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Ravens News 11/9: 2nd Half Perfection and more

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NFL: Baltimore Ravens at Indianapolis Colts Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Baltimore Ravens QB Lamar Jackson (25-5) ties Dan Marino for best start by quarterback - Jamison Hensley

Going a perfect 10-of-10 passing in the second half, Jackson led the Baltimore Ravens to a 24-10 win over the Indianapolis Colts and matched the best 30-start mark of the Super Bowl era.

The reigning NFL MVP is now 25-5 (.833) since taking over as the Ravens’ starter in the middle of the 2018 season, tying Dan Marino for the best start by a quarterback since 1966.

To accomplish this, Jackson had to overcome a halftime deficit for the first time in his career (he was 0-for-6 previously) as well as a week of adversity.

The Ravens defense provided plenty of help to Jackson and the Ravens. Safety Chuck Clark’s 65-yard fumble return for a touchdown was Baltimore’s only points in the first half, and the defense shut out Philip Rivers and the Colts in the second half.

Ravens set NFL record for 20-point games with win in Indy - Michael Marot

Lamar Jackson turned up the tempo in the second half Sunday and then went right back to work breaking records.

After Gus Edwards’ 1-yard plunge gave Baltimore the lead midway through the third quarter, Jackson sealed the 24-10 win over Indianapolis with a 9-yard TD run that gave the Ravens the NFL record for most consecutive 20-point games.

The Ravens (6-2) have done it 31 straight times — breaking a tie with Denver, which set the mark from 2012-14

Baltimore has won 10 straight road games, the league’s longest active streak, and earned the franchise’s first win at Indianapolis in seven tries. The Ravens also had lost 20 straight games when trailing at halftime.

NFL Week 9: What we learned from Sunday’s games - Chase Goodbread

Credit the Ravens pass defense, even without star CB Marlon Humphrey who was out with COVID-19, for blanketing Colts receivers on what proved to be a tough day for QB Philip Rivers. Marcus Peters notched an interception and a pass breakup, and the linebacking corps was all over most of the short stuff that Rivers incessantly settled for. His longest completion went for 21 yards, and it came in the fourth quarter with the outcome already put to bed. It didn’t help that the Colts’ top receiver, T.Y. Hilton, was out with an injury, but Baltimore (6-2), not Hilton’s absence, was the reason the rest of the Colts (5-3) offense showed no explosiveness.

Dez Bryant’s NFL comeback will have to wait at least another week if it is to add any juice to the Ravens offense. The three-time Pro Bowl wide receiver was activated from Baltimore’s practice squad for his first action since 2017, but played very little and finished without a catch. With Baltimore’s offense dormant for the first half, it would’ve been a great time for a little splash from Bryant. Didn’t happen.

NFL Week 9 PFF ReFocused: Baltimore Ravens 24, Indianapolis Colts 10 - Steve Palazzolo

STORY OF THE GAME

Defense was the story of the game, starting with Baltimore’s fumble return for a touchdown. Cornerback Marcus Peters forced the ball out, and he later came back with an interception. He was the clear star on that side of the ball for the Ravens.

Baltimore’s defense allowed just -.46 expected points added and 3.9 yards per play while holding the Colts to their lowest point total of the season. It was a poor day for Indianapolis quarterback Philip Rivers, who had just a 38.4 passer rating on 10-plus yard throws while continuing his maddening inconsistency. Rivers came into the game with five 75.0-plus PFF grades but also two games under 60.0. This one was more like the latter, as the Indianapolis offense got little going through the air.

Quarterback Lamar Jackson had just four incompletions on his 23 attempts, including a 4-for-6 effort on 10-plus yard throws. The key sequences in the game both came on fourth downs. Late in the third quarter, the Ravens converted a fourth-and-3 on a run by running back J.K. Dobbins. They went on to score on a 9-yard quarterback keeper from Jackson, his longest rush of the day.

ROOKIE WATCH

Ravens running back J.K. Dobbins had just two first downs on his 12 carries, but one of them was a key fourth-down conversion.

Linebackers Patrick Queen and Malik Harrison allowed little in coverage, though Queen missed two tackles in the run game. Interior defender Justin Madubuike had another solid outing against the run.

Colts at Ravens final score: Baltimore leans on big defensive plays to pull away from Indianapolis - Josh Edwards

Why the Ravens won

Baltimore’s offense was neither effective through the air nor on the ground. The Ravens amassed 266 total yards on 63 plays (4.2 yards per play) compared to 5.2 yards per play by Indianapolis. The Ravens also had two turnovers and more penalties than their competitor. The difference in the game was the magnitude of Indianapolis’ turnovers. The game-tying touchdown in the first quarter was a defensive score. Later in the game, Marcus Peters pulled down a controversial interception, which set up Lamar Jackson and the offense with good field position.

What’s next?

Baltimore travels to Foxboro next weekend to face the Patriots on Sunday Night Football. In fact, the Ravens have four primetime games in their next five, including a rematch against the AFC North leading Steelers.