The Baltimore Ravens bounced back from a disappointing Week 12 finish to secure a much-needed victory over the Denver Broncos at home on Sunday. Despite scoring just three points until the last minute of the game and struggling offensively for most of the afternoon, the Ravens were able to grind out a 10-9 win.
It was not pretty and certainly not perfect, but another defensive slugfest proved to work in the team’s favor in the end. Who stood out from the narrow victory at home?
In relief of an injured Lamar Jackson, Tyler Huntley was forced into 32 pass attempts against one of the league’s better defenses — as the Ravens’ rushing attack was nearly non-existent for most of the game. Huntley completed 27 throws for 187 yards, adding an additional 41 yards on the ground and the game-winning run from two yards out on the final drive.
Huntley’s lone mistake was the errant pass attempt to Mark Andrews midway through the third quarter that was intercepted. That directly lead to three points for the Broncos a few plays later. However, he ultimately made up for it in the end, orchestrating a 16-play, 91-yard touchdown drive in the final five minutes of regulation.
Up to that point, the Ravens’ offense accomplished little-to-nothing all afternoon. Huntley came through in the clutch with a series of timely completions and conversions to keep the Ravens’ hopes alive. His three-yard rush on fourth-and-two followed by a 13-yard lofted pass to Kenyan Drake, which set the Ravens up at the Broncos’ two yard line, were maybe the two biggest plays of the game.
There was not a ton of downfield success had on the day but to complete all but five throws against a talented defense and secondary, and to lead a game-winning drive, deserves to be commemorated.
The Ravens’ trade deadline acquisition continues to demonstrate his value and today was perhaps his best performance with the team to-date. Roquan Smith led the Ravens in total tackles with 11 and had two tackles-for-loss, which isn’t a surprise from what the eye test said.
Smith covered ground consistently and was a huge factor in limiting Denver’s rushing attack to just 88 total yards on 28 carries. The veteran linebacker blew up a number of runs for short gains that would have been longer had he not made a play on the ball.
Smith and Patrick Queen, who had nine tackles before exiting with an injury in the third quarter, continue to form a formidable paring in the middle of the field. When Queen left the game, Smith’s sideline-to-sideline speed, instincts and tackling prowess only became all the more important in the fourth quarter. That will be the case if Queen is forced to miss any time, too.
Latavius Murray and Mike Boone, the Broncos’ top two running backs, each failed to average more than three yards-per-carry. Smith is a big reason why. He was constantly the first person at the point of attack.
The Ravens’ All-Pro cornerback continues to stack impressive performances in the middle of the season and stuff the stat sheet. Today was another one of those.
Humphrey finished fourth on the team in tackles with seven and had both a sack and quarterback hit. His combination of man coverage skills and downhill tackling was once again on display and extremely important to the Ravens’ defensive success.
This wasn’t the most intimidating matchup per say, as the Broncos’ passing attack is far from dynamic and wide receiver Courtland Sutton left the game early with an injury. However, Humphrey still limited big plays and made a few impact ones of his own. The 26-year-old now has three sacks over the past four weeks.
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