Is this one of those moral victories that we’ve talked about? I don’t think so. I am pissed about this loss. The Ravens had a chance to establish themselves as a true contender in the AFC, and once again, we as Ravens fans had to watch the chance bleed out in the final seconds of the game.
Now. That being said. The Ravens went toe-to-toe with the best team in the AFC (and it isn’t really close, especially after New England lost to Miami, and Pittsburgh lost to Oakland), and they held their own. If it wasn’t for a couple of bad bounces, so to speak, this may be an entirely different article.
Alas, it is not. So, let’s get into this week’s edition of The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.
Honestly, a lot of things went right in this particular loss. I’ll break those down here.
Jimmy Smith. We can all agree that Jimmy had some bad games when he came back from his four-game suspension to start the season. Most of us can agree that, the past few weeks, he has looked a lot like his old self. That was mostly true in this game, as well. Jimmy was asked to do a lot in this game, including covering the alien known as Travis Kelce a few times, and he held up pretty well. He got banged up during the game, but came back in, and didn’t show signs of slowing down, which is admirable.
The Run Game. I know, I know.. the Ravens didn’t break 200 yards, so why is this here? I mean, they hit 198, so I think it’s acceptable. Lamar Jackson, Gus Edwards, and.. Kenneth Dixon?! That can’t be right. After further review, that does seem to be correct – those three combined for 197 yards on the ground (Ty Montgomery had the other yard), with nobody averaging less than 4.2YPC, and Dixon averaging over 7 YPC. The Ravens proved once again, that in a pass-happy league, the ‘archaic’ ways can still make an impact (even in a loss).
Lamar Jackson (through the air). It wasn’t all good through the air, but I felt compelled to put Lamar in here, because he showed improvement. This was easily his best passing game in any of his four starts, with two touchdowns against no interceptions, and some beautiful completions downfield. He made a few high-level moves, taking safeties out of the play with his eyes, dodging defenders, and extending plays. It obviously wasn’t Patrick Mahomes-level magic, but Lamar showed some flashes of what he could be, with the proper coaching and training.
Cyrus Jones. For the second week in a row, Cyrus Jones changed the momentum and tone of the game on a return. This time, he didn’t go for a score, but his 55-yard rip gave the Ravens a spark when they needed it. The Chiefs were allowing an average of 2.2 Return Yds per punt before the Ravens came to town, and this was the reminder that Cyrus Jones does not care about your return coverage ability. Don’t forget – this was a re-do. There was a penalty on the previous punt, and John Harbaugh had so much faith in Jones that he accepted the penalty and had the down replayed (in reality, it was an analytics decision – the penalty yardage pushed the Chiefs back, giving Baltimore better field position, but hey), letting the Baltimore native break off a big run back.
I can already see it happening. One of you people will tell me that I hate the person who is the subject of this first entry. And that person is..
CJ Mosley. Before I get started, I will say that at no point should Mosley be covering Tyreek freakin’ Hill. So that’s (probably) not on him. However. There were multiple times that C.J. had coverage of an offensive player (Kelce comes to mind), and he gave up the catch, or the coverage itself. This has become a trend for the Baltimore veteran, who is heading into contract talks at the end of the season, and quite frankly, it is unacceptable. He is generally very good in the run game, and he notched two TFLs (tackle for loss), as well as a QB hit in this game. This doesn’t excuse his deficiencies in the passing game. I will put a caveat here, saying that it is very likely that the Baltimore coaching staff asks too much of Mosley, proven by years like those he had with Daryl Smith or Zach Orr next to him.
It won’t be too much longer before we see a team overpay for his services. I just hope it isn’t Baltimore. (This isn’t to say that I want him to leave, I just down want to overpay him, a la Brandon Williams.)
Lamar Jackson (through the air). You thought I wouldn’t do this, because I have him in the ‘Good’ section? Joke’s on you. Look, again, Lamar showed improvement. He also showed his inconsistency. Yes, he is a rookie. Yes, there is a solid chance that he will improve. It still bears pointing out. He had more than one pass that was low, or behind, or low and behind. It made me wince every time I saw it. I’m not bashing him for it – merely pointing out that it needs to be improved (and it’s sad that I have to hammer that fact home so much).
Eric Weddle. It really seems like this man, once a great safety in the league, gets older and slower before our eyes, every week. I will still give him the credit he is due – he is a mental master, controlling the defensive chess match, largely outsmarting the quarterback on the other side. But there are too many missed tackles, bad angles, and overall lack of production. It’s hard to ignore, especially when it leads to big gains in critical situations like it did on Sunday.
Offensive Line Play. The offensive line didn’t do anybody favors on Sunday. The Chiefs DL found little opposition, especially early on, and Jackson found himself running for his life on more than a few plays. Ronnie Stanley, playing banged up, is not at full force, and it shows. James Hurst was obviously rusty, and stumbled through the first three quarters of play. Matt Skura got absolutely bulldozed more than once. It’s never pretty when only two of your five ‘big boys’ are playing well – especially if they’re both on one side. Credit the runners for finding holes that couldn’t be seen.
I don’t normally do this, but uh…
Flag Zebras. Could the officiating this season get any worse?! It felt like every time I turned around, there was a flag being thrown, and every one was on Baltimore. It was absolutely ridiculous. Not looking at the stats, I seem to remember 15 penalties against them, for over 100 yards, and not all of them were actually flags. There was a blatantly biased call of pass interference against Michael Crabtree, ghost holding calls, ticky-tack roughing penalties, all in the name of favoritism. I’m not saying that the Ravens were completely innocent – Marlon Humphrey had a rough game, including a helmet-to-helmet penalty that could’ve been avoided, and Ronnie Stanley had one or two calls – but there is no way the Ravens should’ve been called on some (most) of those.
The Chloe Bennet.
This week, this award is going to not one, but two players. One on the offense, and one on the defense, because both of them had great games.
Defense – Matt Judon. There was a large portion of the 2018 season that I thought Judon was going to be a non-factor all season. Then, he woke up. It was no different this week, as he had five of the fifteen QB hits that the Ravens registered on Kermit. He also had a sack, a TFL, and created pressure the entire game. He made the Chiefs right tackle look absolutely silly.
Offense – Willie Snead. Snead has been fairly quiet the past few weeks, which is largely a product of the Ravens’ reacquired run-first mentality. This was not the case this week, as he caught five-of-seven targets for 61 yards – a catch percentage over 71%. He made clutch catches, fought hard for extra yardage, and made a fool of whoever was covering him. Hopefully he remains a bigger part of the gameplan moving forward – regardless of the drops he’s had, he has an argument for being the best receiver that the Ravens have (admittedly not saying much).
Well, that’s it for me. If there’s anything you think I missed, please feel free to sound off in the comments. Also, be sure to tune into Neutral Zone Infraction this week, only on Russell Street Report!