LANDOVER, Md. — One of the most peculiar NFL records — or “stupid” if you ask the irreverent Washington Commanders — came to a close in dramatic and emotional fashion.
The Baltimore Ravens’ 24-game preseason win streak ended Monday night in a 29-28 loss to the Commanders, who erupted in celebration on the field and on the sideline.
Joey Slye’s 49-yard field goal with 9 seconds remaining handed Baltimore its first loss in the preseason since 2015, which was three years before the team drafted Lamar Jackson. The winning drive was kept alive when Ravens cornerback Corey Mayfield Jr. was called for pass interference on fourth-and-11 with 1:04 left in the game.
“The thing about something like that — I just told our guys — you’re proud of it and you appreciate it,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. “But the thing that you’re proud of is all those games are mostly like that.”
Harbaugh later added, “It’s one of these things you look at and you go, ‘Wow, how did that happen? How did something like that take place?’ It’s pretty remarkable. What are the odds?”
Last week, Washington guard Sam Cosmi mocked Baltimore’s August dominance. “It’s a stupid record,” he told NBC Sports Washington.
Cosmi, who celebrated one Commanders touchdown by performing The Griddy in the end zone, declined to talk to reporters in the locker room.
Commanders wide receiver Jahan Dotson reveled in beating the regional rival Ravens, who play 29 miles up the interstate.
“I was sitting in bed watching ESPN all day, and all you could hear about is this streak, the streak,” Dotson said. “So I feel like we just had the biggest preseason W in history. It was definitely pretty cool knowing what they had on the line that we could end that.”
Even Earvin “Magic” Johnson, who is part of the Commanders’ new ownership group, weighed in after the game, writing on X, formerly known as Twitter, “I know it’s only preseason but the Commanders victory over the Ravens to end their NFL preseason win streak was a lot of fun for Commanders fans!”
I know it’s only preseason but the @Commanders victory over the Ravens to end their NFL preseason win streak was a lot of fun for Commanders fans!
It was a mismatch throughout the game in terms of pedigree. The Ravens sat their top two quarterbacks — Jackson and Tyler Huntley — and played their second- and third-string players for the entire game. The Commanders went with their starting quarterback Sam Howell and their first-team offense for the whole first half.
Asked if it looked like the Commanders were motivated to win, Harbaugh said: “I don’t want to get into all of that. People say what they say. Obviously, it was meaningful to them. I saw them celebrating over there. More power to them. Congratulations. They won a hard-fought football game. They deserve it in the end to celebrate.”
Washington’s win came a few days after the teams had two joint practices, which included a couple of “dust-ups.”
“It’s not a real game but at the same time whatever team you’re on you want to win, especially knowing what they had on the other side with their little streak,” Howell said. “That last two-minute drive they were running Cover 0 every single play and we were trying to take shots down the field, so it was so much fun to watch and be a part of.”
Decimated by injuries in the secondary, Baltimore could not hold off Washington in the closing moments. Third-string quarterback Jake Fromm marched the Commanders 60 yards on 14 plays to set up an improbable ending.
Slye, who in the regular season is 0-for-4 on tying or go-ahead field goals in the final two minutes of regulation or overtime, hit the winning kick through the uprights.
“It’s definitely strange because it’s been talked about so much,” said Ravens kicker Justin Tucker, who is one of two players to be a part of the Ravens for the entire streak. “It’s one of those things that we understand what the preseason means, but every single time we take the field, we want to win. We want to play well. At the end of the day, it’s not necessarily going to be recorded as some dramatic loss. But what really matters is playing well in the regular season.”
When Slye converted the winning kick, he flashed an “L” with this fingers toward his sideline before jumping in the arms of a teammate. The Commanders sideline threw arms up in a raucous celebration.
“I don’t care about their team. I care about ours,” Tucker said. “I will leave it at that.”