Instant analysis from the Ravens' win over the Eagles
By The Baltimore Sun
Dec 18, 2016 | 3:19 PM
Mark Selig, Ravens editor: The Eagles moved the ball surprisingly well on the ground against a Ravens defense that has swallowed up far better rushing attacks.
Jeff Zrebiec, Ravens reporter: The Ravens are a flawed football team to begin with, but it's remarkable how difficult they make things on themselves sometimes. Up 10 and on the Eagles' 11-yard line with just over six minutes to play, the Ravens decided to pass the ball, and it almost cost them their season. Joe Flacco was intercepted, a play that started the Eagles' comeback. Ravens coach John Harbaugh called it after the game the "all-time worst [play] call ever," a line that surely won't be included on offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg's resume. Blame Mornhinweg for the way-too-aggressive play call and again abandoning the run. Blame Flacco for making an awful read and throw. And blame Harbaugh for not vetoing it. It was another Sunday in which the Ravens won in spite of their mistakes. That won't work next Sunday against the Steelers.
Mike Preston, Ravens columnist: The Ravens pulled it out, but they aren't a team that has gotten better in the past two weeks. They do absolutely stupid things to put themselves in the hole and they almost lost to a team with virtually no passing game. The Eagles actually beat them at their strength by running the football. As for the dumb interception late in the fourth quarter by Joe Flacco, no one can defend that. If the Ravens had lost, coach John Harbaugh would be in jeopardy of losing his job.
Mark Selig, Ravens editor: All year the Ravens turned comfortbale wins into nail-biters; this time they probably caused fans to chew off entire fingers. The Eagles moved the ball surprisingly well on the ground against a Ravens defense that has swallowed up far better rushing attacks. If Ryan Mathews can have a breakout game, what will Le'Veon Bell do? While everyone's sights were already set on Christmas Day, we can now officially focus on what will be a season-defining Steelers week.
Childs Walker, reporter: Wow, the Ravens made it more nerve-wracking than they needed to with shoddy run defense and a boneheaded fourth-quarter interception from Joe Flacco. But between effective pass coverage, strong performances from their running backs, a few clutch plays by Steve Smith and more brilliance from Justin Tucker, they handled their business. Next comes the biggest game of the season in Pittsburgh. Who knows what we'll see from this team in that situation? But they're in position.
Ron Fritz, sports editor: The Ravens deserved to lose this game. What happened to the defense? The Ravens were giving up a league-low 75.5 yards per game rushing, but allowed the Eagles to gash them for 169. They didn't pressure rookie quarterback Carson Wentz at all. On offense, Joe Flacco threw his worst interception of the season with the Ravens looking to put the game away. There are still so many issues with this team. This is not a playoff team. The Steelers' Le'Veon Bell might run for 200 yards by himself after seeing this game.
Edward Lee, Ravens reporter: This game went down to the final four seconds, when it really shouldn't have been that close after the Ravens had rolled up a 27-17 advantage with a little more than 11 minutes remaining. But the Ravens allowed the Eagles to make life stressful for every fan who knew that the team must earn a win to keep pace with the Pittsburgh Steelers, who ended up beating the Cincinnati Bengals. That will set up a huge game in Pittsburgh on Christmas Day, but the Ravens may have gotten their gift already.
Peter Schmuck, columnist: If the Ravens' intent was to give their fans and their coach a heart attack, mission accomplished. This should never have been a close game, but a fumble by Joe Flacco early and an absolutely inconceivable interception down the stretch brought the Ravens to within two yards of the practical end of their season. Oh well, it's off to Pittsburgh in search of a Christmas miracle.