Instant analysis: Ravens wake up in second half, beat Colts, 24-10, for 10th straight road win

Jonas Shaffer, The Baltimore Sun
·5 min read

Quarterback Lamar Jackson rebounded from one of the worst games of his career, and then one of the most unproductive halves of this season, to lead the Ravens to a gutsy 24-10 road win Sunday over the Indianapolis Colts.

Jackson finished 19-for-23 for 170 yards and added 13 carries for a team-high 58 yards inside Lucas Oil Stadium. He completed 12 straight passes to end the game, though none went to practice squad call-up Dez Bryant, who was active for the first time since Dec. 31, 2017. The performance marked a confident turnaround from a Week 8 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in which he had four turnovers and completed less than 50% of his passes.

Jackson, who put the game all but out of reach for the Colts (5-3) with a 9-yard naked-bootleg run early in the fourth quarter, outdueled Indianapolis quarterback Philip Rivers, who finished 25-for-43 for 227 yards and an interception. The Ravens (6-2) have won 10 straight road games and scored at least 20 points in an NFL-record 31 straight games.

It was an afternoon light on offense. The Ravens offense, missing left tackle Ronnie Stanley, finished with 266 total yards, limited for the entire first half by a stingy Colts defense. But they got help from their defense, which, despite missing cornerback Marlon Humphrey (coronavirus), inside linebacker L.J. Fort (finger injury) and, for most of Sunday, defensive end Calais Campbell (calf), limited Indianapolis to 339 yards and stopped two of three fourth-down chances.

It was a game of two halves. Ten minutes into the third quarter, the Ravens, almost improbably, led 14-10. And they probably should’ve been up 21-10.

On their first drive after halftime, the Ravens came out, quite literally, in a hurry. With a surprising hurry-up offense, the offense moved into Colts territory for just the second time all game. But on their first first-and-goal series all game, they came away with nothing. Colts defensive tackle DeForest Buckner punched the ball loose from running back Gus Edwards, and inside linebacker Darius Leonard recovered.

Indianapolis' momentum was short lived. Rivers had a deep shot intercepted by cornerback Marcus Peters, his third pick this season. Ten plays and 54 yards later, Edwards barreled in for a 1-yard touchdown. Jackson’s touchdown run with 11 minutes left in the fourth quarter pushed their lead to 21-10.

It was a drive that seemed impossible over the first 30 minutes. The Ravens entered halftime with just 51 yards of total offense. They averaged 2.2 yards per play and finished with more punts (five) than first downs (four). Running backs J.K. Dobbins (12 carries for 30 yards) and Gus Edwards (11 carries for 23 yards) combined for 4 rushing yards one week after going for 125 in the first half against Pittsburgh’s stingy run defense.

The team’s only score in the first half came courtesy of a 65-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown by safety Chuck Clark after Peters ripped a ball out for the second straight week. The Ravens have 12 defensive touchdowns since the start of the 2018 season, the most in the NFL during that span.

With the victory, the Ravens ended a 20-game losing streak when trailing at halftime, the longest active streak in the league and in team history.

Instant analysis

Daniel Oyefusi, reporter: Through one half against the Colts, the Ravens looked like a team that was clearly down two of its most valuable players and had not fully moved on from an emotional loss to a divisional rival. But I give credit to the Ravens coaching staff for making key adjustments on offense, particularly going with heavy sets to establish the run and getting Lamar Jackson in rhythm with quick throws. On defense, the move to acquire cornerback Marcus Peters and his penchant for taking the ball away was highlighted in a game in which the Ravens' secondary was stretched extremely thin. For all the questions that come with this team, they’re 6-2 and just beat a very good Indianapolis team. And the NFL this week has once again proved that there are very few great teams. The Ravens are in the “very good” bunch and that’s an envious place to sit at the halfway point of the season.

Jonas Shaffer, reporter: This was a “Remember me?” kind of game for the Ravens. Lamar Jackson showed that, yes, he can still move the ball despite a banged-up offensive line and a super-talented Colts defense. And the Ravens defense showed that, yes, they can still make life difficult for quarterbacks, even when they’re missing starters at every level of the unit. It wasn’t a game of offensive fireworks, but it doesn’t matter when you can still win by two touchdowns.

Childs Walker, reporter: Give the Ravens enormous credit for flipping the script after the Colts dominated them in the first half. They picked up their offensive tempo. Lamar Jackson threw accurately and used his legs judiciously. Their offensive line gave the backfield room to work after a terrible first half. Their defense, playing without Marlon Humphrey and Calais Campbell, controlled the Colts after a rough first quarter. Marcus Peters created two essential turnovers. Young players such as Justin Madubuike and Malik Harrison made important contributions to the effort. From pandemic-impeded practices to that shockingly flat first half, the Ravens faced a mountain of complications against a good opponent. If the 2020 season ends the way they want it to, we might remember this as the week when they found their legs.

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