Chargers versus Ravens score, key conclusions: For their ninth victory, the Baltimore defense shuts down the Los Angeles attack led by Justin Herbert

In their 20-10 victory on the road in Week 12, the Baltimore Ravens defense so comprehensively outplayed the Los Angeles Chargers that it sent quarterback Justin Herbert back in time to his second career start in Week 3 of 2020. Los Angeles made four mistakes on Sunday night: running back Austin Ekeler and Pro Bowl receiver Keenan Allen both lost fumbles, in addition to Herbert’s interception. As a result, the Chargers lost 21–16 at home against the Carolina Panthers, their first game with four turnovers since Herbert’s second start. With a 9-3 record going into their Week 13 bye, the Ravens lead the AFC rankings.

Over the course of five possessions in the second, third, and fourth quarters, there were four turnovers. Los Angeles lost a fumble on an Allen play, another on an Ekeler play, an interception, a punt, and another lost fumble on a Herbert strip sack. But out of the four turnovers, Lamar Jackson and the Ravens managed just three scores.

The Chargers took an early lead on their first drive of the game, moving the ball down the field. However, the drive stalled deep in Ravens territory when tight end Gerald Everett was flagged for retaliating against a Baltimore defender instead of Justin Herbert, who had clearly hit out of bounds late. The Chargers only produced 38 yards of offense on 14 plays for the remainder of the first half after Cameron Dicker’s field goal.

Lamar Jackson was somewhat effective with the ball (12 of 18 for 115 yards and a touchdown), but the Ravens only scored once on their first three possessions despite amassing a respectable amount of yardage in the first half. After a solid drive, Jackson scored the team’s first touchdown of the game when he hit rookie wide receiver Zay Flowers in the end zone from three yards out. In addition to rushing for 39 yards on 11 runs, the 2019 NFL MVP finished with 177 passing yards and one passing score on 18 of 32 passes.

Then the Ravens scored again following a late Allen fumble in the second quarter. The turnover gave them excellent field position, and Justin Tucker added to Baltimore’s score from 42 yards out despite the drive’s short duration. Another drive for a try score was given to the Chargers, but Ekeler stumbled on a checkdown. The only goal of the third quarter came from another Tucker field goal, this one from 48. With 10:53 remaining in the third quarter, Baltimore’s lead had grown to 13-3 thanks to the kick.

Herbert began the game’s scoring with a 3-yard touchdown pass to tight end Gerald Everett, capping a 60-yard, seven-play drive to the end zone. With 8:32 remaining in the game, Los Angeles found themselves within three points. Then, something else occurred that the NFL world hardly ever sees: with 2:57 remaining in the game in 2023, Tucker misfired on a 44-yard attempt wide left, missing his first field goal inside of 50 yards. Herbert and the Chargers were able to at least tie the game and force overtime as a result of the miss.

The Chargers were unable to score any more after getting as close as 46 against the Ravens. Ravens linebacker Patrick Queen delivered a forceful hit that forced Ekeler to incompile. Meanwhile, cornerback Arthur Maulet’s blitz on fourth-and-6 was sufficient to pop Herbert as he released the ball, sending it harmlessly bouncing over the field at SoFi Stadium. Herbert led the Chargers with 47 rushing yards on four carries and finished with 217 passing yards, one touchdown, and one interception on 29 of 44 passing attempts.

With 1:36 remaining, Flowers took a shotgun handoff 37 yards for a touchdown, adding the finishing touches to Baltimore’s triumph and putting the Ravens up 20-10. Flowers was responsible for both of the Ravens’ touchdowns on “Sunday Night Football.” Flowers finished with 62 yards from scrimmage, which included a touchdown on five catches, 25 receiving yards, and a touchdown running.

Why the Ravens prevailed
Any side that wins the turnover battle four times outright will win. That’s precisely what took place. Jackson played a flawless game of football, which is about all Baltimore needed from him this evening. It was sufficient that Flowers became the first rookie in Ravens history to score touchdowns both passing and receiving in the same contest.

The reasons behind the Chargers’ defeat
The Chargers performed what they are best known for: just missing the mark. With less than three minutes remaining, Tucker’s unusual missed field goal handed Los Angeles the ball, giving them a chance to tie the game or take the lead, but Herbert was unable to connect with his receivers when it mattered most. That’s about it for the Chargers season.

Turning point: Just after the two-minute warning, Maulet’s blitz and hit of Herbert on fourth-and-6 almost sealed the victory. Not only did he catch Herbert’s lone interception early in the fourth quarter, but this play turned the tide of the game in the Ravens’ favor.

The game being played
Flowers’ 37-yard rushing touchdown to seal Baltimore’s victory was the most spectacular play of the game. Flowers was a bright spot in a game where the offense was mostly weak; she scored both of the Ravens’ touchdowns.

Next Steps
The 9-3 Ravens, who are dominating the AFC North, will have their Week 13 bye at home. In Week 13, the 4-7 Chargers travel across the nation to battle the 2-9 Patriots in New England.