After the Ravens defeated the Indianapolis Colts in overtime, 31-25, and survived another chaotic finish on Monday night, tight end Mark Andrews perfectly described the past five weeks of the season.
“They’re taking a couple years off my life,” he said after the game, “but it’s been fun.”
The Ravens’ 4-1 start has featured some of the NFL’s best games so far this year. From double-digit comebacks to a historic game-winning field goal, each game has felt like it was ripped out of a movie script.
“They all are stressful,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said Wednesday. “Every one of these is like playing for the college football national championship. That’s how you feel in the games.”
Even though the Ravens’ games have been must-watch television, quarterback Lamar Jackson would rather not be in a position where he has to throw a game-winning touchdown or make a key play that leads to one.
“It has all been exciting games to the fans, not me,” Jackson said Wednesday. “Because I’ve been wanting to get the win with a comfortable lead and just chill, but we’ve been having to finish fourth quarters. It’s been tough, and we’ve just got to keep it going.”
Jackson and Harbaugh believe each game shares the same level of craziness, but some have been more unbelievable than others. Here’s how the Ravens’ first five games rank from least crazy to down-right insane:
Week 4: Ravens 23, Broncos 7
The Ravens extended their streak of games with at least 100 rushing yards to 43 on the final play instead of kneeling to run out the clock — which sparked a feud between Harbaugh and Broncos coach Vic Fangio — while Jackson showcased his arm strength, throwing a 49-yard touchdown pass to a diving Marquise “Hollywood” Brown. Besides that, there wasn’t much that made this game stand out.
Week 2: Ravens 36, Chiefs 35
M&T Bank Stadium was electric, as it was the Ravens’ first game at full capacity in more than a year. Meanwhile, two former MVP quarterbacks, the Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes and Jackson, were going head to head.
This game started the comeback magic for the Ravens. With the Ravens trailing 35-24 late in the third quarter, Jackson rushed into the end zone for a touchdown that cut the deficit to five. One drive later, Jackson gave the Ravens a 36-35 lead on a 1-yard run, which he capped off with a flip into the end zone.
Rookie outside linebacker Odafe Oweh had a “welcome to the league” moment when he forced Chiefs running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire to fumble at the Ravens 32-yard line with 1:26 left in the game.
But what really made this game memorable was the Ravens electing to go for it on fourth-and-1 with 1:05 left and Jackson getting it to solidify the win.
Week 1: Raiders 33, Ravens 27 (OT)
The overtime itself and the first game with fans in Las Vegas made this game one to remember.
With the game tied at 27, Raiders quarterback Derek Carr threw a deep pass to receiver Bryan Edwards, who extended his arm into the end zone. The Raiders stormed the field after the catch was ruled a touchdown, but after review, Edwards was down before the ball crossed the goal line.
A couple of plays later, Carr’s pass into the end zone bounced off safety DeShon Elliott and into the hands of cornerback Anthony Averett. Jackson would go on to fumble at the Ravens’ 27-yard line before Carr threw a 31-yard game-winning touchdown pass to Zay Jones to complete the comeback.
The ending wasn’t what the Ravens were hoping for, but each play down the stretch had everyone on edge.
Week 5: Ravens 31, Colts 25 (OT)
The Ravens trailed by 16 points with 12 minutes remaining in regulation, meaning they needed two touchdowns and a pair of two-point conversions just to tie. History said it wasn’t going to happen — the Colts had been 120-0 when leading by at least 16 points in the fourth quarter since 1984 — but once again the Ravens showed that if you have Jackson as your quarterback, anything is possible.
With 9:44 left in the fourth quarter, Jackson threw a 5-yard touchdown pass and then a 2-point conversion to Andrews that cut the deficit to 25-17. The Colts had an opportunity to seal the game with a 37-yard field goal, but defensive tackle Calais Campbell blocked the kick, which led to Jackson throwing another touchdown pass to Andrews and getting another 2-point conversion to tie the game with 46 seconds left.
The football gods were on the Ravens’ side once again. After cornerback Tavon Young was called for unnecessary roughness, Colts kicker Rodrigo Blankenship missed a 47-yard field goal attempt that would’ve won the game.
In overtime, the Colts defense appeared out of gas, which allowed Jackson to lead the offense down the field before throwing a game-winning touchdown pass to Brown.
“Expect the unexpected,” Harbaugh said Monday night. “We were talking in the locker room about which one of these crazy games is the one that was the best one, and we decided the next one. We said it’ll be the next one.”
Week 3: Ravens 19, Lions 17
With 26 seconds left, the Lions appeared to be a lock for their first win.
The Ravens trailed 17-16 and faced a fourth-and-19 from their own 16-yard line with no timeouts. Somehow, they were still able to pull off the impossible.
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Jackson lofted a 36-yard pass to wide receiver Sammy Watkins to push the Ravens near midfield with seven seconds left. After Jackson was forced to throw the ball away — a play that was controversial on its own as it appeared there could have been a delay of game penalty called — kicker Justin Tucker trotted onto the field and kicked a 66-yard game-winning field goal, the longest in NFL history, that bounced off the crossbar and through the uprights.
“It’s the type of the thing that will be remembered forever,” Jackson said after the game.
Sunday, 1 p.m.
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Line: Ravens by 3