Here’s what the Baltimore Sun sports staff had to say immediately after the Ravens’ 20-19 loss against the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium:
Jonas Shaffer, reporter: This loss embodied the best and worst of the Ravens’ second half. They were missing their Pro Bowl quarterback in Lamar Jackson, plus starting center Bradley Bozeman, and still they moved the ball well against a talented, well-coached Rams defense. They got kicker Justin Tucker’s usual elite accuracy. They were even opportunistic on defense, a welcome development. But they couldn’t convert in spots that they had to, and they couldn’t get one last stop when they needed to.
Childs Walker, reporter: The Ravens (8-8) remain alive on paper, but their hopes of making the postseason likely died when they could not keep the Rams out of the end zone in the last minute. Again, they came up short by an excruciatingly slim margin against a healthier, more talented opponent. Throw out their blowout loss to Cincinnati and they’ve lost four games by a total of five points during their fall from the top spot in the AFC.
The Ravens gave themselves a far better chance to win than anyone could have expected by doing something they have not done all season: creating turnovers. Safety Chuck Clark made a superb read in coverage to create an early pick-six, and outside linebacker Tyus Bowser made a remarkable adjustment to strip Matthew Stafford on a potential Rams scoring drive to start the second half. The Ravens made their own costly mistakes on offense, most notably an interception on which quarterback Tyler Huntley and wide receiver Marquise Brown misread one another. But Huntley again showed poise, answering with scoring drives each time the tide seemed about to turn. With a chance to lead a game-winning drive at the end, he could not muster any more magic.
Ryan McFadden, reporter: With the amount of injuries on the defensive side, I didn’t expect the Ravens to keep this game as close as it was. The Ravens took advantage of three turnovers from Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford, but they folded down the stretch. Baltimore had a hard time tackling, and record-setting Rams receiver Cooper Kupp kept getting wide open.
Backup quarterback Tyler Huntley wasn’t great, but he did keep the Rams’ defense on its heels by using his legs to extend plays. The Ravens’ offensive line had hard time containing the Rams’ pass rush as expected, allowing five sacks, including a a big one from Von Miller at the end of the game that sealed the Ravens’ fate and maybe their playoff hopes.
C.J. Doon, editor: When you’re fighting for a playoff spot, every little thing matters. Ravens quarterback Tyler Huntley’s miscommunication with wide receiver Marquise Brown at the end of the first half led to an interception and a Cooper Kupp touchdown, cutting the lead to 13-7. The Ravens’ 12-play, 59-yard drive that took 7:39 off the clock in the fourth quarter stalled at the goal line, leading to just three points and a 19-14 lead. Rams tight end Tyler Higbee’s overturned fumble was oh-so-close to being a game-changing turnover. On fourth-and-5 with the game on the line, cornerback Tavon Young couldn’t quite break up a pass to receiver Odell Beckahm Jr. With a backup quarterback and a depleted roster, the Ravens needed everything to go their way to beat one of the NFC’s best teams. If the Ravens do indeed miss the playoffs, coach John Harbaugh and Co. will rue those missed opportunities Sunday.
Tim Schwartz, editor: Just when you thought the Ravens have suffered enough heartbreaking defeats this season, they lose a must-win game to the Rams despite controlling the majority of the game and leading most of the way. Chuck Clark intercepted two Matthew Stafford passes, including one for a pick-six, and it still wasn’t enough for the Ravens, who saw their playoff hopes all but disappear in another simply brutal loss. During this five-game losing streak, Baltimore has lost three by a single point. That seems unfathomable, but maybe it was meant to be this cruel considering how many injuries to star players this team had to overcome. Backup quarterback Tyler Huntley’s stock continues to rise, but Lamar Jackson’s absence is more proof that this team revolves around him.