In a key moment Saturday night, Tyler Huntley showed his ability to make something happen.
Huntley scored the game-winning touchdown on a 7-yard run, lifting Baltimore to its 18th consecutive preseason win, 17-14, over the New Orleans Saints. After Huntley darted into the end zone with just over 6 ½ minutes left to play, Baltimore's bench went wild. Leading the cheers was Lamar Jackson, who can relate to a quarterback using his legs to create a game-changing moment.
Head Coach John Harbaugh was impressed with Huntley's poise during the 12-play, 79-yard game-winning drive.
"Tyler came in and just played tremendous football, made plays running, throwing, just did a great job," Harbaugh said. "Won us the game."
The battle between Huntley and Trace McSorley to be the backup behind Jackson will continue, after McSorley played the entire first half Saturday, relieved by Huntley, who played the entire second half. Huntley completed 12 of 16 passes for 78 yards, with 43 yards and a touchdown on seven carries.
McSorley, who played despite dealing with back spasms, was 11 for 18 for 86 yards with an interception, and he also gained 25 yards on four carries.
Huntley says he's simply focusing on each play, and not thinking about the competition with McSorley.
"Not when you're out there," Huntley said. "I don't think about it – period. We're just playing football, and everything else is going to take care of itself."
Huntley's work on the game-winning drive was more impressive because he bounced back from a big mistake on the previous series. After leading Baltimore into the red zone, Huntley scrambled out of the pocket, looking for room to run along the sideline, but he didn't get down before taking a big hit from Saints safety Eric Burrell. The ball popped loose from Huntley's hands and the Saints recovered the fumble, killing a potential go-ahead drive.
"I've got to get down low a bit quicker," Huntley said.
But on the next drive, Huntley made up for it. As an undrafted rookie from Utah last year, Huntley didn't have a preseason in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so he values the live game action he's getting. He believes the experience is making him a better player.
"[I'm] just taking the reps one play at a time, just trying to [get us] better opportunities of scoring," Huntley said. "Playing the game of football, the more reps you get, the more you feel comfortable. I feel like all the training camp reps [and] this little half, it's just building on our camaraderie."
In addition to having a strong throwing arm, Huntley's ability to improvise is an attribute that's not possessed by all quarterbacks. The Ravens struggled to get going offensively for much of the first half, but Huntley's mobility got things moving in the second.
"However we're going to get the first down, that's how we're going to get it," Huntley said. "That's my focus. So, if it's me running, me throwing, me punting it,we're going to get a first down."
Huntley appreciated his teammates' reaction on the sideline after his touchdown run. Playing a preseason game in front of fans at M&T Bank Stadium was a welcome atmosphere after the grind of training camp practices. Meanwhile, the performance gave Huntley something to build on moving forward.
"Just joy," Huntley said. "You're playing the game you love, for people [who are] your teammates, your friends, for them to cheer you on and everything, that's a good feeling to have. I feel like that just explains how the Ravens work – all of us together, and we all go for each other."