive 24-10 victory over the Indianapolis Colts that moved the Ravens to 6-2 at the midway point of their season. And for the offense, which has struggled at times this season, it silenced some criticism. Jackson won for the first time as a starting quarterback when trailing at halftime.

"We always hear about like in the press that we never came back," Jackson said. "It's good. We don't want to be behind. But it's good, it shows what our team is made of."

The Ravens kept pounding away on the ground (38 carries, 110 yards) and turned the corner against one of the NFL's toughest teams to run against. And Jackson (19 for 23, 170 yards, 58 yards rushing) was unfazed by a frustrating first half and played his best football when it mattered most.

"Lamar is our guy," Head Coach John Harbaugh said. "We're with him all the way. We've got his back, believe in him, we love him.

"You're going to have critics in this league. You're going to have critics in life. He understands that. He's really good about that. All of our guys are."

The Ravens set an NFL record by scoring at least 20 points for the 31st consecutive game, surpassing the 2012-14 Denver Broncos who were quarterbacked by Peyton Manning. But that streak was in serious jeopardy in the first half.

The Ravens trailed 10-7 at intermission, and their only score came on defense when Chuck Clark recovered a fumble forced by Marcus Peters and returned it 65 yards for a touchdown.

It was only the second time that the Ravens were held without an offensive touchdown in the first half since Jackson became the starting quarterback in 2018. It also happened during the playoff loss to the Chargers following Jackson's rookie season.

But on Sunday, the Ravens responded with fury. Speeding up the tempo offensively seemed to spark Jackson and the entire offense, and Harbaugh credited the coaching staff for making adjustments that helped the Ravens attack the Colts.

"The offensive playcaller is probably the most scrutinized guy in the program," Harbaugh said. "I thought G-Ro (Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman) did a great job of finding a way to get us into great situations."

The Ravens set the tone for their second-half turnaround by driving 68 yards in eight plays. The scoring opportunity was wasted when Gus Edwards fumbled at the Colts' 3-yard line. But it was only a temporary setback, because that drive pointed the Ravens' offense in the right direction. Jackson said the up-tempo offense helped him find his groove.

"Yes it did," Jackson said. "It caught the defense off guard."

An interception by Marcus Peters set Baltimore up for its go-ahead drive, a 10-play march capped by Edwards' 1-yard run. Then with the Ravens ahead, 14-10, Baltimore took control with a 14-play drive capped by Jackson's 9-yard run into the end zone. A key play on that drive was a J.K. Dobbins run on fourth-and-3 that kept the drive going.

On Jackson's touchdown run, he faked a handoff to Edwards that had to be honored, which helped Jackson get to the edge. When he did, it was over.

Even when the Ravens struggle on offense, they have an option most teams don't have – a quarterback who can make special plays with his legs. It took the Ravens awhile to get rolling offensively against the Colts. But the Ravens hope this victory can be a springboard to having a more consistent offense during the second half of the season.

"It was a tough, tough football game," Harbaugh said. "It took a lot of courage and mental toughness to win that football game. I'm really proud of our players for finding a way to win."

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