Running in the rain: Ravens outlast 49ers in ground game slugfest

(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Much like the 49ers’ only loss of the season against the Seattle Seahawks, Sunday will be remembered for missed opportunities and a moment of questionable clock management. In a rain-soaked 20-17 loss in Baltimore, the 49ers were left lamenting a failed fourth down conversion and missed field goal, albeit against a Ravens team that they could see again in the Super Bowl.

If you were asked to pinpoint the leading rusher in a matchup between the 49ers and Baltimore Ravens, Raheem Mostert wouldn’t be anyone’s first choice. In a game with Lamar Jackson, Mark Ingram and Tevin Coleman starting, it was Mostert who was the runaway train. And when he got space on the edge, he was never coming back.

The 49ers opened with a touchdown drive, before Garoppolo turned the ball over on a fumble, and Jackson quickly punished the 49ers with a touchdown pass to Mark Andrews to tie the game at seven points apiece. After Jackson had a rushing touchdown in the second quarter, Mostert evened it at 14-all with a 40-yard run, helped by some fantastic blocking.

On 19 carries, Mostert ran for 146 yards and had an astounding four rushes of more than 16 yards.

Jackson, however, wasn’t held up by the 49ers’ defense either. At the conclusion of the first half, Jackson had eight rushes for 57 yards and one touchdown, and was 8-for-14 with 62 yards and a passing touchdown.

After a Ravens field goal, the 49ers seemed poised to tie the game up at the half, but ran a confounding drive, in which they failed to use their three timeouts efficiently. Unable to get into advantageous field position, they left the recently active Robbie Gould (after three weeks on the sidelines) with a rude return to action. The expensive kicker, who’s not known for his ability to connect from long distances, never had a chance, as the 51-yard kick was blocked to end the first half.

But to open the second half, Jackson evened up the turnover differential at one apiece with a fumble of his own. Two plays into that half, strong safety Jaquiski Tartt suffered a rib injury, and was replaced by Marcell Harris. Harris took immediate advantage of his opportunity on the third down play.

The Ravens ran an identical play to one which set up their second touchdown of the game, with Jackson faking the run, and turning, before finding a massive hole on the left side. He did the same, and the result seemed to be setting up for a similarly large gain.

Harris spoiled that, ripping the ball out and recovering it himself. A whopping 15 plays later, the 49ers tied the game at 17 points, on a 32-yard Robbie Gould field goal.

That deadlock held for some time. Both teams followed that field goal with punts and turnovers on downs. The Ravens failed to convert on a 4th-and-5 thanks to tremendous Fred Warner coverage over the middle (he had a similarly impressive coverage play in the first half).

Then the 49ers, on a 4th-and-1, called a timeout and went from a singleback to a shotgun look. It seemed like it was lining up for one of those patented Garoppolo quarterback sneaks, until he had his pass swatted at the line of scrimmage.

On the ensuing drive, the 49ers got the Ravens to fourth down yet again, but Jackson converted this time, on a three-yard quarterback sneak. From that point, the Ravens mounted a slow march towards the 49ers’ red zone, and converted on a short third down, leaving the 49ers with no timeouts remaining. It was a 49-yarder from Justin Tucker which sealed it.



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