BALTIMORE – Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh asked his players a question in the locker room following a 31-25 overtime win over the Indianapolis Colts on Monday night, another unreal comeback that has turned into the norm for this team this season.
“Which of these crazy games is the best?” Harbaugh asked.
His answer: “The next one.”
The Ravens believe that all of these dramatic endings of the past four weeks are the beginning of something special.
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In Week 2, Lamar Jackson rallied from Baltimore from 11 points behind in the fourth quarter to beat the Kansas City Chiefs for the first time. In Week 3, Justin Tucker threw an NFL-record 66-yard field goal on the last play of the game to beat the Detroit Lions. On Monday night, Jackson led the Ravens from 19 points down in the second half to stun the Colts in overtime.
“As long as you have that belief, as a team you know that the game is never out of your reach, [and] he’s never out of control, ”Ravens tight end Mark Andrews said. “I think they’re taking a couple of years off my life, but it’s been fun.”
To say that the Ravens have defied the odds doesn’t do Baltimore’s comebacks justice unless you pinpoint exactly the grim odds.
The Chiefs had a 91.6% winning chance after the Ravens kicked the ball 35-24 with 3:14 left in the third quarter. Baltimore ended up winning 36-35.
The Lions had a 99.9% chance of winning when the Ravens faced a quarter and 16 and a 17-16 deficit with 26 seconds to play. Baltimore ended up winning, 19-17.
The Colts had a 98.4% chance of victory after the Ravens trailed 25-9 with 12 minutes left in the game. Baltimore ended up winning.
And Baltimore’s level of difficulty in these victories has been magnified by his injuries. The Ravens have lost their two best running backs (JK Dobbins and Gus Edwards) and a Pro Bowl cornerback (Marcus Peters) to season-ending injuries. All-Pro left tackle Ronnie Stanley has missed the last four games, and first-round wide receiver Rashod Bateman has yet to play.
Still, the Ravens continually overcome these daunting challenges.
“Soccer is a game that is built on momentum and you start to believe,” Ravens defensive end Calais Campbell said. “It reveals character, who we are. And we made a lot of mistakes today and we got in a big hole, but we knew [to] keep playing soccer. All those things are forgotten; it’s always about the next play in front of us. And we believe. When you create that kind of confidence, that kind of belief, you really build that character that you need to have a chance at the end of the year. “
The reason Baltimore failed to make an extended championship with Jackson has been the inability to recover from a large deficit. In Jackson’s three playoff losses, the Ravens trailed by at least 14 points and couldn’t get out of the hole.
This year, Baltimore has dominated the end of games to bounce back. During their four-game winning streak, the Ravens have outscored their opponents 43-13 in the fourth quarter and overtime. Only the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (41) and Buffalo Bills (35) have a better point margin.
Jackson did not fully buy into the idea that emotional victories can develop special chemistry within the team.
“I mean, he can, but we don’t want to be in games like this,” Jackson said. “We would like to start running and move on. We don’t want to be fighting, going into overtime, expecting to miss field goals, expecting field goal blocks, putting our defense without points – things like that. Hopefully, we can get to work. and do what we’re supposed to do. “
Jackson has been a slow starter, but no one has repeatedly finished like him. There was the winning touchdown shot against the Chiefs, the last minute, fourth and 16th conversion at Detroit and the 335 passing yards in the second half and overtime against the Colts.
Wasn’t Jackson the quarterback who couldn’t lead a comeback with his arm?
“You can’t say that anymore,” Andrews said. “Look at the last two games, he’s cool, cool and he’s a leader, man.” That is what we are all looking for. “
“I think they’re taking a couple of years off my life, but it’s been fun.”
Mark Andrews on the return of the Ravens wins
The Ravens now face a Los Angeles Chargers team on Sunday (1 pm ET, CBS) that also understands perseverance. Last Sunday, the Chargers outscored the Cleveland Browns 47-42 in a game that featured four lead changes in the fourth quarter.
Baltimore feels its recent experience has made the team as battle-tested as anyone.
“I think just with us, it feels like that bond,” Ravens safety Chuck Clark said. “No matter what happens, we can fight, go deep into those tough times, regardless of what happens. And I definitely think going forward is going to build character, build relationships. I think it’s going to be a platform for us, for sure. “