Crows always find new ways to make life difficult for themselves. This time, it was a fumble by running back Justice Hill as he drove deep into Cleveland Browns territory and had a chance to go up by six or 10 late in the fourth quarter. They escaped by the skin of their teeth when Malik Harrison blocked a 60-yard field goal attempt. to hold on for a 23-20 victory It was more about the courage of the survivors than any kind of grand new direction.

Here are five things we learned from Sunday’s game:

The Ravens avoided disaster but did little to address questions about their final kick.

How many times can we live in the same scenario without developing a collective ulcer?

Once again, the Ravens took a double-digit lead into the fourth quarter. Once again, their offense couldn’t close out the game as Hill coughed up the ball 16 yards from the Cleveland goal line. Once again, their defense looked in danger of melting down at a critical juncture until Browns wide receiver Amari Cooper was called for denying cornerback Marcus Peters the go-ahead touchdown.

“We had the lead again. What’s going to happen?” Coach John Harbaugh said his team recognized that troubling loop through seven weeks of the 2022 season.

The Ravens pulled themselves out of that tense Sunday, thanks to a blocked field goal attempt by Harrison (he was never too happy to be hit in the face with a football). Every win is precious in a league almost devoid of consistent excellence. But of late, each Ravens victory has felt like a sigh of relief — compared to the go-ahead statement quarterback Lamar Jackson quoted during his postgame news conference.

The Browns stumbled in this AFC North matchup, losing 38-15 at home to the New England Patriots. The middle of their defense was softer than scrambled eggs, and they threw away a series of close games in the fourth quarter.

But we’ve yet to see the Ravens dominate an opponent this season, and the Browns pass them more efficiently, averaging 6 yards per play to the Ravens’ 4. Great work on special teams, superior performance on third down and standout defensive plays — five sacks, five tackles for loss, three forced fumbles — saved them.

The Ravens hope to have the kinks straightened out by the end of the week, even if their struggles take different forms each time. “What we’re going through is just growing pains,” said outside linebacker Justin Houston, who returned from a back injury to contribute two sacks.

But they need a no-doubt performance to break out of their cycle, and that wasn’t the case. As Jackson said: “I wish it wasn’t close.”

The Ravens chose to grind rather than ride out a tough day for the offense.

Jackson’s passing line — 9-for-16, 120 yards, no touchdowns — was as unremarkable as they come, continuing a difficult streak that began in the Ravens’ Week 4 loss to the Buffalo Bills. . He didn’t always feel the pressure coming and struggled to find open receivers despite getting plenty of time. Browns tight end Mark Andrews, who made more of an impact as a low-yardage running threat than as a receiver.

Despite his modest stats, Jackson didn’t feel like he lacked rhythm as a thrower. “We bowled only 16 times,” he said. “So I wouldn’t say bad rhythm. They made good plays. I got sacked on a couple. I just had to get the ball out quick. … That was it.”

The Ravens ran 44 of 63 offensive plays, which Harbaugh described as more flow-based choices than patterns set by the Cleveland defense. “You’re trying to win the game by any means necessary,” he said.

“Don’t think you didn’t win the game for us,” Harbaugh said he told Jackson after the game. “Because you did.”

Jackson didn’t turn the ball over and kept the Ravens going with his usual clutch runs. He averaged 5.9 yards per carry on a day when the team averaged 3.6. Still, it’s hard to see how much his production has dipped since he threw for 749 yards and 10 touchdowns through the first three weeks of the season. He did not play against the 1985 Chicago Bears. Patriots backup Bailey Zappé threw for 309 yards and a pair of touchdowns in Week 6 against the Browns.

The Ravens will happily take their win and move on to plan for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but at some point, they’ll have to get out of this aerial rut.

If you want to know why the Ravens are number one in special teams efficiency, this week was Exhibit 1.

Harrison’s blocked field goal brought a fitting climax to a stellar all-around performance by coordinator Chris Horton’s staff.

Normally, kicker Justin Tucker is the star performer, and he was perfect on three field goal attempts, including a dead-on 55-yarder to provide much-needed breathing room in the fourth quarter.

This time, teammate Jordan Stout was just as good, turning the field around with a 69-yard punt in the second quarter and a bit of bad luck in the final minute when his 50-yarder went just short of the end zone. was faced with The fourth-round draft pick out of Penn State hasn’t lived up to his lofty expectations in the first six games of his career. That was what he had in mind. “You just knew he was going to play that kind of game,” Harbaugh said of the self-assured rookie.

And we can never forget return supreme Devin DuVernay, who did a remarkable job of waiting out his blockers and then picked his way along the sideline for a 46-yard punt return that gave the Ravens a second down. Three easy points in the quarter. “The way he blocks … he’s just amazing,” Harbaugh said.

We know how much time and money the Ravens put into building special teams weapons. This investment won them the game.

Great to see Gus Edwards back.

Edwards, playing for the first time in 21 months, No time was wasted in marking the state sheet. As he bowled on the Ravens’ first three offensive snaps. He ran as far as he did before tearing his ACL, LCL and hamstring, taking no unusual steps as he poked through the scraps of space available to him.

He would eventually score both of the Ravens’ touchdowns — a no-frills hero in a no-frills game. “All that power,” Jackson said admiringly. “We’re losing that power, and it showed today.”

We sell Edwards short by not recognizing his development as a versatile runner in his first three seasons as a Raven. He became a threat to cut out double-digit profits. But the sledgehammer work was his real calling card, and as Jackson noted, the team doesn’t have another back with Edwards’ skill set.

Edwards acknowledged the tortuous path he traveled in rehabilitating his knee through countless sessions in the cold tub and on the massage table. “It was up and down, up and down,” he said in his usual subdued tone.

Harbaugh hoped he would return as that blunt force. But “you never really know,” he said. “He looked good in practice; he looked like he was ready. We were patient with him, in terms of getting him back, but until you get to a game, it’s hard to tell.

Twenty-one months after last playing in an NFL game, Edwards battled for the crucial yards the Ravens needed to scrape through a divisional win. “He’s unique; he’s his own type of guy,” Harbaugh said. “Every back has a different style, and Gus’ style is very valuable to us.”

Don’t look now, but Patrick Quinn has put together three standout games.

We’ve overreacted to flashes from the 2020 first-round pick before, believing he’d finally sorted himself out based on a sack here or a cluster of tackles there. But it’s hard to remember the Queen making as consistent an impact as she has over the past three games.

Queen is usually best in att*ck mode, and he credited defensive coordinator Mike McDonald with creating free lanes for him when he made consecutive tackles behind the line of scrimmage in the second quarter against Cleveland. Malka added a sack – he has 3 1/2 on the season – along with a second attempt and led the Ravens with 11 total tackles.

To his credit, he didn’t overdo what he did. “My confidence is definitely growing, obviously, but it’s just a point of stacking up and being consistent while doing it,” he said. “I think in the past it used to be that I would have one game like that, and then it would go down, then I would have another game like that, then it would go down. So, to be consistent with that now. has only one point.

Spoken like a player who understands the bigger picture of his career. Quinn may not be the all-around middle linebacker the Ravens envisioned when they drafted him out of LSU, but when he’s firing in the backfield, he’s as game-changing as anyone on defense. Has the ability to put together plays. McDonald’s knows how to use it, and we’re starting to see consistent results.

Week 8

Crows in Buccaneers

Thursday, 8:15 p.m

Television Chaudhary. 2 stream: Amazon Prime

Radio: 97.9 FM, 101.5 FM, 1090 AM

line: Crow by 1

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