The Ravens were without eight key contributors on the defensive side of the ball for the majority of the week leading up to the game in Indianapolis on Sunday. But for the first half, the offense looked like the unit that didn’t get any practice time.
They trailed by just three points, courtesy of a Chuck Clark scoop-and-score touchdown, but otherwise, the offense looked out of sync in so many ways.
Then Baltimore turned up the pressure in the second half, sped up the pace and took control for a 24-10, hard fought win over the Colts on the road.
“The devil was busy this week for us, and we just overcame it,” quarterback Lamar Jackson said.
For all of Jackson and the Ravens’ faults in the first half, he was perfect in the second half — literally perfect.
He went 10-of-10 passing for 119 yards and ran nine times for 43 yards and a touchdown to cap a 14-play drive, the most impressive one of the afternoon for the Ravens. The Ravens, after being shutout offensively in the first half, scored 17 offensive points in the second half. That total likely would’ve been more, had Gus Edwards not fumbled inside the Colts’ five-yard line.
The second-half turnaround was a much-needed boost for a Ravens team that couldn’t get things together, at least offensively, in the first half.
“I think it was our execution,” coach John Harbaugh said. “I thought Lamar, he did it with his arm and with his legs. That pass rush is pretty good, their coverage is really good, and there were times he had to step up out of the pocket and he ran and he’d get to four, five, six yards and he’d get to you to second and medium and second and 10. And that’s a big deal.”
Baltimore’s only points of the first half came off a strip by cornerback Marcus Peters and a recovery by safety Chuck Clark, who took it 65 yards into the end zone to make the game a 10-7 lead at halftime.
Despite poor play in the first half, the Ravens trailed by just three at the break. Then, even with defensive end Calais Campbell out with a minor left calf injury and cornerback Marlon Humphrey sidelined due to a positive COVID-19 test, the Ravens stepped up and rallied to dominate the second half of play.
“I think the biggest thing is that we all took it as, ‘Somebody just has to step up’” Peters said. “We can’t complain. We understand the situation that we’re dealt with right now. We know that things are going to be up and down throughout this whole year. So, we just have to find a way to adapt and overcome these types of situations.”
From top-to-bottom, all across the roster, the Ravens’ played almost immeasurably better in every facet of the game in the final two quarters. That goes especially for the offensive line, which allowed two sacks in the first half, but none the rest of the way.
“Yes, we definitely got off to a slow start — just based off the feeling out there,” left tackle Orlando Brown Jr. said. “I haven’t necessarily seen the film yet. In the second half, we came out ready to go. And the mentality and approach that we came out with, and the play-calling in those situations definitely was able to make the difference.”
For the first 30 minutes of game time in Indianapolis, the Ravens looked like they were fighting a hangover from last week’s loss to the Steelers, or unable to overcome the challenges that COVID-19 presented this week, or simply unable to beat the talented Colts’ defense.
But after the halftime break, the Ravens took control of a game in a way that just 15 minutes earlier looked nearly impossible.
“The mood for us after the game, everybody was happy, of course, because we won,” Clark said. “But our main goal was just to finish the game, because we haven’t been finishing lately a little bit. So, everybody was happy that we got the ‘W.’”