By Demetrius Dillard
Special to the AFRO
Only moments before the Baltimore Ravens and Chicago Bears kicked off, backup quarterback Tyler Huntley found out he’d be starting in Lamar Jackson’s spot, raising questions on how the sudden lineup change would affect the outcome.
Well, it turns out Huntley got the job done in his first career start, leading the Ravens’ winning drive with less than two minutes remaining in the game. His 29-yard pass to Sammy Watkins on third-and-12 set up a game-winning three-yard rush by Devonta Freeman.
Baltimore overcame another deficit to edge the Bears, 16-13, at Soldier Field on Nov. 21. Huntley, the second-year quarterback who posted a few noteworthy performances throughout the preseason, went 26-for-36 passing for 219 yards. He made the Ravens organization proud by stepping up to the plate and helping them fight through adversity for a pivotal bounce-back win.
“For him to come in, Tyler Huntley to play quarterback ,the way he did and to find a way to win that game at the end. To take the team down in a two-minute drive and win that game, it’s a good launching for his career, would you say?” Harbaugh said.
“That’s just the kind of guy he is, and all of our guys had confidence in him, and he came through.”
Jackson was ruled out due to an illness. He felt sick Saturday and woke up Sunday feeling even worse, reports said. As much as he still wanted to compete, his condition didn’t allow him to. He left his teammate with some encouraging words as Huntley was faced with the challenge of taking the reins in his stead.
“It’s crazy. I was walking towards the bus and Lamar texted me, he said, ‘Go do your thing today. I’m going to be watching,'” Huntley said. “And I was like, ‘All right, let’s go.'”
For the first 56 minutes of the game, Baltimore was held to only six points. But as it has on so many occasions this season, the team strung together a series of timely late-game plays, managing to score a touchdown and a field goal in the final four minutes to come out on top.
The Ravens won without Jackson, receiver Marquise “Hollywood” Brown, cornerback Anthony Averett, left tackle Ronnie Stanley and running backs J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards, and a host of others included on the team’s lengthy injured reserve list.
“I think if I was feeling the pressure, we probably wouldn’t even have won this game,” Huntley said. “You’ve just got to go with the flow about winning the game. We knew we had to go down there and score, so we practiced that every day in practice, two-minute drill, so that’s all it came down to.”
Though they accrued less yards than the Bears (299 to 353), the Ravens were more successful in first-down conversions, finishing with 23 to Chicago’s 14.
The victory over the Bears (3-7) keeps the Ravens atop the AFC North and marks the fourth game this year they have won by seven points or less.
As for Jackson, he is reportedly feeling better as Baltimore rolls into an important week of practice as it prepares for one of its most crucial matchups this season. However, he is still questionable for Week 12.
Up next for Baltimore will be divisional opponent Cleveland Browns, who are coming off a tight 13-10 win over the Detroit Lions. Though the Browns are last in the AFC North at 6-5 overall, a shift in the standings can be decided by only one or two games as all four teams in the division have a winning record.
The two will square off for the first time this year at M&T Bank Stadium on Nov. 28 at 8:20 p.m.
In other news: McSorley signed by Cardinals off Ravens roster
Former Baltimore Ravens backup quarterback Trace McSorley, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
“Arizona is signing QB Trace McSorley off the Ravens’ practice squad and on to the Cardinals’ roster, per source,” Schefter tweeted on Monday evening.
The Penn State product and third-year pro will be reportedly signed by Arizona onto its 53-man roster off Baltimore’s practice squad.
McSorley expressed gratitude toward the Ravens organization for giving him the opportunity to showcase his talent on the biggest football stage in a tweet.
“Incredibly thankful for my time as a @Ravens and the opportunity they gave me to realize a childhood dream. I cherish all the relationships I had with the teammates, coaches, staff and fans there and wish them nothing but the best the rest of the season!” McSorley said.
“That being said I couldn’t be more excited for this new opportunity with the
@AZCardinals. Ready to get to work and keep this train moving forward. LETS GO!! #RedSea.”
He made the Ravens’ roster in 2019 as a third-string quarterback and has remained in that role this season behind Lamar Jackson and Tyler Huntley. In his stint with the team, he made three regular-season game appearances, two of which came last season.
A back injury early in the season essentially eliminated McSorley from competing for the No. 2 quarterback spot behind Jackson, but the 26-year-old is elated for what the future holds as he embarks on the next chapter of his NFL career.
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