4th-down stop, last-second kick lift Bills past Ravens 23-20
Oct 2, 2022, 1:23 AM | Updated: 3:09 pm
(AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
BALTIMORE (AP) — Josh Allen and the Bills can deal with nasty weather — that’s part of the job when you play in Buffalo.
On a rainy afternoon in Baltimore, they pulled off their biggest comeback in over a decade.
“Those are games that you love winning,” Allen said. “It’s a hard-fought battle both ways. Winning on the last play of the game is always fun.”
Buffalo’s defense forced a big fourth-down turnover, Allen drove the Bills down the field and Tyler Bass made a 21-yard field goal as time expired for a 23-20 victory over the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday. Buffalo trailed 20-3 late in the second quarter. It was the largest comeback win for the Bills since they erased a 21-point deficit to beat New England in 2011.
With the score tied at 20 in the final quarter, the Ravens (2-2) had second down from the Buffalo 1-yard line. Two straight runs failed to reach the end zone, and Baltimore decided to go for it on fourth down from the 2.
Lamar Jackson had to scramble a bit, then threw a pass into the end zone that was intercepted by Jordan Poyer for a touchback with 4:09 remaining — a disastrous result for the Ravens because it meant the Bills (3-1) weren’t pinned deep like they would have been following an incompletion.
“Hindsight, you take the points,” Baltimore coach John Harbaugh said. “But you look at it analytically, you’ll understand why we did it.”
Starting from the 20, Allen calmly guided Buffalo into field goal range, with the help of a roughing the passer call on Brandon Stephens. At one point, the Ravens wanted to let the Bills score, but Odafe Oweh tackled Devin Singletary at the 3. Buffalo was able to run the clock all the way down for Bass.
It was the second straight home game in which Baltimore let a sizeable lead slip away. Miami rallied from a 21-point fourth-quarter deficit to beat the Ravens 42-38 two weekends earlier.
Buffalo’s past 20 regular-season victories had been by 10 or more points, matching an NFL record set by the Chicago Bears in the 1940s. That streak is over, but the Bills snapped a seven-game skid in games decided by seven points or fewer.
Allen threw for 213 yards and a touchdown with an interception, and Jackson passed for 144 yards and a touchdown with two interceptions. The matchup of star quarterbacks didn’t really live up to its potential on a rainy day near the Chesapeake Bay. Jackson and Allen did their usual damage with their legs but were largely limited to short completions.
J.K. Dobbins scored two early touchdowns for the Ravens, but they allowed a 4-yard touchdown pass from Allen to Isaiah McKenzie in the waning seconds of the first half to make it 20-10.
“Instead of going down 20-6 or 20-3, it’s 20-10,” Allen said. “So one stop away, we’re back in this thing.”
Buffalo controlled the third quarter and tied it on Allen’s 11-yard touchdown run. The Ravens didn’t do much offensively in the second half until Jackson led them from their own 5 all the way to Buffalo’s 1 in the fourth. It looked like Baltimore was poised to take the lead, but then it all went terribly wrong for the Ravens.
“Week 4,” Jackson said. “We’ve been in this situation before. I feel like we’re going to hit our peak at the right time.”
Buffalo had scored a touchdown on its opening possession in eight straight games, playoffs included, but that streak ended when Allen was intercepted in the first minute of the game. Dobbins opened the scoring with a 1-yard TD catch from Jackson, and after the Bills kicked a field goal, Dobbins ran 4 yards for a touchdown to cap a 15-play, 81-yard drive that took 9:08.
The Bills caught a break in the second quarter when Baltimore tight end Mark Andrews was called for offensive pass interference, negating a reception near the Buffalo goal line. The Ravens settled for a field goal and a 17-3 lead.
“When you’re a good team, you’ve got to beat the good teams. You’ve got to rally,” Bills receiver Stefon Diggs said. “We were trying to right the ship and hone in on the details. The details are what was messing us up.”
Toward the end of the game, it appeared some of the Baltimore players were having to calm cornerback Marcus Peters down on the sideline.
“Emotions run,” Harbaugh said. “We were on the same page. We have a great relationship, we have an honest relationship. I love him. I hope he still loves me. We’ll see.”
In their previous game against Miami, the Bills controlled the ball for 40:40 but still lost. In this game, Baltimore controlled it for 38:10 and lost.
McKenzie left the game in the third quarter with a concussion, and Bills WR Jamison Crowder injured an ankle. … Ravens RB Justice Hill left in the fourth with a hamstring injury.
Bills: Host the Pittsburgh Steelers next Sunday.
Ravens: Host the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday night.
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