Let’s start this by looking at where the Ravens were at halftime of this game. Down 10-3, after a penalty by Marlon Humphrey gave the Colts a mulligan on a missed kick, here were some of my notes:
“Lamar up and down. Offensive line is dreadful. Averett is not doing his best work. Andrews having a nice game.”
Yeah, that got worse. Like, way worse. But the Ravens showed some grit, their quarterback showed the world that he belongs in that superstar-MVP conversation and the team won an instant-classic that shaved the collective lifespans of fanbases in Maryland and Indiana by approximately 3.8 years.
Let’s just get to some grades, already.
The team started out with three three-and-outs, averaged 3.4 yards per carry and fumbled a ball away at the opponent’s 1-yard line. But, yeah, they get an “A.” Putting up 523 yards and 31 points, and scoring touchdowns on their final four possessions gets you that grade.
At one point in the third quarter, after that aforementioned fumble, I looked at Jackson’s stats, which were nice on the surface, and had a “C” in my mind after that turnover and missing Marquise Brown twice on what should have been touchdown passes.
But Jackson got hot, pulled his team to victory and posted this stat line: 37-43, 442 yards, four touchdowns and 62 hard-fought yards on the ground. He was, well, heroic, spectacular and gritty. Those are all good things.
Running Backs: D
This is just not a terrific unit right now, and they contributed 24 yards on 11 carries. They did add seven catches between the three of them, but it was telling to me that the Ravens came out in an empty backfield at the start of overtime when the clock was no longer a factor. Devonta Freeman, in particular, did do some nice things in the receiving game.
Mark Andrews went for 11 catches and 147 yards, to go along with two touchdowns, and Marquise Brown also chipped in two touchdowns, to go along with nine catches for 125 yards. It feels like Andrews and Brown have both elevated their games greatly this season. Devin Duvernay and James Proche both had important catches, and Sammy Watkins had two early grabs before leaving with an injury. This is a deep unit, and the hope is Rashod Bateman follows soon.
Offensive Line: C-
It just doesn’t look good at all in the run game, and there were some breakdowns early in pass blocking. They did hold up well in the fourth quarter and overtime, and Jackson got enough time, and bought a little more himself, to get the job done.
They gave up more than 500 yards, made Carson Wentz look far more competent than Carson Wentz should ever look, and got pushed around consistently, when they weren’t missing tackles or getting beat to the edge. There were some good individual performances, and we’ll get to those.
Defensive Line: C
Justin Madubuike got an early hit on Wentz, and Brandon Williams made some strong-man stops. But the Colts really did a lot of what they wanted to, and that often falls online play. Last but not least was Calais Campbell, who played one of the best games of his Ravens career. It seemed that every good run stop had 93 in the pile, and his tackle-for-loss, followed by blocked field goal, made this comeback possible.
The tackling continues to be a problem, though Patrick Queen did knife in late for a terrific run stop. Odafe Oweh got another sack-and-strip, which kept the Ravens in the game early, and made a nice tackle on an outside run, chasing Jonathan Taylor to the sideline. Tyus Bowser was a force in the first quarter, and slowed down some of those swing passes by dropping into coverage later. Justin Houston had a tough-luck penalty on a sack late, but got beat outside on a few run plays.
Defensive Backs: D
Chuck Clark has been tremendous all season, but took some poor angles in this game. Anthony Averett had the worst game of his season, and Marlon Humphrey missed a tackle or two, though he did have a nice pass breakup. I thought Brandon Stephens did a very solid job, and seems to improve each week. He finished with 12 tackles and a good hit on Wentz.
Special Teams: C
They did a nice job on kick coverage, and Devin Duvernay had a nice return to set up the overtime drive. Sam Koch blasted four punts, and Calais Campbell had a game-saving blocked field goal. But… Tucker didn’t kick a 70-yarder and I will forever ding this unit until that happens. (They had a nice overall game on teams)
There were a lot of receivers running open for the Colts, and that was concerning. On the flip side, it is nice to see the Ravens finding open space in their routes, too. This game was a testament to Jackson’s brilliance and the team’s overall will. That last part falls at least partly on coaching.