BALTIMORE — All Tyler Huntley and the Baltimore Ravens needed was one great drive.
That was enough to reverse the team’s trend of late-game angst and keep the Ravens atop the AFC North.
Huntley led Baltimore 91 yards in 16 plays on its final possession, capping it with a 2-yard touchdown run with 28 seconds remaining that gave the Ravens a 10-9 win over the Denver Broncos on Sunday. Huntley took over when Lamar Jackson left the game with a knee injury after the first quarter.
Coach John Harbaugh said it is not a season-ending type of injury, and Jackson could be back as soon as next weekend.
“That was a great win. December football, you’ve got to find a way to win the game and I’m proud of our team,” Harbaugh said. “I’m proud of every single guy.”
With or without Jackson, the Ravens (8-4) were mostly shut down offensively. Neither team managed 300 total yards, but when it needed to, Baltimore drove almost the whole length of the field. The Ravens were aided by two big penalties — for unnecessary roughness and pass interference — on the Broncos.
Once in the red zone, Huntley converted on fourth-and-2 from the Denver 18 with a short run. Then he slipped a pass to Kenyan Drake along the sideline for 13 yards and scored his touchdown on the next play.
“We had to stay calm, focus on the play that was called at that time and just try to execute the best we could,” Huntley said. “I was just thinking about the game. Looking at the clock, how much time we had left in the game. That was my focus at that moment.”
Russell Wilson led the Broncos (3-9) back into Baltimore territory, but Brandon McManus came up short on a 63-yard field goal as time expired.
Denver’s offense couldn’t shake out of its season-long funk, and three field goals by McManus weren’t enough. The Broncos have lost four straight, scoring only 45 points in that span.
“I talked to the guys afterward in the locker room, and I’m just telling them that at the end of the day, the two things we can control is our attitude and our energy,” Wilson said. “If we can control those two things in the midst of the storm, we can turn this thing around.”
Baltimore‘s four losses were all by four points or fewer, and the Ravens were coming off a 28-27 defeat in which Jacksonville scored the winning touchdown and 2-point conversion with 14 seconds to play. This was a happier finish for Baltimore.
“Nobody flinched, nobody batted an eye,” Harbaugh said. “These guys were bringing blitzes from everywhere. Our tackles, our offensive line, stepped up. Every single guy on this offense made plays.”
Jackson left after being sacked by Jonathon Cooper on the last play of the first quarter. The 2019 NFL MVP didn’t seem as though he was in too much distress when he exited the sideline tent and walked to the tunnel, but he didn’t come back in the game.
Huntley went 27 of 32 for 187 yards with an interception. Wilson was 17 of 22 for 189 yards.
McManus made a 52-yard kick on the game’s first possession, but Huntley led Baltimore to a field goal on his first full drive. McManus connected from 41 near the end of the half and 50 in the third quarter.
The Ravens finally had another promising drive going in the fourth, but that ended when they ran a reverse pass on second down at the Denver 29. James Proche II threw deep into heavy coverage, and the pass was intercepted in routine fashion by Justin Simmons.
NOT ENOUGH POINTS
The Broncos have been playing low-scoring games all season. They’ve allowed the fewest points in the AFC, but they’ve failed to take advantage.
“We’ve got to finish. The guys know that,” Denver coach Nathaniel Hackett said. “Everybody’s trying to do everything they can to win, so I give them credit for that, but it hurts to lose, especially that way.”
The Ravens failed to force a turnover for the first time in 14 games. They also had fewer than three sacks for the first time in eight.
Baltimore LB Patrick Queen was carted off in the fourth quarter with a thigh injury, but Harbaugh said X-rays were negative and it’s a bruise. … Ravens LB Kristian Welch was evaluated for a concussion. … Patrick Mekari injured his foot, forcing the Ravens to go further down the depth chart at LT with Ronnie Stanley (ankle) inactive. … Denver WR Courtland Sutton injured a hamstring, but WR Jerry Jeudy (ankle) returned after missing the previous two games. Jeudy had four catches for 65 yards.
Broncos: Host Kansas City next Sunday.
Ravens: Play at Pittsburgh.
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