On Sept. 19, the Baltimore Ravens came out victorious against the Kansas City Chiefs. In nail-biting fashion, the Ravens captivated their home crowd with a 36-35 win that was made possible in part by a key fourth-down conversion late in regulation.
The Chiefs called their final timeout with 1:05 left in the fourth quarter with Baltimore facing a fourth-and-1 at their own 43-yard line. As such, the Ravens had a tough decision to make — punt and give the Chiefs one more chance to march down the field and kick the game-winning field goal, or convert the fourth down.
The Ravens decided to go for it, and it paid off. Quarterback Lamar Jackson ran for a 2-yard gain to secure the first down. Ravens right guard Kevin Zeitler was the lineman who pulled on that play and made the key block to open a tight lane for Jackson.
“I had no doubt we were going for it,” Zeitler said on Glenn Clark Radio Sept. 20. “These types of games, those types of opponents, you have to put it on the line.”
Emotions ran high after the Ravens’ season-opening loss against the Las Vegas Raiders in Sin City Sept. 13. The Ravens knew the Chiefs wouldn’t be a walk in the park, either, but home-field advantage fueled the Ravens. It was the first time the Ravens played in a packed M&T Bank Stadium since January 2020.
Before the game, Pro Football Hall of Fame linebacker and Ravens legend Ray Lewis came out of the tunnel with his signature dance to pump the crowd.
“That was a big surprise,” Zeitler said, “but it was pretty cool.”
In the Ravens’ opening drive, Jackson threw an interception to Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu. Mathieu took advantage of the interception and returned it for a touchdown, but the Ravens marched down field on their next possession to even the score.
The Ravens and Chiefs went back and forth for the remainder of the first half, and the Chiefs ended the half up 21-17.
The Chiefs pushed their lead to 35-24 in the second half. However, late in the third quarter, Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes threw an interception to Ravens slot cornerback Tavon Young, which became a big turning point in the game. The Ravens capitalized from that interception and scored on their next possession to make the score 35-30 early in the fourth quarter.
The Ravens’ defense stopped the Chiefs on the ensuing drive to force a punt, allowing the Ravens’ offense to step out on the field only down six. The Ravens marched down the field, ending the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run and a flip by Jackson.
“Wish he could have stuck the landing,” Zeitler joked.
The Chiefs’ final possession of the game ended with a fumble from running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire. Ravens rookie linebacker Odafe Oweh caused the fumble. The Ravens ultimately clinched the victory four plays later with the critical fourth-down conversion by Jackson.
“That was wild, there’s no way to put into words what happened last night,” Zeitler said of the game-winning play. “I’m just ecstatic that we got the W. I’m so happy for my teammates, people stepping up and making plays. It was just an incredible experience.”
The Ravens are 1-1 this season and will carry the winning mentality to Detroit, where they will face the Lions Sept. 26. Zeitler is humble about the win and believes there is still a lot more the Ravens will accomplish.
“It’s a good stepping stone, but we have a long, long way to go. We have to keep getting better every day, every week, every game,” Zeitler said. “We just have to keep going and we’ll see where we end up at.”
For more from Zeitler, listen to the full interview here:
Photo Credit: Kenya Allen/PressBox