The Ravens’ playoff hopes are alive and well after they thwarted a potential season-defining collapse.
The Ravens' playoff hopes are alive and well after they thwarted a potential season-defining collapse.
The Ravens broke up the Philadelphia Eagles' potential game-winning 2-point conversion attempt with four seconds to play, and held on for a 27-26 victory before an announced 71,223 at rainy and windy M&T Bank Stadium.
Rookie quarterback Carson Wentz, attempting to complete a 10-point fourth-quarter comeback, scored on a 4-yard touchdown scramble to cut the Ravens' lead to 27-26. His team already eliminated from playoff contention, Eagles coach Doug Pederson opted to go for the two points and the win, but Wentz's pass, intended for Jordan Matthews, was tipped at the line of scrimmage and fell incomplete.
The deflection helped the Ravens survive after they had led 27-17 and had the ball on the Eagles' 11-yard line, looking for the knockout blow. But quarterback Joe Flacco curiously threw the ball on first down and an interception set the Philadelphia comeback in motion.
Kenneth Dixon scored on a 16-yard touchdown run and Flacco threw two touchdown passes, but also was intercepted once and fumbled on another possession, both turnovers leading to Eagles' points.
The Ravens are now 8-6 and remain in position to win the AFC North if they win their final two games, starting on Christmas Day against the division-leading Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Ravens salvaged an uneven first half when Flacco hit Steve Smith Sr. for a 34-yard touchdown to give the home team a 20-14 lead heading into intermission. Smith, who had left the game earlier in the drive with an apparent shoulder/neck injury after he dove to try and catch a Flacco pass, caught a nifty throw between cornerback Jalen Mills and safety Jaylen Watkins. Flacco pump faked on the play and then hit a tight window in between the Eagles' cornerback and safety.
Flacco finished the first half 11-of-21 for 123 yards and two touchdown passes. He got the Ravens off to a quick start, hitting Kamar Aiken for a 5-yard score, his first touchdown of the season. Zachary Orr's interception of Carson Wentz on the Eagles' first drive gave the Ravens good field position.
Caleb Sturgis and Justin Tucker traded field goals befoe Flacco set up the Eagles for a touchdown by fumbling the ball on a third-down sack by Philadelphia linebacker Nigel Bradham. Running back Kenneth Dixon whiffed on a block and Bradham jarred the ball loose.
Ryan Mathews ran the ball in from four yards out and then scored on a 2-point conversion, giving the Eagles an 11-10 lead.
The Ravens regained the lead temporarily on Tucker's 47-yard field goal, but the Eagles got the ball back and marched down on the field on a Ravens' defense that uncharacteristically couldn't stop the run. A 17-play, 59-yard drive ate up nearly eight minutes and ended with Sturgis' 34-yard field goal. Philadelphia had 10 rushes for 49 yards on the drive and Wentz also converted a fourth-and-1 by hitting tight end Zach Ertz for 11 yards.
But the Ravens drove 65 yards on eight plays, culminating the two-minute drive on Flacco's touchdown pass to Smith.