In what was easily the Ravens’ most impressive road victory of the season, Baltimore escaped with a hard-fought but well-earned overtime win, 16-13, over the San Diego Chargers on Nov. 25 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, Calif.
The Ravens trailed 13-3 after stinking up the joint on offense throughout most of the first three-and-a-half quarters, but they suddenly came to life with seven minutes left in the game. That’s when quarterback Joe Flacco found a rhythm with his receivers, and completed 7-of-8 passes to march the Ravens down the field for a scoring drive capped off with a four-yard touchdown pass to tight end Dennis Pitta.
The Ravens then came up with a stop defensively to get the ball back again for a chance at a game-tying field goal nailed by rookie kicker Justin Tucker to force overtime.
After the Chargers were stopped twice on offense in overtime, Flacco marched the Ravens downfield again for a game-winning field goal, once again nailed by Tucker.
Most Outstanding Player(s) of the Game:
Joe Flacco has played extremely well during home games this season but he has struggled on the road. That wasn’t the case today as he broke his road-game funk late in the fourth quarter, catching fire with his receivers. Flacco finished the game completing 31-of-50 passes for 355 yards and a touchdown. His main target for the game was second-year receiver Torrey Smith, who hauled in seven passes for 144 yards, including a big-time 20-yard catch that placed the Ravens in game-winning field goal range in overtime.
Ray Rice also had an amazing performance as he caught eight passes for 67 yards, while also rushing for 97 yards on 22 carries. Rice’s biggest play came late in the fourth quarter as he caught a short pass from Flacco and ran 30 yards to pick up a first down on fourth down and 29 yards to go. No one expected the Ravens to pick up the first down on that play, but Rice made something out of nothing, breaking a couple of tackles as he pranced his way for the first down. Without that play, the Ravens lose the game, 13-10.
Unsung Hero of the Game:
Everyone will remember Ray Rice’s miracle play to keep the game alive for Baltimore, but it was rookie kicker Justin Tucker who actually delivered the final blows to San Diego to steal the overtime win. So much pressure goes into making kicks when the game is on the line, but Tucker makes everybody forget he is a rook as he continues to nail clutch kicks in the fourth quarter. He made a 38-yarder to send the game into overtime, then finished up with another 38-yarder to win it. Tucker now has two game-winning kicks this season and maintains his personal streak of no missed kicks in the fourth quarter, a streak he began while kicking for the University of Texas.
More Game Notes:
The Ravens did an excellent job defensively against the Chargers; San Diego’s veteran quarterback Philip Rivers has been struggling this season, but he’s still considered one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL and he has a history of murdering the Ravens secondary whenever he faces them.
But this time, Baltimore held him in check as Rivers finished with just 228 passing yards and an early touchdown on 23-of-36 passes completed. Chargers veteran tight end Antonio Gates, who also usually thrashes Baltimore, was held to just two catches for 13 yards. Chargers running back Ryan Mathews ran for 72 yards 19 carries.
Ravens safety Bernard Pollard led the team with seven tackles, while linebacker Jameel McClain added six tackles. Chargers’ defensive back Corey Lynch led San Diego with eight tackles.
The Ravens (9-2 overall) have won four straight games, eight of their last nine contests, and will head back to Baltimore where they’ll host the Pittsburgh Steelers (6-5 overall).