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Saturday, February 4, 2023

Ravens Must Stop Fourth Quarter Collapses

The Baltimore Ravens found another way to lose a game in the fourth quarter last week. It is becoming a recurring problem. This time it was the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars that came back to beat the Ravens due to a fourth quarter collapse. The Jaguars scored 18 points in the fourth quarter, including a two-point conversion to give them a 28-27 lead. They won the game.

Baltimore was riding a four-game winning streak entering last week, but the fourth-quarter collapse reared its ugly head once again. Last Sunday’s loss was particularly frustrating because the Ravens have now blown fourth-quarter leads in three of their four losses.

“We’re looking at every play, every technique. But there’s a psychological aspect to it, too, and that’s the other part of if that you try to address. But you can’t live in it,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said.

It all started with a monumental collapse against the Miami Dolphins in week 2 when they gave up a three-score lead. Somehow the Dolphins’ quarterback, Tua Tagovailoa managed to connect with speedy receiver Tyreek Hill for two deep scores, and hit Jaylen Waddle on another one to take the lead, all of which came in the fourth quarter.

The New York Giants scored 14 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to seal a 24-20 win over the Ravens in week 6.

The Cleveland Browns mounted a comeback by outscoring Baltimore 7-3 in the fourth quarter the following week but fell short in the end.

“We’ve got to just focus on football, focus on the details of what we do and come out there and play our next play and give it our best shot,” Harbaugh said. “I’m very confident that we’re going to do what we need to do, but you’ve got to go do it.”

As of this week, the Ravens are averaging 6.4 points in the fourth quarter. That’s good for 15th in the NFL. During their four-game win streak, they averaged 11.7 points in the fourth quarter. The problem lies within the defense. Baltimore is allowing an average of 9.8 points in the fourth quarter which is an NFL worst number. On average, the Ravens are being outscored by 3.4 points per game in the fourth quarter. The formula is simple: don’t get outscored in the fourth quarter and you’ll win the game.

Added Harbaugh, “If we get better on defense in the fourth quarter and offense in the fourth quarter, obviously, we’re not going to have any more issues with fourth-quarter collapses, so to speak, and if we don’t, we are. That’s up to us. That’s our job. It’s [up to] our guys, our coaches, players, all of us to get the job done, and we’ve got to find a way to do it, and that’s what we’ll be working to do and continue to work to do.”

The Ravens are still on top of the AFC North standings, but the Cincinnati Bengals are breathing down their neck. Both teams are 7-4 and Baltimore has the tie breaker for now thanks to a 19-17 win over the Bengals on October 9, 2022. They’ll face off once again in the season finale which could decide who wins the division, but things could’ve been a lot easier for the Ravens if they didn’t find ways to collapse in the fourth quarter and give up late leads that led to losses.

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