With Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and Cleveland all with seven wins, the Baltimore Ravens entered their Monday night showdown against the Saints well aware of a very simple truth: win, or you’re in last place.
The Ravens were able to do just that, turning a 17-14 halftime deficit into a 34-27 win to force a three-way tie with Cleveland and Pittsburgh in the AFC North and hand the Saints their third straight home loss.
“We knew it was imperative for us to come out and play the way we know how,” Ravens outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil said on Ferrall on the Bench. “Like you said, it’s a tough race. Week in and week out, we got to come out and do what we do. We’re excited to come back home to our place against a good team (like) San Diego.”
Baltimore and New Orleans went back and forth in the first half before the Ravens took control in the second. They scored the first 13 points after halftime – two field goals, including one from 55 yards, and a 44-yard pick-six by Will Hill.
“That was huge,” Dumervil said of Hill’s interception. “He’s been close all year, and finally to get the grab and take it to the house was huge for us. Great momentum shift. That’s what we need from our guys back there.”
Joe Flacco was solid, finishing 18-of-24 for 243 yards and a touchdown, but Justin Forsett stole the show. The 29-year-old Cal product rushed 22 times for 182 yards – 8.3 yards per carry – and two touchdowns.
“Yeah, we’re built on physicality and playing tough,” Dumervil said. “You can expect that playing us week in and week out. We was able to demonstrate that.”
Especially on defense. Aside from the pick-six, the Ravens sacked Drew Brees four times. Two were by Dumervil, who has 12.5 on the season – most in the AFC and just 0.5 behind Kansas City’s Justin Houston for the NFL lead.
“I just thank God for the opportunity to come out and play the game that you love,” Dumervil said. “It’s been great teammates, great coaching staff. It’s been awesome.”
Speaking of teammates, C.J. Mosley finished with a game-high nine tackles on Monday, including three tackles for losses. Terrell Suggs added six tackles and a sack, Ladarius Webb had four tackles and Hill had two passes defended to go with his pick-six.
“We got a bunch of great players and we all love each other,” Dumervil said. “We’re all selfless and we’re all accountable towards each other. And when you just come out there and play with a lot of energy, that’s what it’s about.”
Dumervil said the Ravens also wanted to win for secondary coach Steve Spagnuolo, who was the Saints’ defensive coordinator in 2012.
“We wanted to get that win for him as well,” Dumervil said.
The Ravens (7-4) host San Diego (7-4) on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET. San Diego hasn’t beaten a winning team since Week 3 at Buffalo.