Following a Baker Mayfield rushing touchdown to give Cleveland a one-point lead more than halfway through the fourth quarter, the prospects looked bleak for the Ravens to keep their playoff chase alive with a win Monday night.
Re-enter backup quarterback Trace McSorley, who had been called upon to relieve a cramping Lamar Jackson in the second half. McSorley, Baltimore's sixth-round pick in 2019 was the only available option coach John Harbaugh had to replace Jackson. Veteran quarterback Robert Griffin III, the team's second option, was out with a hamstring injury and undrafted rookie Tyler Huntley didn't dress.
McSorley trotted out on the field and started shakily, throwing an incomplete pass on a broken play-action play before handing it off to J.K. Dobbins, who was stuffed at the line of scrimmage. Then, McSorley made something magical happen.
"We're talking about Lamar, rightfully so. I got to give a shout out to Trace McSorley," ESPN's Dan Orlovsky said on Tuesday's "NFL Live" show. "This is the play of the game, third-and-10. If he doesn't make this play, Lamar never gets to be hero ball."
The Penn State product had a lot to do on his 13-yard completion to Willie Snead IV on third down and 10. Former pro QB and current QB guru Orlovsky broke it down.
"It's 'quarters' coverage. He's got Willie Snead on that seven-stop," Orlovsky explained. "How good is this? Like the defensive tackle wins his rep, you've got to move in the pocket, move your feet, get your body aligned, and make that throw for your football team to even have a chance. Shoutout to McSorley."
Though McSorley wasn't able to complete the drive - he sprained his knee while trying to get away from pressure on the next third down - the shoutout was certainly warranted. Without that clutch completion, Jackson wouldn't have had the chance to connect with Marquise "Hollywood" Brown for the late go-ahead touchdown on fourth-and-eight.
McSorley's reaction to that play says it all.
Unfortunately for McSorley, he'll be ruled out at least for the next three weeks after Baltimore placed him on the injured reserve list to recover from that sprained knee. Still, he can rest easy knowing he did his part to keep the team's season alive.