Baltimore won the toss. But the Redskins defense held and the Ravens had to punt.
Then it was time for Crawford, a seventh-round pick out of SMU, to provide the heroics. Inactive for the past seven games after struggling as the team’s nickel cornerback, Crawford earned a chance to contribute on special teams after coaches grew tired of the ineffectiveness of return man Brandon Banks. Crawford, who had recorded returns of 20 and 16 yards earlier in the game, fielded Sam Koch’s punt and ran it back 64 yards to the Baltimore 24-yard line.
“I just saw daylight, and just ran to daylight,” Crawford said. “I knew we’d won because I had the confidence in Kai to make those. He hasn’t missed one since he’s been here, and I followed him in college, too, so I knew he could make them. I know he’s a very good field goal kicker.”
After running two plays, Washington sent on Forbath for the game-winning kick, and the first-year player delivered, hitting his 14th consecutive field goal as a Redskin.
“It was huge, huge win for our team,” said Forbath, who went undrafted out of UCLA last season and was on injured reserve with Dallas before signing with Washington before the sixth game of this season. “I was telling [punter] Sav [Rocca] that a lot of NFL games come down to field goals and we hadn’t had one, so I kind of had a feeling today was going to, and it did. Fortunately, we came out on the right side of it.”
After their hot start, the Redskins fell behind, 21-14, at halftime. The defense yielded three touchdown passes and was gashed by the Ravens’ rushing attack.
Takeaways on consecutive third-quarter defensive stands gave the Redskins new life, however.
Outside linebacker Rob Jackson rushed Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco from his blind side and stripped him of the ball on the Ravens’ first possession of the second half. The Redskins went on to pull within 21-17 on Forbath’s 48-yard field goal.
After allowing the Ravens to march 54 yards to the Washington 11-yard line, the defense buckled down once again. On third and six, Jackson’s counterpart, Ryan Kerrigan, came untouched and hit Flacco as he let go of the ball, and inside linebacker London Fletcher picked off the pass.
Washington put together another drive, but came up short by a yard on third and seven at the Baltimore 36. Forbath then made the 49-yarder to trim the lead to 21-20 with 1:21 left in the third quarter.