Instant analysis: Ravens fall to Titans in overtime, 30-24, drop to 6-4 with second straight loss

Jonas Shaffer, The Baltimore Sun
·5 min read

Running back Derrick Henry rushed for 133 yards, including a game-winning 29-yard run in overtime, to lead the Tennessee Titans to a 30-24 win Sunday over the suddenly reeling Ravens.

Tennessee rallied from a 21-10 second-half deficit in Baltimore and forced an overtime three-and-out to deny the Ravens a small measure of revenge for last season’s upset win in the divisional round of the playoffs. The Ravens (6-4) have now lost two straight games and three of four heading into their Thanksgiving Day rematch with the undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers (10-0).

Quarterback Lamar Jackson was 17-for-29 for 186 yards, a touchdown and an interception, outdueled again by Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill. With Henry pounding away at the Ravens’ banged-up defensive front (28 carries), Tannehill finished 22-for-31 for 259 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.

The Titans (7-3), one of six AFC teams with six wins entering Week 11, erased the last of an 11-point deficit on one of the Ravens’ most inexplicable plays this season. With less than six minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, a second-down sack by outside linebacker Matthew Judon forced Tennessee back into a third-and-10 from the Ravens’ 14-yard line.

Tannehill went to his top target, wide receiver A.J. Brown, who caught an in-breaking route short of the sticks. According to ESPN, he had an 11% chance of scoring when he did.

Safety Chuck Clark had a shot to wrap him up 4 or 5 yards from the first-down marker. Brown wriggled free. Then cornerback Marcus Peters tried to grab him by the waist. He couldn’t. Cornerback Marlon Humphrey whiffed on a tackle attempt. Inside linebacker Patrick Queen’s last-ditch attempt to rip the ball out didn’t work. Brown went into the end zone standing up. A successful 2-point conversion made it 24-21.

The Ravens took over with 2:18 remaining. All they had to do was score against one of the NFL’s most injury-depleted and leaky defenses. Their hurry-up offense did what it had to, moving into field-goal range in less than a minute. But a false-start penalty and a pair of red-zone incompletions denied them a shot at the win. Kicker Justin Tucker’s 29-yard field goal with 18 seconds left sent the game into overtime.

Tensions were high, even minutes before kickoff. Just as they did last season, the Titans huddled at midfield, on the Ravens’ logo, after coming out of their locker room. With his team still preparing inside, Ravens coach John Harbaugh got into a shouting match with Tennessee cornerback Malcolm Butler, who was yelling at the sideline.

The two were quickly separated. After Butler and other Titans players were pulled back to their sideline, Harbaugh had a spirited conversation with coach Mike Vrabel. The feistiness soon bled into the game; wide receiver Willie Snead IV and Butler tussled after the first play from scrimmage.

The Titans started the game with all the momentum of their 2019 win. After forcing a three-and-out, they covered 79 yards in nine plays, thanks in part to a pass-interference penalty on Humphrey, and took a 7-0 lead with a 1-yard touchdown pass to Jonnu Smith.

The Ravens offense soon found its way. It just couldn’t find a way to the end zone. They scored on their next three first-half drives, but settled for a 30- and 27-yard field goal from Tucker. It wasn’t until rookie running back J.K. Dobbins’ 2-yard touchdown run five minutes before halftime that the Ravens converted against one of the NFL’s worst red-zone defenses. Dobbins finished with a team-high 70 yards on 15 carries.

After Tennessee got a 40-yard field goal from Stephen Gostkowski, the Ravens entered halftime leading 14-10. A 31-yard touchdown pass to tight end Mark Andrews (five catches for 96 yards) extended their advantage to 21-10.

Instant analysis

Daniel Oyefusi, reporter: Sometimes it’s the little things in football. The Ravens were 1-for-4 in the red zone during a game that they controlled for much of Sunday afternoon. Derek Wolfe and the rest of his peers along the defensive front played their hearts out without Calais Campbell and Brandon Williams, but you can only limit the best running back in the NFL for so long. An offensive line shakeup still couldn’t solve problems for a stagnant offense. With a 6-4 record and a quick turnaround before playing the 10-0 Steelers on Thanksgiving, the Ravens are officially fighting for the playoff lives.

Jonas Shaffer, reporter: The Titans ended the Ravens’ playoff run last season. They might’ve marked the beginning of the end of their playoff hopes Sunday. Derek Wolfe said afterward that the Ravens just can’t seem to put a 60-minute game together, and it’s hard to see them finding their feet this late in the season. Getting Calais Campbell and Brandon Williams back will help the defense. But the offense? That’s looking more and more like a lost cause.

Childs Walker, reporter: This was a true gut-punch loss, because the Ravens did so much right for so much of the game. They limited all-world running Derrick Henry for three quarters and built an 11-point lead in the third quarter. But they could not do what they talked about all week — finish. Their offense simply is not sharp enough to put opponents away, and their undermanned defense wore down in the end. The Ravens made several key adjustments as they tried to put their season back on track. They replaced Matt Skura with Patrick Mekari at center. They abandoned their running back rotation to ride J.K. Dobbins. They turned to Dez Bryant for a spark at wide receiver. All of these decisions worked to some degree, but they could not save an offense that’s still struggling to connect on plays downfield and outside the hashmarks. The Ravens had several chances to build on a two-score lead in the second half, and they could not sustain a drive. With the undefeated Steelers waiting for them in four days, we have to wonder if this season is on the verge of slipping away.

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