Trailing 20-7 in the second half and 20-17 in the final minute of regulation, the Baltimore Ravens found a way to beat the Steelers in Pittsburgh on Thursday. It appeared the Steelers had shut the door on the Ravens’ season – multiple times, in fact – but a pair of missed field goals by Josh Scobee gave the Ravens a chance.
A chance they made the most of. Justin Tucker drilled a 42-yard field goal to force overtime and a 52-yarder to win it, 23-20, as Baltimore (1-3) avoided an 0-4 start.
The Ravens were certainly resilient on Thursday, but they were also something else.
“To me, the Ravens got incredibly fortunate last night,” MMQB guru Peter King said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “They didn’t play well, they have injuries everywhere, they don’t have any receivers left – so Josh Scobee helps them out. He misses two field goals in the last two-and-a-half minutes, either of which would have won the game – or would have basically forced Baltimore to go down and score a touchdown, and you got to figure that they just didn’t have the manpower to go down and score at that point. So I think they got very fortunate. But again, luck, a lot of times, is the residue of preparation. I think they are fortunate, (and they have a manageable schedule upcoming).”
Baltimore hosts Cleveland (1-2) on Oct. 11 and plays the 49ers (1-2) in San Francisco on Oct. 18.
“They’re probably going to be 3-3,” King said. “So not only did that save their season last night, but things are actually looking up. If they could just get a little bit healthy at receiver, and who knows? They may go out and sign a Hakeem Nicks or a Wes Welker to give them a veteran presence, which they definitely need at receiver right now.”
One team that doesn’t need help at receiver is the Atlanta Falcons. Julio Jones has been flat-out unguardable this season and enters Week 4 as the NFL leader in yards (440) and receptions (34).
And yet, it’s the defense that has led Atlanta to a 3-0 start.
“To say that Dan Quinn is exactly what they needed is an understatement,” King said. “I think they had gotten stale under Mike Smith. They needed the kind of fervor, excitement and especially defensive intensity. I think Kyle Shanahan has helped too, but it wasn’t really the offense that needed a whole lot of fixing. It was, in my opinion, that pass rush and sort of a defensive intensity that was missing, and I think that has been huge for them. Quinn basically is taking the old bromide that so many coaches use all the time – ‘Finish’ – and he’s taken it to this different level. Today it’s called ‘Finish Friday’ around the Falcons, and he shows them videos with people who were counted out. He really tries to get it in their head that it’s never over. Obviously they’ve trailed in every fourth quarter so far and come back to win, so I think you’re right. So far this year, he is the coach of the year through three weeks.”
Atlanta hosts Houston (1-2) this Sunday at 1 p.m. ET.