Ravens Sound Off on ‘Impressive’ Play of Backup Quarterback

Ravens QB Tyler Huntley

Getty Ravens QB Tyler Huntley was praised by teammates and coaches after 10-9 win on December 04, 2022.

Usually, when a team loses their starting quarterback early in a game, it can’t take all the wind out of their sails and when your starter is a former unanimous league MVP, it can make an already struggling offense feel like all hope is lost.

However, when Lamar Jackson exited the Baltimore Ravens‘ Week 13 AFC matchup with the Denver Broncos after suffering a knee injury on the last play of the first quarter, the team had the utmost faith and confidence in backup quarterback Tyler Huntley.

The third-year pro rewarded his coaches’ and teammates’ unwavering belief in him by leading a 91-yard game-winning drive late in the fourth quarter. It took over four and a half minutes off the clock and ended with him punching the ball across the goal line from two yards out against the No. 1 ranked red zone defense in the league.

“I just knew I had to get in the touchdown,” Huntley laughingly said in his postgame press conference. “I was like, ‘We’ve got to score points.’ That’s all I was thinking about at that moment.”

In his postgame interview, head coach John Harbaugh described the incredibly clutch drive as “pretty remarkable” and said that player nicknamed ‘Snoop’ deserved his just credit for coming up big for the team after the offense was sputtering for most of the game.

His teammates sounded off about how Huntley played with tremendous amounts of confidence and poise in the face of adversity.

“Things weren’t perfect, but for him to be able to come in – especially that last drive – and do what he did, and have the composure that he had, just shows you how good he really is, how much he’s learned,” Mark Andrews said in his postgame press conference. “I’m thinking about Lamar, but you have to tip your hat to ‘Snoop’ [and] just how well he played. It’s impressive football.”

Andrews said that Huntley’s demeanor on the game-winning drive in particular was “calm, cool, confident” and the experience that he gained in four starts last season served him well when he had to be thrust into action against an elite Broncos defense.

“We have so much confidence in ‘Snoop’ and his abilities,” he said. “Obviously, last year we all got a ton of work with him, so we have a lot of trust in that. The main things that we talk about are just keep on fighting, believe in yourself and no matter what just keep on going. That’s what the guys did today.”

Huntley finished 27-of-32 for 187 passing yards and outside of one ill-advised pass that was an interception, had a highly efficient game as a passer.

He also led the team in rushing with 41 yards on 10 attempts and picked up some clutch drive-extending first downs with his legs on scrambles when plays broke down.

“Honestly, it’s not even surprising to us,” offensive guard Kevin Zeitler said in his postgame comments. “Even going back to last year, time and time again, when Tyler [Huntley] is in the game, good things happen.”

The Ravens feel lucky to have him on the team and believe that he can be “a starting quarterback on almost any other team in the league” and that the offense will be “in good hands” for however long Jackson is out.

Stamp of Approval From Defense

Huntley’s offensive compatriots weren’t the only ones that were impressed by the way he played and came through for the team in the end when they needed it most. Several members of the Ravens defense praised his overall performance as well.

“I was here last year, and I saw him throw (touchdowns) over the best,” outside linebacker Justin Houston said in his postgame press conference. “I know, last year, some of the games didn’t turn out like we wanted [them] to, but with him in the game, I believe in him wholeheartedly. He’s shown he can play in this league and make plays time after time when he gets his opportunity. It was his time, and he stepped up to the plate.”

Huntley went 1-3 as the Ravens’ starter last year in place of Jackson and his lone win at the helm came against the Chicago Bears in Week 11 when he led a late game-winning with just over a minute left in the game. Roquan Smith was on that opposing defense that got picked apart by the former undrafted free agent as he marched them down the field in seven plays for the last-minute go-ahead score and is happy to be on his side now.

“I vividly remember that drive back in Chicago, but actually it was crazy on the sideline, even when it was fourth down, I told the guys, ‘We’re about to get the first down right here, he’s about to drive it down the field, [and] we’re about to punch it in,” Smith said in his postgame press conference. “Then we’re going to go out there with, like, 20 seconds to go, and we’re going to seal it.’ It’s crazy how that all happened. It was an amazing performance by him, and I’m excited to be his teammate now.”

The Ravens’ first-team defense goes up against Huntley on a regular basis since he often leads the scout team offense. None of them were surprised by the plays he made to put the team in position to win the game late because they know full well what he is capable of and believe they are fortunate enough to have two starting caliber quarterbacks.

“I’ve seen some dimes from both of those guys, so I know our coaches kind of coach up everyone in that room,” Marlon Humphrey said in his postgame press conference. “Obviously you can’t replace Lamar Jackson, but I feel like we have a starting quarterback at our No. 1 quarterback and our No. 2 quarterback. So, I felt pretty good about it.”

They really respected and admired the way in which Huntley weathered the storm with inconsistent pass protection and responded from committing a bad turnover that led to a field goal or the Broncos by leading the game-winning drive.

“He had some growing pains throughout the game, but that last drive was surgical, precise, and he really showed why he can be a starting quarterback in this league,” outside linebacker Odafe Oweh said in his postgame press conference.

Offensive Struggles Still Persist

As clutch as the Ravens’ offense was on their final possession of the game, much of that was due to the incredible improvisation and determination of Huntley. The unit still struggled for the vast majority of the game and issues that have cost them in each of their four losses on the season nearly did again against the Broncos.

Even though the offensive line was without their best player in All-Pro Ronnie Stanley they’ve been accustomed to doing so for much of the year and the past two seasons. He didn’t make his debut until Week 5 and had missed the team’s last two games. The running game barely eclipsed the century mark with 103 and nearly half of their rushing total (50) came from the quarterback position.

While the Broncos defense is among the stingiest when it comes to giving up points and yards through the air, they’ve been suceptable to the ground game so the Ravens, even without Stanley and Patrick Mekari for spurts in this game, should have been able to run the ball better than they did.

“We’ll work on it, just like we always do,” Harbaugh said. “It’s not the time to talk about that stuff; it’s game to game right now. It’s game to game. There are no big narratives; the big narrative questions, they’re irrelevant. What matters is the next game and trying to find a way to win it.”

Their passing game continued to look disjointed in this game although Huntley was able to get into a nice rhythm at times, especially late. The lack of consistent pass protection was a significant contribution factor but there were plays there to be made and they’ll need “to be more efficient” moving forward.

“We’re not going to get too down because we know we have a dangerous offense,” Andrews said. “I’m excited about the future of this, [and] for us as players and our coaches to keep on striving to be better. That’s what is beautiful about this team; we have a bunch of guys that want to be great.”

Offensive coordinator Greg Roman had several questionable play calls throughout the game that were ill-advised given the down and distance, disrupted the flow of drives, and ultimately prevented the offense from scoring more points. He’ll need to do better designing and dialing play calls that will help the unit get back on the promising track they appeared to be on prior to their bye week.

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