The Baltimore Ravens and Indianapolis Colts engaged in a relatively uneventful game Sunday for one featuring two playoff contenders, as the Ravens surged after halftime for a 24-10 victory. The Colts held a slim lead at the break, but the Ravens outscored Indianapolis 17-0 in the second half and slowly expanded their lead, putting it out of reach for a stagnant Colts offense. Lamar Jackson threw for only 170 yards with no touchdowns, but rushed for a team-high 58 yards with a score.
On the other side, Philip Rivers was horrible. He was errant on several throws, threw one interception and had a few others that could have easily been picked off. Indianapolis fed Jordan Wilkins after rookie Jonathan Taylor fumbled in the first quarter, leading to a Baltimore defensive score. The Colts actually outgained Baltimore, 339-266, in the loss. The Ravens improved to 6-2 behind the perfect Steelers in the AFC North, while the Colts dropped out of a first-place tie in the AFC South after the Tennessee Titans beat the Chicago Bears.
Why the Ravens won
Baltimore’s offense was neither effective through the air nor on the ground. The Ravens amassed 266 total yards on 63 plays (4.2 yards per play) compared to 5.2 yards per play by Indianapolis. The Ravens also had two turnovers and more penalties than their competitor. The difference in the game was the magnitude of Indianapolis’ turnovers. The game-tying touchdown in the first quarter was a defensive score. Later in the game, Marcus Peters pulled down a controversial interception, which set up Lamar Jackson and the offense with good field position.
Why the Colts lost
Baltimore did a marginally better job of protecting the football and the Colts did not get a defensive score to boost their total like the Ravens. Philip Rivers and the offense were not very good. The rushing attack was somewhat effective but overshadowed by a fumble from rookie running back Jonathan Taylor. Rivers missed some throws down the field and was fortunate to have just one interception. Indianapolis was unable to produce the big play to put them over the top. When Baltimore started to stack scores, it became obvious that the Colts offense did not have the firepower to keep pace.
Play of the game
Indianapolis was leading 7-0 with a 1st-and-10 from the Baltimore 45-yard line. Taylor took a handoff right around the edge for an eight or nine-yard gain when cornerback Marcus Peters stripped the football loose. It was picked up by safety Chuck Clark and returned for a touchdown. Rivers fell down on the play and Clark leaped over him en route to the end zone for a game-tying touchdown late in the first quarter.
Stat of the game
Lamar Jackson has tied former Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino for the best start, 25-5, by a quarterback to begin his career. Marino won 147 of the 240 games he started over the course of 17 seasons. Jackson has already been named an NFL MVP and was a first-team All-Pro in 2019.
Baltimore travels to Foxboro next weekend to face the Patriots on Sunday Night Football. In fact, the Ravens have four primetime games in their next five, including a rematch against the AFC North leading Steelers.
Indianapolis has the first of two meetings against the AFC South rival Titans in a three week span. A home game against the Packers is sandwiched between those games against Tennessee.