Ravens give themselves some breathing room in AFC playoff picture

Ravens pull out gutsy win over Colts to help spot in AFC race originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

The Ravens described their win over the Colts on Sunday in a lot of ways. 

It was a comeback win where general manager Eric DeCosta used the word “fortitude.” Coach John Harbaugh used “challenging.” Quarterback Lamar Jackson used “different.”

Whatever the right word is, and however they got it done, the Ravens moved to 6-2 with their 24-10 win over the Colts and put themselves in prime position for the final half of the season.

“It was a tough, tough football game, and it took a lot of courage and mental toughness to win that game,” Harbaugh said. “Some really good, solid football in the second half, overcoming a lot of adversity. There’s a lot to it, you know, there’s a lot — just a lot of heart and mind that go into winning a NFL football game, and I’m very, very proud of our players for finding a way to win this football game.”

With a second half comeback win, the Ravens put themselves on a 12-4 pace in the regular season and guaranteed themselves a winning record at the end of the month, once their brutal five-game stretch has concluded. 

There’s still work to be done, sure, as they’ll travel to New England to face the Patriots on Sunday Night Football in a week. Then, they’ll face the Titans and Steelers within five days to cap a November where they’ll have faced some of the best teams in the AFC. 

And as of now, the worst record they can start December with is 6-5.

“I think they understood the gravity of the win,” Harbaugh said. “I think they understood how tough that win was, and know they feel good about it. They’re going to be proud of that one. We’re going to be proud of that win because of the team that we beat, the environment and the circumstances of the game and where our team is at. But you know what, we’ll get home, and then we go to work on the New England Patriots.”

The win kept them on pace with the still-unbeaten Steelers, who eeked out another win in the final seconds over the Cowboys. The big difference between the two AFC North rivals, however, is that the Ravens’ final five games are much easier. 

Baltimore will host Dallas, head to Cleveland, host the New York Giants and Jacksonville and then finish the season in Cincinnati. Just one of those teams has a winning record through Week 9. 

For a team that’s struggled to get to the level it was a year ago, Sunday’s win was perhaps the spark it needed to heat up down the stretch. It was the first win of the season for the Ravens when they had trailed at any point, and first win in 20 games when trailing at halftime.

“I feel a great spark, but it starts in practice,” Jackson said. “Have a great week of practice, and our guys will be good. Coach dialed it up the second half, and if we just keep doing it the same way, we will be fine throughout our games.”

The Ravens were without cornerback Marlon Humphrey, who tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday. Defensive end Calais Campbell was injured early in the game with a left calf injury and didn’t return. A few secondary players like Khalil Dorsey were banged up throughout the game, but the Ravens found a way to make it work. 

Against a team that could be fighting for playoff positioning with the Ravens late in the season, the Ravens gave themselves a massive win, both in the standings and how a win can feel.

“We just have to find a way to adapt and overcome these types of situations,” cornerback Marcus Peters said. “We saw when the guys went down during the game, like I said, guys just stepped up, and that’s what we need over here. Next man up and keep playing Raven football, and we’ll be alright.”

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nfl | ravens

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