For this week’s Bold Predictions piece, I had gone out on a limb and said this game wasn’t going to become a nail-biter. I suppose it’s safe to say I was wrong on that one.
It didn’t look like it was going to be that way for a while. In fact, to put it delicately, it looked like the Colts were going to kick the crap out of us. The offense looked lost on their opening few drives, and Jonathan Taylor spent the early portion of his evening gashing our defense. Next Gen Stats pretty much tells the story of the likelihood that the Ravens were going to show any life in this one:
FINAL: Ravens 31, Colts 25
The #Ravens win probability was as low as 4% with just over six minutes remaining in the 4th quarter.
— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) October 12, 2021
The Colts left some points on the board as well, with a missed extra point and a failed 2-point conversion, but it seemed like those were going to be afterthoughts in a disappointing home loss. After all, the Colts were 120-0 when leading by 16 points in the fourth quarter.
Then the latter portion of the fourth quarter rolled around, and… I can’t even describe it. The Ravens needed about a billion different things to go their way to have a chance to win, and somehow, some way, they did. Hollywood Brown may have said it best: “We always got a chance when we got #8 at quarterback”. (via @Ravens on Instagram):
Let me preface this by saying that Lamar Jackson is not a perfect football player. Last night’s game was no exception, as he fumbled a goal-line opportunity that almost produced six points the opposite direction. But what he did to turn the game around can’t be overstated: he played a game Ravens fans are never going to forget. (via @NFL on Twitter):
Career high in passing yards.
Franchise record for most passing yards in a game.
16-point comeback in OT.
— NFL (@NFL) October 12, 2021
Jackson’s performance down the stretch was nothing short of surgical. In the final three scoring drives, he went 20 for 22, completing 90.9% of his passes and producing three touchdowns. His final passing figure of 442 yards was enough to break Baltimore’s franchise record for most passing yards in a single game. He accounted for 96% of the Baltimore’s total offense on the evening. Bear in mind that this is after losing Sammy Watkins to a hamstring injury in the first half. The final figure was so good that even the man himself was impressed (BR Gridiron on Twitter via Ravens):
Lamar’s reaction 😂
— B/R Gridiron (@brgridiron) October 12, 2021
Coach Harbaugh broke it down after the game and said what was on all of our minds: this was an amazing performance.
— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) October 12, 2021
While the awestruck appreciation of an incredible game is all well and good, my favorite reaction of the night comes from former Ravens running back Justin Forsett, who took the facetious route in describing what we saw from #8:
Man it’s crazy how these NFL defenses have caught on to this Lamar Jackson offense.
— Justin Forsett (@JForsett) October 12, 2021
Speaking of guys who came up big, let’s take a second to talk about a gigantic play from a gigantic human being: (via Ravens on Twitter)
.@CalaisCampbell BLOCKS THE KICK❗️❗️❗️❗️
Tune in on ESPN! pic.twitter.com/o3q5dWGMde
— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) October 12, 2021
If Calais Campbell doesn’t get a paw on this ball, the game was pretty much put away. Ravens fans in attendance at M&T last night had their personal effects in hand getting ready to head for the exits, but Campbell’s huge block breathed new life into the Ravens and set the table for the fantastic finish we were getting ready to see.
After the Ravens tied it up and Rodrigo Blankenship missed ANOTHER kick, the game went to overtime. The Ravens won the opening coin toss, and the red-hot offense took the field once again. By this time, I’d taken advantage of some of the Baltimore faithful heading to the exits a little early, and I secreted my way to a front row seat. The view of the final play looked a little something like this:
— Kevin McNelis (@KMackSports) October 12, 2021
For those who didn’t get to see it as it happened: (via NFL and ESPN)
LAMAR TO HOLLYWOOD TO WIN IT IN OT 🙌
— ESPN (@espn) October 12, 2021
The stands went absolutely insane. The only time I’ve ever experienced anything like it was when C.J. Mosley picked off Baker Mayfield to clinch the AFC North. I don’t remember much about that moment, because I was too busy screaming and hugging my dad. Learning from that experience, I took the time to savor the moment among my fellow members of the Flock who were going insane. It was pure, unbridled joy from a group that brought the noise and shook the Bank all night long. It was an incredibly rewarding payoff for the fans that stuck it out until the end. And it was one of the greatest moments I’ve ever had as a football fan.
I’m about half deaf this morning. My voice is completely shot. I didn’t get home until about 1:30 in the morning. And it was totally, 100% worth it.