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Ravens News 12/11: Walk-Off Win

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Los Angeles Rams v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

2023 NFL season, Week 14: What We Learned from Sunday’s games

Kevin Patra, NFL.com

Ravens use big plays for walk-off OT win. Following back-to-back three-and-outs to start overtime, Tylan Wallace — in the game for an injured Devin Duvernay — fielded a punt, raced right, spun out of a tackle, and sped down the sideline for a touchdown to end a wild game. It was a roller-coaster day for Baltimore. The offense was slowed for long spells, turned it over twice, including a bad-snap safety, but found explosive plays to earn the W. Lamar Jackson found Isaiah Likely on a busted coverage for a 54-yard first-quarter TD. On their ensuing possession, Odell Beckham got wide open on a double move for a 46-yard score. Then, down five points late in the fourth quarter, Jackson tossed a 21-yard seed for a touchdown to Zay Flowers. Jackson earned four passing plays of 20-plus yards, including three TDs. On a day in which the offense went 4 of 12 on third downs and 1 of 3 in the red zone, the big plays for Baltimore on offense and special teams were the difference.

Next Gen stat of the game: Lamar Jackson completed 3 of 9 deep passes for 121 yards (three touchdowns, interception), more than twice as many deep passing yards for Jackson as any other game this season. Entering Week 14, Jackson was one of three qualified quarterbacks without a deep touchdown pass (Bryce Young and Zach Wilson were the others).

NFL Research: Tylan Wallace’s 76-yard punt return touchdown in overtime was the fourth overtime punt return TD in NFL history (second one in 2023; Xavier Gipson in Week 1 for NYJ).

NFL 2023 Week 14: Biggest questions, risers and takeaways

Jamison Hensley, ESPN

How big was this win in the Ravens’ pursuit of the No. 1 seed in the AFC? Tylan Wallace’s game-winning 76-yard punt return for a touchdown in overtime was huge considering the Rams were the last team on Baltimore’s schedule that doesn’t currently have a winning record. The Ravens couldn’t let this one slip away, because their last four opponents include three division leaders — at Jacksonville, at San Francisco and home against Miami — and their biggest rival in Pittsburgh. Baltimore moved into the top spot by holding off the Rams, although the Dolphins can jump back into the No. 1 seed by beating the Titans on Monday night. Quarterback Lamar Jackson kept Baltimore in the game with three touchdown passes and a team-leading 70 yards rushing.

Stock up after the win: TE Isaiah Likely. In his second game since replacing Pro Bowl tight end Mark Andrews, Likely recorded a season-high 83 yards receiving and caught a 54-yard touchdown pass, which was a career long.

Stock down after the win: RB Gus Edwards. As a result of the Ravens’ reluctance to run the ball, Edwards finished with a season-low 15 yards rushing.

NFL Week 14 Game Recap: Baltimore Ravens 37, Los Angeles Rams 31

Gordon McGuinness, PFF

Offensive spotlight: The Ravens’ offense was out of sync for much of the game, with their first two touchdowns coming via blown coverages. Lamar Jackson broke through on the Ravens’ final drive of regulation, though, making plays with his arm and legs, including finding Zay Flowers for a 21-yard score.

Defensive spotlight: The Ravens, who lead the league in sacks, registered only two in this game, but they still forced negative plays. Linebacker Roquan Smith made a pair of tackles for loss, as did edge defender Kyle Van Noy.

Rookie spotlight: The Rams’ rookie pass-catchers continue to impress. Wide receiver Puka Nacua caught five passes for 84 yards, though he did have a particularly bad drop where he turned upfield before pulling the ball in. The surprise star of the show was rookie tight end Davis Allen, who caught four passes for 50 yards and a touchdown.

For the Ravens, Zay Flowers saw more looks downfield, turning 10 targets into six receptions for 60 yards and a touchdown.

Report card: Position-by-position grades for Ravens’ 37-31 OT win over Rams

Mike Preston, The Baltimore Sun

Offensive line

The Ravens had an unusual plan with their offensive tackles, rotating starters Ronnie Stanley and Morgan Moses with backups Patrick Mekari and Danel Faalele. A lot of teams rotate receivers and running backs, but few shuffle linemen. The Rams have had trouble getting pressure on the quarterback all season, but they gave the Ravens some problems. The line was solid in the middle, but center Tyler Linderbaum struggled at times and got away with a couple of holding penalties. Overall, the Ravens allowed only two sacks and there were moments when Jackson had a lot of time to throw. Grade: B-

Defensive line

The Ravens have struggled to stop opposing rushing attacks but have gotten away with it because they often take an early lead and force opponents to abandon the run. But the Rams had success running it, especially inside the tackles with Kyren Williams, who finished with 114 yards on 25 carries. Nose tackle Michael Pierce either got pushed around or ran himself out of a play, and end Justin Madubuike had similar problems, especially early in the game. Madubuike, though, finished with seven tackles, five quarterback hits and added his 11th sack of the season. The Rams had 410 yards of total offense. Grade: D+

Five Takeaways From The Ravens’ 37-31 Win Against The Rams

Bo Smolka, PressBox

The drive for the No. 1 seed remains alive, but the division race isn’t over.

The Ravens surely needed this one if they hope to remain in the hunt for the AFC’s No. 1 overall seed. The Ravens have a rugged four-game homestretch to end the season with upcoming games against Jacksonville (8-5), San Francisco (10-3) and Miami (9-3) before closing the season with the suddenly reeling Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Cleveland Browns (8-5) beat Jacksonville today to remain two games behind the Ravens, so while the Ravens are positioned to compete for the No. 1 overall seed in the AFC — and the bye that goes with it — they remain in a battle for the division lead, too. Unlike the Steelers, the Browns — led by Joe Flacco, who threw three touchdown passes to beat the Jaguars — aren’t going away. And the Cincinnati Bengals (7-6) behind backup quarterbacks have delivered a couple of surprising wins.

The Ravens have earned their spot in the driver’s seat in the division. If the Ravens win out, they will be the AFC’s No. 1 seed. That is for sure, since they would be 14-3 and would have handed Miami a fourth loss.

Given how the upcoming schedule shapes up, this game was one the Ravens had to have. There’s a lot of football left to be played, but Tylan Wallace’s punt-return heroics could become an even larger part of the narrative during the final month of the season.