RAVENS TOP NINERS ON RAIN-SOAKED DAY
TUCKER’S LAST-SECOND 49-YARD FIELD GOAL SEALS BALTIMORE’S LATEST VICTORY
The offensive show wasn’ t quite as dazzling for quarterback Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens as they squared off with the rugged defence of the San Francisco 49ers in the driving rain Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium.
Jackson threw for one touchdown and ran for another, Justin Tucker kicked a field goal as time expired, and the Ravens extended their winning streak to eight games by beating the 49ers, 20-17.
“It was a gritty game,” Ravens Coach John Harbaugh said. “I think it was a grit win for us.”
Tucker’s 49- yarder won it for the Ravens after they converted on fourth and one from their own 44- yard line on their winning drive. Harbaugh, once a coach about as buttoned- down as they come, has become an analytics- driven fourth- down gambler with Jackson orchestrating the league’s most dynamic offence.
“We knew we were going to go for fourth and one at that point, if we got in that situation,” Harbaugh said. “We probably weren’t going longer, maybe. Maybe I would have gone fourth and two. I don’t know. But that was already decided.”
That final gamble by Harbaugh came after the teams had traded failed fourthdown tries earlier in the fourth quarter. The Ravens upped their record to 10- 2 and remained on the heels of the New England Patriots for the top seed in the AFC playoffs.
Jackson ran for 101 yards but had a modest 105 passing yards on 14-for-23 throwing accuracy. He called the conditions “horrible” for passing and acknowledged that he had gotten frustrated about that.
“It was ticking me off,” Jackson said. “A lot of passes were getting away from me.”
The Niners dropped to 102 as they try to stay ahead of the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC West and vie with the Seahawks and New Orleans Saints for the NFC’S No. 1 seed. Both of their losses this season — to the Seahawks in overtime and now to the Ravens — have come on final- play field goals. There is no time for the 49ers to lament this defeat, because they play at New Orleans next Sunday.
“We gave ourselves a chance,” cornerback Richard Sherman said. “That’s all you can do. ... We just didn’t make enough plays there.”
If this was a Super Bowl preview, the rematch in Miami should be competitive and entertaining. These two teams played a tight and compelling game in difficult conditions Sunday.
“I don’t think about February while we’re in December,” Sherman said. “We’ve got a lot of time, a lot of things to happen, four games to go. We’re going to get ready for New Orleans, and we’ll let the chips fall where they may in February.”
The game’s early going saw the Ravens punt for the first time with Jackson still in a game since Week 9 and trail for the first time since Week 7. They managed to lead 17-14 at halftime after deflecting a missed 51- yard field goal try by Niners kicker Robbie Gould as time expired in the first half.
The Niners struck first on a 33- yard touchdown pass from quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to wide receiver Deebo Samuel on a fourth- and- two play. Samuel outmanoeuvred Ravens cornerback Marcus Peters on what amounted to a jump ball. The Ravens got even by converting a fumble lost by Garoppolo on a sack into a touchdown pass from Jackson to tight end Mark Andrews.
In the second quarter, the Ravens sandwiched a touchdown run by Jackson and a field goal by Tucker around a 49ers’ touchdown on a 40- yard dash by running back Raheem Mostert. Sherman said the Baltimore offence was “about the same” as the 49ers expected. He praised the play of Jackson, a top league MVP contender.
“He’s a good decision- maker,” Sherman said. “He knows his angles. He knows his leverage. He knows when to get down. He knows when to stay up. He knows when to cut back, when to bounce outside.
“He knows when to keep it. He doesn’t take more than the defence will give him. He doesn’t waste time taking shots or looking downfield when it’s not there. He’ ll check it down and take what the defence gives him. So it’s cool. He played a good game.”
It all came down to a kick by the ultra- reliable Tucker, something the Ravens will take every time.
“The conditions were not great,” Tucker said. “But being able to come through for this team in that moment is really special.”
Said Harbaugh: “You wouldn’t rather have anybody else in that situation. That field, that wind, that rain, all that stuff that was going on there — that’s the guy you want in that situation. I’m very grateful that we have him on Thanksgiving weekend.”.
Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick threw for 365 yards and three touchdowns and the Miami Dolphins scored 23 unanswered points to upset the visiting Philadelphia Eagles 37-31 on Sunday.
Fitzpatrick completed 27- of- 39 passes and rallied the Dolphins ( 3- 9) from a 28-14 deficit. Wide receiver Devante Parker had seven catches for a career-high 159 yards and two scores.
Philadelphia quarterback Carson Wentz was 28- of46 for 310 yards and three touchdowns, but the Eagles dropped their third in a row and fell to 5-7.
Baltimore Ravens kicker Justin Tucker celebrates with teammates after making the game-winning field goal to beat the San Francisco 49ers 20-17 at M&T Bank Stadium on Sunday as two of the top teams in the NFL went toe to toe all afternoon.