The Baltimore Ravens pulled off a close victory against the Arizona Cardinals in a game that was a tale of two halves. Much like last week’s game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Ravens came into the game heavily favored and despite losing terribly to the lowly Jaguars, were still ranked in the top ten of most power rankings.
Once again, football analysts and Ravens fans were expecting the Ravens to dominate the Cardinals much like the Ravens’ division rival, the Pittsburgh Steelers, did just last week. The Ravens were able to pull out the victory, but after one half of football, no one would have picked the Ravens to win the game.
Not only were they playing poorly, but everything seemed to be going against them as well. In the second quarter alone, the Cardinals were able to score three consecutive, unanswered touchdowns—all of them off of mistakes by the offense or special teams.
The defense was spectacular once again, but that didn’t seem to matter since the Ravens’ offense gave the Cardinals the ball inside the red zone twice and the special teams allowed a kickoff to be returned for a touchdown. Those three, quick scores put the Ravens on their heels.
Everything seemed to go wrong for the Ravens in the first half, but they came out and turned the game around with strong defensive play and surprisingly consistent play by the offense. The offense turned to the quick passing game, and Flacco was able to have success throwing the ball out of the no huddle offense.
After allowing three unanswered touchdowns, the Ravens’ offense scored 24 unanswered points to take the lead in the game 27-24. The Cardinals managed to tie the game with a 12 play, 53 yard drive that ended in a field goal and was extended by a phantom pass interference call on Ravens’ cornerback Lardarius Webb.
With the score tied up, Flacco led the offense 37 yards down the field for a game-winning field goal by kicker Billy Cundiff. The Ravens final drive was setup by Ravens’ punter Sam Koch, who pinned the Cardinals inside their own 5-yard line on their previous possession, and finished with an excellent catch by Ravens’ receiver Torrey Smith that put the offense in field goal range.
This definitely wasn’t a pretty game, but for the Ravens, a win is a win. Even though many people will still downgrade them for a poor performance in the first half against a 1-5 team, this was actually a positive game for the Ravens. Not because they looked great, obviously, but because they learned a lot about themselves as a team. Let’s take a look at what we learned about the Ravens in this game.