Marlon Humphrey played the odds and was rewarded.
Reasoning that the Cincinnati Bengals would try to go for something quick to convert a fourth-and-3 at their 37-yard line with 1:46 left in the fourth quarter, the Ravens cornerback stayed close to wide receiver Cody Core and prevented him from converting the fourth down, cementing Sunday’s 24-21 win at M&T Bank Stadium.
Core was the first one to get his hands on the throw from quarterback Andy Dalton, but Humphrey got his hand on the ball and did just enough to get the ball to fall incomplete. The Ravens offense, in turn, ran out the clock.
“We were doubling [wide receiver Tyler] Boyd, and I figured it was going to be something short and something quick, so I tried to get my hands on it,” Humphrey said. “That was one of the emphases this week, was to try and get hands on it so you can disrupt the timing and kind of mess up the receiver and quarterback rhythm. [Dalton] threw it. I think it kind of stuck in his hands, kind of made a contested catch for him, and I was able to get it out at the end.”
The play was a contrast from last year’s season finale when the defense gave up a 49-yard touchdown strike from Dalton to Boyd on fourth-and-12 in a 31-27 loss that eliminated the Ravens from playoff consideration, and that difference was not lost on Humphrey.
“Crazy to talk about the situation last year,” he said. “I was on the field. I can’t remember. On that last drive when I looked up at the scoreboard, I was like, ‘This is bringing back some bad memories.’ ”
Humphrey was on the opposite end of Dalton’s 22-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver John Ross that gave Cincinnati a 21-13 lead with 5:45 left in the third quarter. But cornerback Jimmy Smith doubted that play weighed on Humphrey.
“He had great coverage on that play,” Smith said. “The guy made a play. It’s the NFL. I don’t think he was sweating it too much. He came back and made the game-saving play.”
Stanley powers through
The left ankle injury that sidelined Ronnie Stanley for one game was a noticeable problem for the starting left tackle Sunday.
Stanley, who played in his first game since hurting the ankle in a 36-21 loss at the Carolina Panthers on Oct. 28, aggravated the injury and limped off the field at least three times. At one point in the fourth quarter, he collapsed to the turf and was looked at by trainers.
“I definitely knew that if I could come back in, I was going to come back in,” he said. “That was throughout the game. I needed those little spurts of rest just for that pain. If I was able to come back in, I knew I was going to come back in.”
When Stanley was out, Jermaine Eluemunor lined up at left tackle. He started there in a 23-16 setback to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Nov. 4.
Left guard Alex Lewis made his second consecutive start after sitting out two straight games because of a pinched nerve in his neck. He was replaced by rookie Bradley Bozeman for a couple of snaps, but finished the game on the field.
Stanley’s and Lewis’ tolerance for pain impressed right guard Marshal Yanda.
“You’ve just got to keep fighting,” he said. “Next man in. Injuries happen, but it was good to see both of those guys return, though, and get them back. With Ronnie, the ankle’s going to bother him to some degree, but the good thing is he fought through it, and I’m proud of those guys.”
Look, ma! One hand!
Chris Moore made perhaps the catch of the game for the Ravens when the wide receiver used his right hand to catch a pass thrown behind him by rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson for a 14-yard gain in the third quarter.
Crossing the middle of the field, Moore turned back to tap Jackson’s sidearm pass to himself. Four plays later, rookie running back Gus Edwards ran 11 yards for the first touchdown of his career that helped the team tie the score at 21 with 63 seconds left in the period.
“Lamar thought I was going to sit down, and I was still running,” Moore said of his lone reception. “I get limited opportunities. So when I see that ball, I try to make the most of it.”
» The team deactivated quarterback Joe Flacco, center Hroniss Grasu, right tackle James Hurst (back), rookie wide receiver Jordan Lasley, rookie defensive tackle Zach Sieler, tight end Maxx Williams and outside linebacker Tim Williams (right ankle). Hurst and Tim Williams had been ruled out Friday. It marked Hurst’s fourth consecutive absence and the second in a row for Williams.
» Cincinnati scratched linebackers Preston Brown (knee) and Nick Vigil (knee), wide receivers A.J. Green (toe) and Josh Malone, right tackle Cedric Ogbuehi, cornerback KeiVarae Russell and defensive tackle Adolphus Washington. Hardy Nickerson and Vincent Rey replaced Brown at middle linebacker and Vigil at strong-side linebacker, respectively. John Ross made his second straight start for Green.
» Former running back Ray Rice attended the game as part of the Ravens’ “Legends of the Game” presentation that honored the members of the 2008 team that advanced to the AFC championship game. Middle linebacker Ray Lewis, left tackle Jonathan Ogden, kicker Matt Stover, center Jason Brown, tight end Todd Heap and safety Haruki Nakamura were also in attendance, as was wide receiver Jacoby Jones.