There was nothing pretty about that, but the crows made another chant of resilience like Rallyed back up quarterback Tyler Huntley to a 16-13 win in Chicago. Here are five things we learned on Sunday:
Tyler Huntley got off to a shaky start to show why his colleagues believed in him.
The moment we learned Lamar Jackson was too sick to playAny chance of an elegant display of offensive football has evaporated.
The Ravens, who also plays without the No. 1 wide receiver Marquise “Hollywood” Brown, had to beat an ugly opponent who specializes in ugly. Was Jackson’s backup man, Tyler “Snoop” Huntley, the guy who’s been hopping around in that trash heap?
The Ravens coaches did their best to lighten the burden on Huntley’s shoulders with a conservative game plan. They asked him to shoot only once, for 7 yards, halfway through the fourth quarter, hoping that Justin Tucker’s 46-yard hit would suffice.
But after Andy Dalton (he again?) hit back with an unlikely landing bomb in fourth, Huntley had to take center stage in the two-minute drills.
He was lucky when a pass that could have been intercepted instead resulted in a 21-yard entry penalty. Next, he played the decisive game, rolling to his right for third and 12th, into the teeth of a particular collision, and finding Sammy Watkins in the Chicago 3-yard line.
This was the kind of bold and balanced answer the crows expected Huntley where he won his pre-season job. He’s no Jackson, but as linebacker Tyus Bowser said after the game, he brings the same indefatigable spirit to the team.
Huntley made his first NFL start shakily, missing minor throws that seemed designed to help him find his rhythm.
Throwed behind fullback Patrick Rijkaard on a well-designed screen to finish third and eleventh in the Ravens’ first drive and was sacked on the next play. The next time the Ravens grabbed the ball, he fumbled out of bounds for third.
The Bears did their best to keep Huntley on loose legs, attacking much more than they normally would. But he calmed down in the second quarter, overcoming the Chicago rush with short passes that hit his receivers with a stride and over the numbers. His first-half numbers — 16 from 21 for 122 yards, 33 fast yards — were good for a first in the NFL.
The Bears took advantage of suspicious pass protection to draw Huntley down for most of the second half. The Ravens had no confrontation with the arrogant veteran Robert Quinn, who finished 3 of Chicago’s six sacks. Many newbies had been forever folded. Huntley did.
Jackson, his former high school opponent in South Florida and one of his raucous fans, was the first to congratulate Huntley in the locker room after the game.
“To come forward … I know everyone around our facility, this organization, knows how good it is,” said Mark Andrews. “But it’s great for the world to see. It’s a party coming up for him, and I couldn’t be more excited about it.”
Forget style points; The crows had to score this win.
If the Ravens finally made their move and made a real Super Bowl run, we wouldn’t remember this game as the one you told us they could.
Many of their flaws — defensive lapses that resulted in long touchdowns, suspected pass interceptions, pedestrian runs, and a rough attack out of the gate — were fully displayed. But then again, that museum wasn’t destined to be available, and not so ill with Jackson that he didn’t realize the team’s plane had landed on Saturday, according to Marlon Humphrey.
This was a game the Ravens needed to survive, and if they showed anything during the 11 weeks of this season, they ditch the final whistle. What else can we say when five of their seven wins came in the fourth quarter? This drama is not a recipe for greatness, but it beats loss.
When Ravens coach John Harbaugh saw general manager Eric DeCosta in the locker room after the game, DeCosta said, “It was dark there for a few moments.”
That’s “the kind of winning that takes faith and requires courage,” Harpo replied, repeating a mantra he came back to often in 2021.
CBS analyst Tony Romo correctly pointed out the importance of this game of bears to the overall run of the Ravens. None of their remaining opponents entered this weekend with a losing track record. They had already slipped against a losing team in Miami. They couldn’t stumble back into Chicago and walk out feeling good about their long-term prospects.
They were very close to dropping to 6-4, and they were very close to losing without making it to the end zone. But the ugliness in the first 58 minutes quickly faded after Defonta Freeman scored from 3 yards. It remains only to win. At 7-3, the Ravens are back straight into the rear-view mirror of the AFC’s leading Tennessee Titans, ahead of the supposed Buffalo Bills and their three competitors in the North.
