Welcome back to The Crow's Nest, your virtual Ravens sports bar! Looks like we'll get another noise complaint with the neighbors. Hey, we're a bar, it's a Monday night game, get over it.
22-3. That's right. The Ravens were down in the second half to the Indianapolis Colts by nineteen points and looked dead. A terrible loss looked assured as the defense was getting carved up by Carson Wentz and the offense just couldn't string together any efficient drives. What we as fans should never count out is how good our quarterback is. While every mistake Lamar Jackson makes gets put under the nationwide microscope, the performance we witnessed by Jackson tonight against the hated Colts will go down in Baltimore sports lore forever. Johnny Unitas himself couldn't have overcome Lamar Jackson in the fourth quarter as the Ravens got another improbable victory in overtime
Fellow fans of the Ravens, we know how special Lamar is. We don't need any national discussion on Jackson's throwing ability. I'll put it this way when Jackson's career is all said and done he will be one of the best players to ever lace up his cleats in a Baltimore uniform (Colts or Ravens). He will be as beloved as Johnny U. There will be a statue of him next to Ray Lewis's in the stadium plaza.
Here are the four factors about tonight's win
Lamar 4 MVP
Let's break down Jackson's 2nd half numbers.
29-32, 335 yds, 4 TD's.
It seems like in the last three weeks, the Ravens and Jackson were trying to change the narrative from "run first" to Jackson becoming a quarterback known for his arm (with his running ability always being a danger to defenses). Well, consider that narrative permanently changed after tonight. 442 yards passing while completing 85% of his passes (An NFL record for a 400-yard passing game). Jackson's teammates and the rest of the league are finally in agreement. His arm has been undervalued and maybe it took a record-setting night in front of a national audience to convince everyone how good Jackson's throwing ability can be. Probably not but who cares? We know just how special he is.
Team of Destiny?
This year has had more thrills in the first five games than an entire season. The overtime loss to start the year against the Raiders, the record-setting field goal kick by Justin Tucker to beat the Lions, Lamar's late game heroics to beat the Chiefs. Every week aside from a routine win over the Broncos has been heart-stopping. Seriously, have we ever seen a first month of a season like this? This team has found the most improbable ways to win and I have to ask if this is building into something bigger than a great start to the season? This team believes they always have a chance and so far it's paid off into a 4-1 start. If they can bottle this and get into the playoffs, they have a legitimate chance to win the Super Bowl. The Chiefs have clearly regressed, the Bills look great but are still green in the playoffs, the Browns will compete in the AFC North and the Chargers and Justin Herbert have all the weapons to get to the Super Bowl. The AFC is wide open in 2021-22. This very well could be the year the Ravens get to the promised land and represent the conference at SoFi Stadium in this year's Super Bowl. Destiny? Maybe. All these improbable victories make me think something right is happening in Baltimore.
You win with a 4% chance, you can win a Super Bowl.
Andrews and Brown Make the Big Plays
As good as Jackson was tonight, you need your receivers to get open and make the catches and Mark Andrews and Hollywood Brown came through tonight with two touchdown reception a piece. The Jackson to Brown combination after Brown's drops against Detroit has been rock solid as Jackson has shown complete confidence in him and Brown has responded in kind with posting some big numbers. The one thing I love about this duo is they feast on what I call "The Madden Play".
You know that play where you just send your wideout deep in Madden and just bomb it to him? The Ravens do this IRL and it works with Jackson and Brown. The bond those two have goes beyond the field. They truly trust each other.
Andrews had his first 100 yard receiving game with multiple touchdowns in his career tonight. The relationship between Jackson and Andrews has been solid as Andrews has always been Jackson's safety valve and he can usually get himself open in the middle of the field. Andrews has had some critical drops in some spots but tonight he was Jackson's main target in the second half as he caught the touchdown and the two-point conversion to tie the game in the final Ravens drive of regulation to tie the game with under a minute remaining. Andrews final stat line for the game (11 receptions 147 yards receiving 2 TD's) are all career highs.
Defense Wins Championships. This One Needs Work
The best thing you can say about the Ravens defense tonight is...well, they blocked a crucial field goal. Everything else they did was atrocious. Carson Wentz, discarded from the Eagles, looked born again against the Ravens defense in setting career highs in passing yards and yards per attempt. The Colts offense ran like the 1998 Rams and Wentz picked on the secondary all night long.
To put it mildly, the entire defense was a disgrance to the Ravens uniform tonight. Aside from Calais Campbell's blocked field goal, the defense almost cost the Ravens the game after Jackson's epic comeback to tie it. Colts tight-end Jack Doyle shoved Tavon Young while he was on the ground and Young got up and retaliated.
The penalty on Young and a late Wentz to Pascal completion put the Colts in field goal territory with Indy kicker Rodrigo Blankenship missing the winning field goal to send the game into overtime. The defense continues to be a work in progress and with the high scoring Chargers coming into town next Sunday, they need to get right fast or Justin Herbert, Keenan Allen and Mike Williams will have their way with them.
Well, I have to close up the shop. I have to dust off all of this old Colts memorabilia. What a shame, I guess they had to leave Baltimore again in the middle of the night with their tail between their legs. You see, it's a Ravens town now. Go ahead and go. It's fine. We have Lamar Jackson and you don't. Baltimore wins.