BALTIMORE — The Ravens earned a hard-fought 37-31 victory over the Los Angeles Rams in Week 14 to maintain a two-game lead in the AFC North.
Here’s the report card:
Quarterback — Lamar Jackson completed 24 of 43 passes for 316 yards with three touchdowns, including the go-ahead score to Zay Flowers with 1:16 left in the game. Jackson improved to 15-3 in regular-season games in December and January. Jackson missed some deep passes and was sacked three times, but he came up big when the team needed him most.
Running backs —The Ravens ran the ball just eight times for 37 yards in the first half. They were more committed to the running attack later in the game. The Ravens finished with 139 yards on 26 carries. Jackson led the way with 11 carries for 70 yards, followed by Keaton Mitchell (nine carries, 54 yards) and Gus Edwards (six carries, 15 yards). The Rams were committed to stopping the run and stacked the box.
Wide receivers — This unit did a solid job getting open for Jackson. Flowers led the team with six receptions for 60 yards and a touchdown. Odell Beckham was facing his former team for the first time and had four catches for a team-high 97 yards with a touchdown. If he and Jackson had connected on a couple of deep balls, the Ravens might have pulled away. Tight end Isiah Likely also played well in Mark Andrews’ absence and had five receptions for 83 yards with a touchdown.
Offensive line — Left tackle Ronnie Stanley was hampered by a hip injury and Pat Mekari was effective in his place. Center Tyler Linderbaum had a bad snap that led to a safety. Overall, this unit played tough, especially guard Kevin Zeitler and right tackle Morgan Moses. This group was also solid in pass protection, giving Jackson time to throw.
Linebackers — Roquan Smith finished with a team-high 10 tackles and his counterpart, Patrick Queen, had six. The Rams tried to run away from that duo and finished with 128 yards rushing. Kyle Van Noy had a couple of bone-jarring hits that helped set the tone in the second half. Outside linebacker Odafe Oweh was solid in applying pressure on Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford.
Defensive Line — Defensive tackle Justin Madubuike recorded his team-leading 11th sack. Madubuike has at least a half-sack in 10 consecutive games. He was also tied for second on the team with seven tackles, including one for a loss. Nose tackle Travis Jones had one of his best games with a sack. Fellow nose tackle Michael Pierce struggled against the Rams’ offensive line. Los Angeles running back Kyren Williams carried the ball 25 times for 114 yards.
Secondary — Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford was 23 of 41 for 294 yards with three touchdowns. Wide receiver Cooper Kupp finished with eight catches for 115 yards and was consistently able to get open. Fellow wide receiver Puka Nacua had five receptions for 84 yards. Marlon Humphrey played his first game in almost a month and had a questionable pass interference penalty. Safeties Marcus Williams and Geno Stone sometimes got lost in coverage. Fellow safety Kyle Hamilton left the game with a knee injury.
Special Teams — Tylan Wallace was forced into action as the primary punt returner when Pro Bowler Devin Duvernay suffered a back injury in the third quarter. It was the first time that Wallace had fielded punts in a regular-season game and he managed to produce the biggest play of his young career with a game-winning 76-yard touchdown. Justin Tucker converted field goal attempts of 31, 47 and 33 yards, and Jordan Stout averaged 47.8 yards on four punts.
Coaching — It wasn’t pretty but John Harbaugh and his assistants were able to win a key December game and control their destiny for the top seed in the AFC playoffs. Offensive coordinator Todd Monken needs to get the running game cranked up earlier. Mike Macdonald’s defense had some rare hiccups. Still, the Ravens made the biggest plays when they needed them.