NFL Week 14 takeaways: What we learned, big questions for every game and future team outlooks - Jamison Hensley
What to know: Tyler Huntley isn’t Lamar Jackson, but he doesn’t flinch. It would’ve been easy for the Ravens to fold when Jackson left early in the second quarter with a right ankle injury. But Huntley nearly pulled off a remarkable comeback, throwing for 270 yards and running for 45 yards. This was the first time since Nov. 7 that Baltimore scored over 20 points.
Is the Ravens’ season in jeopardy? The severity of Jackson’s ankle injury was unknown by the end of the game, and Baltimore still has a 46% chance of winning the AFC North, according to ESPN’s Football Power Index. But if Jackson is sidelined for a period of time, or even less than full strength, the Ravens will have a tough time winning games the rest of the season. Baltimore faces one of the toughest end-of-season schedules with games at home against the Green Bay Packers, at the Cincinnati Bengals and home against the Los Angeles Rams and Pittsburgh Steelers. The Ravens have been overachievers all season despite 23 players being on injured reserve at some point this season. Two weeks ago, the Ravens had the No. 1 seed in the AFC. But it’s difficult to see Baltimore making a run to the playoffs without Jackson.
Injuries have exposed the Ravens for who they are. Baltimore has been able to weather a massive amount of health-related losses thanks to the heroics of Jackson, but when Jackson suffered an injury of his own and wasn’t able to return Sunday, the cracks in Baltimore’s foundation began to show. Huntley performed admirably in relief and was able to help Baltimore claw its way back into the game, but a handful of errors ultimately downed the Ravens. Huntley’s fumble (which was returned for a touchdown by Garrett) proved to be the game-deciding score, and his interception on a questionably timed two-point attempt kept the Ravens from completing their comeback. Baltimore was incredibly sloppy, committing 10 penalties which were accepted for 125 penalty yards and assisted the Browns in their scoring efforts. With Jackson unavailable, the Ravens didn’t quite have enough to make a comeback, dropping their second straight game in painful fashion. It seems Baltimore — a team that has secured six of its eight wins by a single possession — isn’t quite equipped to weather the injury storm when its most important player is also banged up. The Ravens are far from the only team to be forced to admit this reality, but they haven’t looked much like a division leader in the last month.
“It’s pretty much standard, really a non-decision,” Harbaugh said. “You do it at that point in time because you’re going to have to win a two-point conversion. So you understand if you get it or don’t get it early where you’re at going from there, how many possessions you’re going to need and what you’re going to have to do. If you wait until the last two-point conversion and you don’t get it, the game is over, you’ve lost.”
It’s a clock management strategy. It’s best to know earlier as opposed to later how much of a hurry you have to be in the rest of the way.
The Ravens scored their second touchdown with 1:17 remaining in the game, then recovered an onside kick but weren’t able to move into range for Justin Tucker. And in the end, Baltimore was left again wishing it had one more successful two-point conversion.
“They just ended up zoning us. We had a man concept on and they zoned us,” Huntley said. “They just made a good play, good call.”
NFL Week 14 Game Recap: Cleveland Browns 24, Baltimore Ravens 22 - Jacob Rosenfarb
Wide Receiver/Tight End
Tight end Mark Andrews continued his phenomenal season with another dominant performance Sunday, hauling in each of his 11 targets for 115 yards and a touchdown in the loss. Andrews was Huntley’s favorite target when the stakes were the highest, as the fourth-year pro led all pass-catchers with seven receiving first downs.
Wide receiver Rashod Bateman eclipsed 100 yards for the first time in his career Sunday, catching seven of his eight targets for 103 yards in the defeat. The rookie was a consistent source of chunk plays Sunday, as he led all pass-catchers with three explosive plays.
Baltimore’s offensive line struggled to hold up in pass protection throughout Sunday’s contest, as the unit conceded 24 pressures and four sacks in the defeat. The group performed slightly better in the run game, facilitating a Ravens rushing attack that averaged 5.1 yards per rush.
The Ravens’ secondary surrendered 16 receptions for 159 yards to finish with a combined passer rating allowed of 104.2. Cornerback Anthony Averett led the unit with six targets yet allowed just three receptions for 46 yards while hauling in the team’s only interception.
Position-by-position grades for Ravens’ 24-22 loss to Browns - Mike Preston
The Ravens had problems stopping Cleveland in the first half, as the Browns were better at running the ball than they were against the Ravens two weeks ago. Still, the Ravens held Cleveland in check for most of the second half as the Browns finished with 100 yards rushing on 29 carries. The Ravens played without top lineman Calais Campbell, who injured his thigh in the first quarter and was later ruled out. But tackles Brandon Williams, Broderick Washington, Justin Ellis and Justin Madubuike were quick inside and had strong pursuit. They also got some pressure on Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield. Madubuike led all linemen with four tackles. Grade: C+
The Ravens had weak-side linebacker Patrick Queen attack on run blitzes up the middle, which worked well two weeks ago but not so much Sunday. Running back Nick Chubb was deliberate and bounced a couple of good runs to the outside. In the second half, the Ravens got strong pressure on Mayfield, especially from outside linebackers Justin Houston and Tyus Bowser, but they didn’t register a sack. Rookie outside linebacker Odafe Oweh had trouble getting off initial blocks but pursued the ball carrier well and made several tackles downfield to prevent any back-breaking plays. Grade: C