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Ravens News 12/12: Keep Going

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Los Angeles Rams v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Todd Olszewski/Getty Images

Tylan Wallace becomes Ravens’ unlikely hero with punt return TD in win over Rams

Jeff Zrebiec, The Athletic

Wallace caught Evans’ punt at the Ravens’ 24. To Wallace’s right, Jalyn Armour-Davis had pushed Rams defensive back Shaun Jolly upfield. To his left, toward the sideline, Wallace saw space because Trenton Simpson had sealed off Ben Skowronek and Charlie Kolar had taken out Jake Hummel with a shove that easily could have been flagged for a block in the back. Kolar certainly had that concern as he rolled over and scanned to see whether a flag was thrown.

Ravens defensive backs Daryl Worley and Ronald Darby did a nice job with their double-team along the sideline on the Rams’ Tre Tomlinson, creating a hole. Del’Shawn Phillips drove Troy Reeder out of the play. Josh Ross prevented Keir Thomas from getting an angle on Wallace. The Ravens returner first had to make a man miss. He spun out of a tackle attempt by Royce Freeman at Baltimore’s 30. He eluded a diving attempt by Christian Rozeboom at the 35 and got past long snapper Alex Ward’s tackle effort on the 40.

There was only one Ram in front of him, but Justice Hill had a body on Evans. Wallace’s biggest threat came from behind as Jolly dove at his legs at the Rams’ 42. Wallace stumbled, nearly going to the ground at the Rams’ 38.

“I was about to go down, (but) I can’t go down right here,” Wallace said. “I made it this far, I’m like, ‘I have to keep going. I have to stay up.’”

‘We delivered’: Inside the Ravens’ go-ahead TD drive vs. the Rams — and Lamar Jackson’s pivotal pass

Jonas Shaffer, The Baltimore Banner

Jackson assumed control with 4:41 remaining in the fourth quarter, the Ravens trailing 28-23 after a Rams touchdown and failed 2-point conversion. The offense hadn’t scored a touchdown since early in the second quarter. The rain was pouring; Jackson acknowledged later that it was hard at times to grip the ball.

Still, the drive unfolded as if coordinator Todd Monken trusted no one except his quarterback. Just one of the Ravens’ 13 plays was a designed run — a 1-yard loss by running back Keaton Mitchell. On Jackson’s 12 drop-backs, he went 7-for-10 for 73 yards, scrambled once for 9 yards and took one sack. His best throw was a 21-yard touchdown to wide receiver Zay Flowers. His most important throw was the one after that, a 2-yard completion to Flowers that gave the Ravens a 2-point conversion and 31-28 lead with 76 seconds remaining in regulation.

The Ravens lined up with four targets to Jackson’s right — Hill, Agholor, Flowers and wide receiver Rashod Bateman — and one to his left, tight end Isaiah Likely. As Jackson drifted back, Donald came unblocked and beelined for Jackson. Downfield, Agholor’s movement had opened a throwing window, as predicted. Jackson gathered his feet and looped a pass over the head of Rams linebacker Ernest Jones.

The ball traveled 34.3 yards through the air, according to the NFL’s Next Gen Stats, and hit Flowers right on his numbers. The rookie, having separated easily from safety Jordan Fuller, secured the pass inside the 1, fell backward and celebrated.

Five things we learned from the Ravens’ 37-31 win over the Los Angeles Rams

Childs Walker, The Baltimore Sun

The Ravens’ defense also delivered in the clutch

Stafford handed off on the Rams’ first nine plays, essentially daring the middle of the Ravens’ defense to hold. The Rams ate up ground at 5.8 yards per clip, only to go airborne, and fail, once they reached the red zone. Curious strategic twist aside, this opening barrage highlighted a relative weakness in the league’s top scoring defense. Opponents have succeeded running right at the Ravens, especially early in games.

The Rams’ outstanding pass catchers, Nacua and Kupp, gouged the Ravens for chunk plays in a way few opponents have this season, combining for 199 yards on 18 targets. Again and again, they slipped into uncovered gaps in zone coverage. Humphrey could not check Kupp on the last drive of regulation and could not come down with an interception in the corner of the end zone that would have ended the game.

“Just hats off to those guys,” linebacker Roqaun Smith said. “And with Stafford over there, he can squeeze the ball in really tight spots.”

The Ravens gave up a season-high 410 yards.

But they did adjust, forcing the Rams to punt on their first four drives of the second half. Coordinator Mike Macdonald urged his front seven to shed blocks more quickly. “He was telling us to make an emphasis on just shedding blocks and making tackles quick [on] the line of scrimmage, so that’s what we tried to do,” defensive tackle Justin Madubuike said.

They made eight tackles for loss, a sign of the havoc they ultimately created with this aggressive approach at the line of scrimmage.

They held their ground again in overtime, sending the Rams off the field, three-and-out, when a field goal would have won it.

NFL Week 14: PFF Team of the Week & Player Awards

Gordon McGuinness, PFF

OFFENSIVE LINE OF THE WEEK: BALTIMORE RAVENS

The Ravens’ pass blocking was a highlight of their Week 14 win, with left tackle Ronnie Stanley and right tackle Morgan Moses allowing just one pressure each.

Reports: Kyle Hamilton Is Week-to-Week With Sprained MCL

Ryan Mink, BaltimoreRavens.com

According to multiple reports, Hamilton suffered a sprained MCL and his return will be week-to-week.

Hamilton suffered the non-contact injury in the first half of Sunday’s 37-31 overtime win against the Los Angeles Rams. He returned to action after going to the locker room but was ruled out for the remainder of the game in the second half.

Hamilton has been one of the Ravens’ top defensive players and best safeties in the league this season. His versatility is critical to the defense’s ability to mask its intentions, and he’s proven to be strong against the run and in coverage.

Going against a Rams passing attack that was on point, Baltimore’s defense wasn’t the same without him.

NFL Week 14 overreactions, reality checks: Bengals playoff team with Jake Browning? Joe Flacco best Browns QB?

Jeff Kerr, CBS Sports

Ravens will end up as No. 1 seed in AFC

Overreaction or reality: Overreaction

How the Dolphins fare over their final five games (Miami plays Monday) will factor in, but the Ravens had a massive win over the Rams to temporarily take over the No. 1 seed in the AFC. Even with the overtime victory, the Ravens have a brutal schedule coming up with the Jaguars (road), 49ers (road), Dolphins (home) and Steelers (home).

That New Year’s Eve game against Miami is likely to determine the No. 1 seed in the conference based on how the AFC is playing out. Miami does have a bit of an easier slate to finish with the Titans (home), Jets (home), Cowboys (home), Ravens (road) and Bills (home).

Just too early to crown the No. 1 seed in the AFC right now, even if Miami still hasn’t beaten a team with a winning record.