The Ravens needed a late comeback to capitalize on the Steelers’ loss earlier Sunday, and got just what they needed in San Diego.
Baltimore scored 10 points in the last 4:19 of regulation to erase a 13-3 deficit. The Ravens then pulled off an improbable 16-13 win late in overtime, with the tying and winning scores coming in the form of two 38-yard field goals by Justin Tucker.
The rookie kicker split the uprights as time expired in regulation to tie the game and then won it with a little more than a minute to go in the extra session. That continued what has been a remarkable first season for Tucker, who made all three of his field goal tries in the contest to improve to 22-for-24 this season.
The Ravens’ comeback was a memorable one after more than 3 1/2 quarters of their typical road offense (translation: not much at all).
Two huge plays contributed to setting Tucker up for his tying and winning kicks.
The first play was Ray Rice’s miraculous 29-yard gain on fourth-and-29 late in regulation. He showed just why he’s considered one of the NFL’s premier playmakers, getting the exact amount of yardage needed on a short screen pass to give the Ravens another set of downs.
Flacco had a monster finish to the contest after going 8-for-16 for 59 yards in the first half. He ended the day having completed 30 of 51 attempts for 355 yards and a touchdown. It marks the fourth time he has passed for at least 340 yards this season.
Rice also had a fine performance, with most of his production coming late. He ran for 97 yards and added eight receptions for 67 yards.
Smith led the wideouts, recording season highs of seven catches and 144 receiving yards.
Considering the fact that Baltimore had just three points on the scoreboard with less than five minutes remaining, the team’s 16 points and 443 total yards is all the more impressive.
It was the second-most yards gained by the Ravens this season and most since Week 3 against the Patriots.
Not to be forgotten is Baltimore’s defensive performance, as the unit allowed a season-low 280 yards to the Chargers, including just 91 on the ground, while sacking Phillip Rivers six times - the last two coming from Arthur Jones.
Beginning with 3:04 to go in the second quarter, the Ravens held San Diego to just three points the rest of the way, allowing for the possibility of a comeback.
And the offense obliged, earning a narrow road victory to help the Ravens win their fourth in a row and eighth in nine games. As a result, they improved to 9-2 overall and 4-2 away from M&T Bank Stadium.
Couple that with the Steelers’ loss at Cleveland and Baltimore now holds a three-game lead in the AFC North over Pittsburgh and Cincinnati, which are both 6-5.
A win next week over the Steelers and a Bengals loss, and the division title belongs to Baltimore barring any tiebreakers should Cincinnati win out and the Ravens lose out.
This one very well could be wrapped up next week thanks to this afternoon’s stunning late-game awakening by the Ravens.