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Huntley to the Rescue

Tyler Huntley at the line against the Bears
Shawn Hubbard/Baltimore Ravens
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Lamar Jackson’s illness took a turn for the worse one day before the Ravens were playing the Bears in Week 11.

It became obvious Jackson would not be able to play, opening the door for Tyler Huntley to make his first career start in the regular season. It was a tough spot for Huntley, subbing for an NFL MVP candidate.

After some early jitters, Huntley settled down and led the Ravens to an improbable 16-13 victory.

“For him to come in and find a way to win, it’s a good launching for his career,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said.

The Ravens (7-3) took over the second seed in the AFC playoffs with Buffalo’s 41-15 loss to the Indianapolis Colts. Baltimore also remains in first place in the AFC North. The Patriots (7-4) now own the third seed.

Huntley threw a 30-yard pass to Sammy Watkins that gave the Ravens the ball inside the Chicago five-yard line. That play set up Devonta Freeman‘s winning touchdown run.

Huntley completed 26 of 36 pass attempts for 219 yards with an interception. He also ran for 40 yards on seven carries.

The Ravens are the fourth team in the last 40 seasons to record five or more 4th-quarter comeback wins in their first 10 games, according to EliasSports, joining the 1982 Raiders, 2009 Colts, and 2016 Lions.

It was a solid performance.

Outside linebacker Tyus Bowser had another solid performance. He finished with two sacks and had a third called back because of a penalty. He also had five tackles.

“This is a tough league to win games, man,” Bowser said. “Every win is a great win, regardless of how you get it. Whether it’s a 66-yarder, or a touchdown with 30 seconds left on the clock … What was it? Like nine … I forgot what the score was, but not a high-scoring game or whatever, but any type of way you can get a win, that’s all that matters.

“Like I said, these guys are resilient. They’re going to come out here and play hard. That’s all that matters to us – just winning [and] coming out of the week 1-0.”

The big plays plagued the Ravens again. Andy Dalton gave the Bears a 7-6 lead on a 60-yard touchdown pass to Darnell Mooney. At least three Ravens defenders missed a tackle on the play. Then, Bears wide receiver Marquise Goodwin beat Ravens cornerback Chris Westry on a double move and caught a 49-yard touchdown pass from Dalton with under two minutes left. Overall, though, the Ravens played mostly solid on defense and made a key stop at the end of the game.

Dalton has played some of his best games against the Ravens. In one of his most memorable moments, Dalton threw a 49-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Boyd with 44 seconds that gave Cincinnati a 31-27 victory that knocked Baltimore out of the playoffs in 2017. It looked like he had managed another improbable win, but the Ravens prevailed.

The Ravens running backs performed much better, and the team finished with 123 yards on the ground. Freeman (16 carries, 49 yards, 1 touchdown) ran hard and picked up some key first down. Latavius Murray (10 carries, 32 yards) also moved the chain with some aggressive runs.

Tight end Mark Andrews did a good job calming Huntley down with his ability to get open and make some nice catches. Andrews finished with 73 yards on eight receptions (10 targets).

“Belief, no matter the circumstances,” Andrews said. “There was a lot thrown at us this game. It was a very up-and-down game. But there were a lot of great plays made, and some plays that we need to work on. But that belief of keep on fighting until the very end, and then not giving up hope, I think that we kind of embody that.”

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