Baltimore - The New Orleans Saints winning streak reached five games Sunday as Drew Brees engineered another fourth-quarter comeback victory, this time a 24-23 thriller over the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium that was made possible when Justin Tucker, the most accurate kicker in NFL history, missed an extra-point attempt with 24 seconds to play.
It looked like Baltimore had forced overtime when quarterback Joe Flacco hit Josh Brown on a 14-yard scoring play. But Tucker missed the first extra point of his seven-year career.
Brees now has beaten all 32 teams in the league as a starting quarterback, the third player to achieve that mark (Peyton Manning, Brett Favre). He also joined the 500 touchdown club with his second quarter 1-yard scoring pass to right end Benjamin Watson in the second quarter. He finished 22 of 30 for 212 yards and two touchdowns.
The Saints went for it on fourth down five times during the game and converted four of those attempts, including a brave dive over the top by Brees on the winning drive. The Ravens also converted two fourth-down attempts and failed on their final effort.
The Saints are 5-1 and remain in first place in the NFC South, but their division brethren aren't going away as the Carolina Panthers (4-2) rallied from a 17-point deficit to beat the Philadelphia Eagles 21-17. Tampa Bay improved to 3-3 with its overtime victory over the Cleveland Browns on Sunday. The Atlanta Falcons (2-4) host the New York Giants on Monday night. New Orleans has won all three of its road games this season and will face another stiff test next Sunday at Minnesota (4-2-1) in a rematch of last season's NFC divisional playoff game.
New Orleans entered the fourth quarter trailing the Ravens (4-2) 17-7 and Brees and his offense came to life. The Saints put together a 75-yard drive that ended on a powerful 2-yard run by running back Alvin Kamara. On their next possession Brees connected with Michael Thomas on a 5-yard scoring pass with 4:50 to play.
Do-everything Taysom Hill saw his most extensive action of the season, running six times for 35 yards, including a key 9-yard run for first down that helped set up Wil Lutz's 39-yard field with 2:07 to play, the final points. Baltimore also used its reserve quarterback, Lamar Jackson, extensively and he scored on a 1-yard run at the end of the second quarter.
The matchup of the top offense in the NFL (New Orleans) and top defense (Baltimore) lived up to its billing in a taut, compelling game. The Saints were able to rush for more than 100 yards while Brees threw for an effective 212 yards. perhaps a key stat: New Orleans possessed the ball for more than 33 minutes against a team that was leading the league in that category. The win ended a three-game New Orleans losing streak to the Ravens (4-3) and is the first time Sean Payton has defeated Baltimore Coach John Harbaugh.
The Saints have the second-best record in the NFC, trailing the undefeated Los Angeles Rams (7-0), who they will host at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Nov. 4.
Saints key stats
Brees, 22 of 30 for 212 yards with two TDs
Ingram, 21 carries for 32 yards
Kamara, 17 carries for 65 yards
Thomas, seven catches for 69 yards and one TD