As the rain poured down and wind whipped in Baltimore, the Ravens found themselves in a must-win situation. When a Sam Koch punt was blocked late in the game, the Colts got the ball at the Ravens 27, down by seven. The Ravens playoff hopes were on life support. The Ravens defense forced the Colts into a fourth down, and Maurice Canady knocked away the Colts pass. Canady’s play sealed a win for the Ravens. It wasn’t pretty but they got it done.
In a critical Week 16 matchup, the Ravens escaped with a 23-16 win over the Indianapolis Colts.
Baltimore’s offense started the game strong, following the defense forcing a three and out on the Colts first possession. The offense started the game with points on the first three possessions. They went up 3-0 after a opening field goal, scored a touchdown on the next drive to go up 10-0, and kicked a field goal on the following drive.
After the defense’s strong first drive, the unit had some difficulties. The rain certainly didn’t help, but tackling was an issue. The biggest difficulty the Ravens faced was a pass rush unable to get to Jacoby Brissett, and against one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL. The Colts would score a touchdown on a nine play 75 yard drive in the second quarter, as the Ravens struggled to stop Frank Gore.
The Ravens went into halftime holding a 13-7 lead, a lead the Ravens were fortunate to have, as Adam Vinatieri missed two first half field goals, one a block by Tony Jefferson.
The Colts offense kicked field goals on each of their first three drives in the second half, with two seven play drives an one 13 play drive. The Ravens kicked a field goal on the first drive in the third quarter to take a 16-7 lead, but when the Colts closed the deficit to 16-13, the Ravens found themselves needing a touchdown.
The offense was forced with a gut check drive, and they came up big. Joe Flacco and the Ravens went 75 yards on 14 plays over nearly eight minutes, and ended with a Flacco to Maxx Williams touchdown. The Ravens went up 23-13.
The Colts kicked a field goal to make the score 23-16, and the Raven offense had a chance to put the game away with about four minutes left.
The Ravens were unable to do so, moving the ball 16 yards on five plays, killing just 1:57 before having to punt. The Colts blocked the Ravens punt, and had a chance to tie, or possibly win the game starting at the Ravens 27 yard line. The Colts moved the ball inside the 15 yard line. The non-existant pass rush finally got the Brissett on third down, setting up a fourth and 10. Maurice Canady knocked away the fourth down throw, preserving the Ravens win.
The offense ran out the remaining time, and won the game 23-16. With the win, the Ravens improved to 9-6, and still control their own destiny. With a win Week 17, the Ravens will clinch a wild card spot.
In all three phases, the Ravens were far from crisp. The offense had periods where it played well, and period where it reverted back to its early season form. The defense didn’t have a pass rush, though it did show up when needed late in the game. Tackling was poor all night, but some of that can be put on the rain. The special teams were good in some areas, Tucker didn’t miss a field goal and the Ravens blocked a field goal, but struggled in others. Michael Campanaro fumbled a punt, which the Ravens would thankfully recover. Sam Koch had a very rough day punting the ball, though some of that can be put on the weather.
Flacco threw for 237 yards and two touchdown, completing 29 of 38 passes. Alex Collins had a tough day, rushing for 51 yards on 18 carries and no scores. Mike Wallace led the Ravens with 60 yards on four catches. Ben Watson and Danny Woodhead each had a team leading five catches. C.J. Mosley had six tackles, two for loss. Willie Henry and Za’Darius Smith each had a sack. Baltimore had six total tackles for loss.
Baltimore didn’t force any turnovers in this game, but they didn’t commit any either. Collins and Campanaro both fumbled, but the Ravens recovered each time. The Ravens could have had four interceptions, but they were all dropped. Eric Weddle dropped two, Mosley dropped one, and Canady dropped one. Those were turnovers that could have changed the game.
The Ravens made a lot of mistakes, but at the end of the day, the Raven did the most important thing: win. The Ravens now have a win-and-in game against the Bengals in Week 17. Hopefully, they’ll get some better weather, and a better performance.