Ravens show mettle in comeback win over Lions
Overcoming adversity seems to be a way of life for the Baltimore
Ravens, who flourish in situations that usually provoke panic and
The Ravens fueled their late-season playoff run Monday night by
using a beat-the-clock drive and a remarkable kick to pull out an
exhilarating 18-16 victory in Detroit.
Down by a point, working with only one timeout and facing a
third-and-15 at the Baltimore 28, Joe Flacco connected with Jacoby
Jones for a 27-yard completion. That set up Justin Tucker for his
sixth field goal, a club-record boot of 61 yards that provided the
Ravens (8-6) with their fourth straight victory.
Just a month ago, the defending Super Bowl champions were 4-6.
Now they’re in command of the final AFC wild card and still in the
running for another division title.
”Man, I tell you what, we are a team that keeps believing,”
linebacker Daryl Smith said. ”We never quit. I don’t really have
any words for it.”
Anyone who thought the Ravens were doomed to defeat after the
Lions took the lead with 2:21 left must not have been familiar with
Baltimore’s exploits over the past two years.
On their way to an NFL championship last season, the Ravens
overcame a three-game skid to win the AFC North. In the playoffs,
Baltimore used a late Flacco-to-Jones touchdown to rally past
top-seeded Denver, then beat New England on the road before
surviving a power outage and a late surge by San Francisco to
capture the Super Bowl.
This season, with a vastly revised roster, the Ravens are
displaying the same brand of determination. They’ve been involved
in nine games decided by three points or fewer, including each of
the last three – all of which they won to remain on course to reach
the postseason for a sixth straight time.
Baltimore’s experience in close games, along with the resiliency
the team has shown under coach John Harbaugh, produced a feeling of
confidence Monday night when the offense huddled up before the
final, pivotal drive.
”We’ve been there so many times over the past few years,” wide
receiver Torrey Smith said. ”If you’re in the huddle, everyone’s
just calm, relaxed, like, `All right, let’s go do it.’ No one’s
panicking. We’ve been there before and we know how to handle
The victory was sealed with an interception by rookie safety
Matt Elam, who created a stir days earlier when he said Lions wide
receiver Calvin Johnson was ”pretty old.”
”He trusted his teammates and he had faith,” Harbaugh said.
”The thing I love about our football team is that we are a team of
faith. We believe. We trust. Because of that, we’ll fight. We will
run the race right down to the end; that’s something that our
football team does. I’m very proud of them for that.”
The Ravens host New England on Sunday before closing the season
at Cincinnati. Baltimore will claim the AFC North title by winning
”We’re playing our best football right now,” Harbaugh said.
”We’re going to have to continue to improve with what we have in
front of us down the stretch.”
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org