Coming into today, the Ravens' defense had blown three fourth quarter leads in their last four games, resulting in two heartbreaking losses.
A month ago, in New England, the Ravens let a 10-point lead slip away in the final 15 minutes, and fell to the Patriots in overtime.
Last week, Baltimore held a one-point lead over the Falcons with 65 seconds to go, but couldn't hold on, and the defense allowed a game-winning Atlanta touchdown.
Today, against a beat-up Panthers offense which ranks last in the NFL in total yardage and points per game, the Ravens were able to close the door and lock down a big road win.
But, it didn't happen without a bit of a scare.
Carolina quarterback Brian St. Pierre had thrown for just 51 yards through three quarters, but he connected with wide receiver David Gettis on an 88-yard touchdown pass early in the fourth quarter that cut the Ravens' lead to 20-13.
All of a sudden, the Ravens were just one score up on the 1-8 Panthers, who were playing with a quarterback that they added to their active roster less than a week earlier.
"[We] let them stay in the game, and in the NFL, you can't do that, especially when we've got a vision and a goal to do things for the Baltimore Ravens." safety Ed Reed told reporters after the game. "You've got to come out and play better."
Luckily, the Ravens were able to immediately stop the bleeding and put an end to the drama.
A Billy Cundiff field goal on their next possession put them up by 10, and then two defensive touchdowns off pick-sixes put the game away.
Carolina was only able to pick up two first downs on their final five possessions after the 88-yard touchdown reception by Gettis, and only picked up 47 total yards on those five drives.
"To play like this in the fourth quarter and close the game out was huge," Reed said. "Coming off the [loss] against Atlanta, we wanted to build on this and play better and close out games. But, we've got to do it as a team from start to finish if we want to be competing late-December, late-January."
It certainly wasn't a pretty defensive effort, given that the Ravens allowed third-string running back Mike Goodson to rush for 120 yards on 22 carries, and they were facing a quarterback who was out of work and spending his days as a stay-at-home dad two weeks ago.
The Panthers are horrific offensively. Let's not overlook that fact.
But, considering the late-game defensive failures in recent weeks, the Ravens have to be pleased with the way they closed this one out in the fourth quarter and earned a win on the road.