Baltimore Ravens kicker Justin Tucker (9) kicks the game winning field goal as St. Louis Rams defensive back Cody Davis (38) leaps in a failed attempt to block it during the second half of an NFL football game in Baltimore, Sunday, Nov. 22, 2015. The Ravens defeated the Rams 16-13. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Justin Tucker nailed a 47-yard game-winning field goal as the Baltimore Ravens came back from a 13-3 fourth quarter deficit to beat the St. Louis Rams, 16-13, on Nov. 22 at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Md.
The win, perhaps, saved any hopes of the Ravens (3-7 overall) reaching the playoffs, after winning just two of their first nine games played this season.
Unfortunately, the season is already over for two of the Ravens’ best players: Veteran quarterback Joe Flacco tore his MCL and ACL at the end of the game and will require season-ending surgery. Running back Justin Forsett broke his arm in the first half of the game and will also miss the rest of the season.
Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco (5) turns out of the pocket looking for an open man during the second half of an NFL football game against the St. Louis Rams in Baltimore, Sunday, Nov. 22, 2015. Flacco was injured in the closing minutes of the Ravens 16-13 win over the St. Louis Rams. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Baltimore’s offensive unit put on easily its ugliest performance during the first three quarters of the game. Veteran quarterback Joe Flacco was horrendous, sailing passes over the heads of most of his receivers. He tossed two interceptions that were so awfully thrown, many of the fans in the stadium began to leave, believing the game was simply unwinnable.
But the Ravens’ defense kept the score close by forcing several turnovers on the Rams’ offense. Baltimore forced four fumbles on the Rams, including two on St. Louis quarterback Case Keenum; Rams running back Todd Gurley also fumbled, and receiver Tavon Austin (formerly of Dunbar High School of Baltimore City) coughed the ball up, too, on a muffed punt catch.
Baltimore Ravens cornerback Lardarius Webb (21) breaks up a pass intended for St. Louis Rams wide receiver Tavon Austin (11) during the first half of an NFL football game in Baltimore, Sunday, Nov. 22, 2015. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Keenum’s second fumble loss came with just a minute left in the game, giving the Ravens the ball in Rams’ territory. Baltimore then moved about 15 yards up the field before setting up the game-winning field goal for Tucker.
Baltimore trailed, 13-3, with five minutes left in the fourth quarter. But, Flacco finally snapped out of his funk and led the Ravens on a quick scoring drive, capped off with a 3-yard touchdown pass to receiver Kamar Aiken that cut the Rams’ lead to 13-10. He later led the Ravens on another scoring drive that resulted in a short field goal by Tucker to tie the score at 13-13 late in the fourth quarter.
Flacco again had the Ravens moving as they approached Tucker’s game-winning field goal when one of his offensive lineman was pushed into the back of his legs, resulting in his knee injury. The eight-year veteran bounced right up after the fall but could be seen limping.
Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Jeremy Butler (17) breaks a tackle by St. Louis Rams cornerback Trumaine Johnson (22) during the first half of an NFL football game in Baltimore, Sunday, Nov. 22, 2015. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Nonetheless, he stayed in the game and finished the last few plays to set up Tucker’s kick. After the game, Ravens head coach John Harbaugh announced the news of Flacco’s injury.
Flacco will now miss action for the first time in his eight-year career; to date, he had never missed a single game since he was drafted and named starting quarterback in 2008. The Super Bowl MVP quarterback started all 122 of the Ravens’ regular season games since ’08, and also played in each of their 15 playoff games, including the 2012-’13 Super Bowl.
Knowing how durable Flacco has been, it was a shock to hear Harbaugh announce his season was over.
“It still feels a little surreal,” said Ravens linebacker Elvis Dumervil. “He’s an absolute iron man.”
Next – Baltimore will travel to Cleveland to face the Browns on Monday Night Football, Nov. 30.