Today’s game marked the second time this season a Ravens’ player was unable to play in a “revenge game” versus their former team, as Calais Campbell was held out with a lingering calf injury.
Luckily, Yannick Ngakoue was still able to go against his former team, but the Ravens were very shorthanded in the secondary with Marcus Peters missing a game for the first time as a Raven and Jimmy Smith yet again finding his way onto the injured list.
But this adversity is nothing new for the 2020 Ravens, who have adopted a “next man up” mentality like they never have before all throughout this wild, COVID-ridden season. This is a team who never makes excuses and continued so facing a battered and demoralized Jacksonville squad.
Mark Ingram was made a healthy scratch to deal with the secondary issue, which in turn shows the Ravens are fully committed to a J.K Dobbins-Gus Edwards backfield moving forward.
The Ravens’ opening play from scrimmage saw Pat Ricard drag a handful of Jaguars defenders across the yellow line for a first down. Another first down strike immediately afterwards and a decent run down the sideline from JK Dobbins on third down put the Ravens in Jacksonville territory.
Unfortunately, the promising drive was cut short as Lamar Jackson lofted up a ball for Marquise Brown that was snagged by the Jaguars’ Josh Jones, his first interception in three years.
A blindside block penalty eased the pain a bit, pinning the Jags down on their own one yard line.
This would prove to be very beneficial to the Ravens, as Matt Judon quickly got to Gardner Minshew to tally a sack and a safety to give Jackson and the offense a shot at redemption.
SAFETY❗️❗️❗️— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) December 20, 2020
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The offense did not disappoint on their second possession. They cruised down the field on runs from Dobbins and Jackson and added two big strikes to Mark Andrews and Marquise Brown before burgeoning red zone threat, Miles Boykin, snagged his sixth career touchdown to put the Ravens up nine.
The Jaguars looked like they might come away with some points on their second drive, making their way into Baltimore territory with some nice running and passing from Minshew. Jacksonville decided to go for it on fourth and five at midfield, however, and Minshew was promptly taken down by Patrick Queen for a sack.
Tyus Bowser also contributed to ending the drive, stopping a Laviska Shenault direct snap for no gain and teaming up with Queen for a backfield tackle on third down.
The offense came out a third down firing on all cylinders, hitting Andrews for 27 on the first play and pounding the defense with Dobbins until he strutted in to make it four straight games with a score for the star rookie back.
The defense once again stymied the Jaguars on their first drive of the quarter, and rookie Patrick Queen was a big reason why, making tackles for no gain and a loss to get Jacksonville off the field in six short plays.
Jackson and his offense finally ran into some trouble moving the ball on their next drive, but were helped down the field with a very generous pass interference call on Jacksonville. That put the Ravens in range for a field goal and Justin Tucker knocked it through with ease.
The next Jags drive featured more of the same: a few good plays to get a first down before Queen showed up yet again to force a third down loss. Minshew then lofted up a prayer on fourth down that fell harmlessly to the ground for a turnover on downs.
On the Ravens penultimate possession of the half, it was once again the Dobbins show with some Gus Edwards and Marquise Brown sprinkled in. On the ninth play, Dez Bryant finally got to throw up the “X” after blowing his man off the line to get open and then working his way back to the ball when Lamar rolled out to his left.
It was a great sight to see Dez finally all the way back, scoring for the first time in three years after working so hard to get back into the league.
The defense held up their end to keep the Jags scoreless at the half, Ngakoue getting his revenge sack on Minshew before Derek Wolfe and Bowser teamed up to do the same on the next play.
A fortuitous pass interference penalty put the Ravens in position to attempt an end-of-half field goal, but a rare Tucker miss from 57 yards had Baltimore jogging to the locker room still up 26-0 at the break.
The Jaguars came out looking much more competent to start the second half. Big gains to Tyler Eifert, Shenault, and Keelan Cole—the latter on a fourth down, no less—put the offense in on the door step of the red zone. They capitalized two plays later by getting Patrick Queen matched up on a deep route to James Robinson and Minshew uncorked a beautiful teardrop pass to break the shutout after draining nearly six minutes off the clock.
The Ravens came out and returned the favor, running 10 plays that went the full 75 yards and drained four more minutes off the clock. The drive’s big play was a rare deep ball to Gus Edwards, provided by Jackson after he casually brushed off a free rusher. After the 34-yard gain, Lamar walked it in for six.
The defense came back on the field with a healthy 33-7 lead. A few more chunk plays to DJ Chark and Eifert had the Jaguars in position to score once more, but Ngakoue showed up big a second time to strip the ball from Minshew, which was then recovered by Wolfe.
The Ravens got to start off the fourth quarter with the ball and boy did they make it count. Dawaune Smoot almost ended the drive on the second play with a strip sack of Lamar, but rookie tackle Tyre Phillips scooped up the loose ball and rumbled down the field for 22 yards.
BIG MAN GOING❗️❗️— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) December 20, 2020
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On the very next play, Jackson hit Marquise Brown down the sideline for a big 44-yard gainer down the sideline. The offense took six more plays to get to the end zone, but Mark Andrews made sure they did on a short route for a touchdown to put the Ravens up big 40-7.
The defense quickly handed control back to the offense and Ravens fans got to see the first snaps from undrafted rookie quarterback Tyler Huntley. The rookie was impressive in limited action, showing off some serious burst with a 19-yard rush up the middle and a short gain on a wild scramble drill off a fumbled snap that was wiped away by the Ravens’ first penalty of the day.
The Ravens did attempt a 4th & 20 play, but Huntley’s pass fell to the ground in the endzone for a turnover on downs.
The defense nearly upped the embarrassment level for Jacksonville with an LJ Fort pick-six on the following drive, but a roughing the passer call took the points off the board. Five plays later, Minshew found Chark in the end zone. The score drew the Jaguars within 30 with 1:44 left to go.
Huntley came back out for some kneel downs and that was that.
The Ravens did what they had to do and got to 9-5, but they are still on the outside of the playoff picture, looking in. All the team can do is go week by week trying to stack wins, but they’re going to need the teams ahead of them to put some tallies in the loss column if they want to be playing January football. This game should definitely give fans hope that they are hitting their stride, however, and it should be an exciting finish to the season.