After finishing the season 6-1 with Lamar Jackson under center and capturing the AFC North division title, the Ravens magic finally ran out on Sunday. Hosting the visiting Chargers in a wild card matchup, Baltimore dug themselves too big of a hole.
For most of the game, the Ravens offense couldn’t muster any sort of rhythm. They were held scoreless in the first half and began the fourth quarter with 25 yards passing, while trailing 12-3. Simply put, Baltimore’s offense was nothing short of pitiful.
Per usual, the defense played lights out and kept the Ravens somewhat within striking distance. When Baltimore’s offense finally began clicking late in the fourth quarter, it was ultimately too late. The Ravens had a chance to score a go-ahead touchdown with 45 seconds remaining, but Lamar Jackson was stripped and the Chargers recovered the loose ball.
It was a disappointing finish to an entertaining season. However, while the end result may be gloomy, there were several notable plays that should not go unnoticed, all of which came in the second half.
So, for the final time this season, take a look at all the top moments from Sunday’s action and vote for your favorite play down below.
Za’Darius Smith field goal block: After a big kick return to begin the second half, the Chargers quickly found themselves in scoring territory. The Ravens defense did a good job holding them out of the endzone, forcing Michael Badgley to attempt his fifth field goal of the game. However, unlike the first four, this time the kick was blocked. Za’Darius Smith did a nice job extending over the line of scrimmage and getting his left hand on the ball to prevent the Chargers from extending their lead to 15 points.
Patrick Onwuasor forced fumble: Once a special teams player only, “Peanut” has emerged as a rising defensive star to end the season. His stellar play continued on Sunday as he was all over the field, perhaps making more of an impact than any Baltimore player on either side of the ball. Onwuasor came up with yet another forced fumble early in the third quarter, punching the ball loose from the arms of Virgil Green. C.J. Mosley scooped the loose ball and returned it further into Los Angeles territory, which set up a Justin Tucker field goal to get the Ravens on the board.
Javorius Allen punt block: For the second time in the third quarter, the Ravens came up with a huge special teams play, this time courtesy of “Buck” Allen. With the Chargers punting the ball away on 4th & 6, Allen found a hole in Los Angeles’ line and burst through to make a play on the ball. Allen made enough contact on the ball to force an errant punt, and the Ravens took over at the Chargers 40-yard line. While they ultimately couldn’t capitalize and put points on the board, it was an impressive play. It was also nice to see Allen make an impact after his role diminished in midseason.
Michael Crabtree 31-yard touchdown reception: Both of the Ravens touchdowns were scored in the fourth quarter, and Michael Crabtree was on the receiving end of each of them. The first, seen above, cut the Ravens deficit to 13 points and sparked the comeback effort. Crabtree got free along the sideline and managed to keep his feet in bounds as Jackson hit him in the stride. If Baltimore had more big plays like this in the first three quarters, the end result would have been different. Nonetheless, it was an impressive throw and catch.
Here's another look at that Michael Crabtree TD. pic.twitter.com/QEPTgpCcbS— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) January 6, 2019
Kenneth Dixon 39-yard reception: For all of Lamar Jackson’s struggles on Sunday, he managed to provide us with at least one spectacular display of athleticism and arm talent. With 3:20 remaining and the season on the line, Jackson scrambled around the pocket for more than 10 seconds, running for his life from Chargers defenders. Eventually, Jackson heaved up a prayer toward midfield and Kenneth Dixon came down with an impressive grab. Was it lucky? Maybe so. However, the ball was thrown just over the outstretched arm of Derwin James and kept the Ravens drive alive. Dixon’s 39-yard reception eventually led to a touchdown, which can be seen below.
Michael Crabtree 7-yard touchdown reception: Crabtree came up with another touchdown reception, this time in the redzone on 4th & 6. After scrambling to his right, Jackson delivered a strike to Crabtree, who created separation and made a diving catch at the goal line. Crabtree was originally ruled down at the 1-yard line, which would have set up the Ravens with a new set of downs. However, upon further review, it was evident that he caught the ball in the endzone before falling forward. This impressive catch made it a one possession game and gave the Ravens one last glimmer of hope.
What gets your vote for "Play of the Week"?
This poll is closed
Za’Darius Smith field goal block
Patrick Onwuasor forced fumble
Javorius Allen punt block
Michael Crabtree 31-yard touchdown reception
Kenneth Dixon 39-yard reception
Michael Crabtree 7-yard touchdown reception