How good is it really? That’s a question for next weekend, when they face the Cleveland Browns Sunday night, likely with Jackson back to health.
The Ravens slipped back into a familiar nightmare in defense.
The nightmare is more than just an end result. Fear builds up because you realize your legs will never get you out of the same dead end alley. You are stuck on the saddest treadmill in the world.
When Martindale’s head hits without “winking” the pillow, does the Ravens defensive coordinator dream of dealing with failed corners and free-running receivers atop the ashes of other puffy cover?
The Ravens haven’t succumbed to the Devils who have run alongside their defense all season, but they are sure to court them. Martindale and Harpo stared numb while Marquis Goodwin, Bears wide receiver, let Chris Westere absorb the dust with a double move in fourth and 11 to put Chicago ahead 13-9 with 1:41 left. Martindale left the inexperienced Westery alone on the outside when he described the lightning strike that didn’t make it home, in part because another inexperienced defensive back, Brandon Stevens, seemed hesitant in no-man’s-land.
It was an explosive play that undermined all the good work the Ravens did in third and fourth – their version of what happens at night.
They gave up another one earlier in the second half when Bears wide receiver Darnell Mooney took a simple 60-yard pass as at least three Ravens failed to find the right angle to wrestle him.
Harbaugh talked about how these plays keep going downhill and pushing the crows into uncomfortable corners. Players talk about wake-up calls and fixing small bugs that lead to big problems. Then, they stumble upon familiar patterns that are doomed to fail.
It was fitting that the match with Andy Dalton ended up in the fist of Tyus Bowser.
Bowser has been a quiet pillar of the Ravens’ defense this season, which may sound like stalking him with faint praise but is actually a testament to just how far he’s come in his five-year career.
The Ravens allowed Matthew Godon to run in free agency, and Bowser deemed it to suffice as a more affordable starter at the outside quarterback. They knew his versatility would continue to play well in their defense, even if he never became the passer that some expected to serve as a second-round pick from Houston.
However, Bowser has never given up on his aspirations to reach out to opposing midfielders more consistently. He talked about it in his amiable, silent way before this season.
He came very close to losing the crows to the dolphins, with three quarterback strokes and a bunch of other pressures. It was foreboding with a monster performance against the Bears, as rookie quarterback Justin Fields sacked from the striptease tackled fields in open space to prevent a big third-place lead and finished off Chicago’s final lead by locking in Dalton. Bowser had knocked out a third sack with a hanging call against Humphrey just before the break.
Harbaugh said Bowser “has been playing as good football as any NFL quarterback all season.”
Just two years ago, Bowser bumped into Tim Williams, saying how disappointed he was that none of the outside players stepped forward to grab a meaningful role. “They need to be better,” he said in a rare public reprimand.
What a distance between these words and his comments about the cart on Sunday.
Time to talk about Mark Andrews.
With Huntley’s throw overall to beat the pressure of Chicago, the Ravens needed a great game from Andrews. He threw eight on 10 goals, five of them for the first touchdown.
Huntley gave one of his first positive plays in the afternoon when he jumped for a pass that ousted third down and drove to himself for 16-yard gains.
In the third quarter, with the Crows buried deep in their territory, Andrews caught a short pass in third down and stretched every millimeter of his 6-foot-5 frame to hit the mark.
This was nothing new, of course. Andrews is well on his way to eliminating his previous career highs in receptions and yards. He entered the weekend as the No. 3 recipient, the No. 2 running ban and the No. 1 player in position, according to Pro Football Focus scores. he made $56 million extension signed pre-season Seems like a relative bargain.
Sunday will be remembered for Jackson’s illness and Huntley’s rally, as the crows are back off the brink once again. Andrews rarely appeared in post-match interviews. Amidst all the craziness this season, he continues to act.
Sunday, 8:20 pm
TV: the classroom. 11, 4 radio: 97.9 FM, 1090 AM
Line: crows by 4