submitted by Brad Drotar
Although it’s only Week 3, we already have arguably the most important regular season game in the 2020 NFL season.
Not only is it Prime Time, Monday Night Football, but with the new NFL Playoff rules in effect, only one team from each conference will enter the postseason with a bye week.
It is a consensus across the board that the two teams that will be fighting for that honor in the AFC are the Chiefs and the Ravens. This could be the game that when looking back either won or lost the Ravens that #1 seed in the AFC.
Now, whether we as fans actually want the bye or not, will be a topic of debate for the rest of the season. After the Ravens’ abysmal performance in the Divisional round against the Titans last year, scars remain.
But out of all the players, coaches and fans, no one bares the burden of that loss as heavily as Lamar Jackson. No, I am absolutely not implying that the loss falls on Jackson. It was a team loss. I say that Jackson is most impacted by the loss because, to all of his haters, in their minds, Jackson proved them right. Because of that loss, all of the screams from the dunce corner claiming, “he isn’t a quarterback,” “he chokes,” “he can’t win in the playoffs,” only grew louder and more common.
Tonight is Jackson’s chance to not only silence the haters, but also show the world that he is the best quarterback in the league. He is the most complete quarterback in the league. He is the most determined quarterback in the league. He has only gotten better since his MVP season. Tonight, Jackson will put the whole world on notice that this season, no one will stop him from leading his team to a Super Bowl. Not even current Super Bowl champion Patrick Mahomes.
The history between the Ravens and Chiefs is surprisingly thin. Despite being AFC foes, the two have met just nine times in the regular season, and once in the playoffs. KC has dominated the regular season contests, winning six of the nine and going 4-1 in Baltimore (three of these were between 1999 and 2004).
Last season, the Ravens took a disappointing loss to the chiefs in Week 3. This was a game that most Ravens fans would agree the losing squad deserved to win.
The Ravens were the better team for a good portion of the matchup and outpaced the Chiefs in many facets of the game. First – and most importantly – the Ravens controlled the ball, holding possession for nearly 33 minutes compared to the Chiefs’ 27 minutes.
With that extra possession time, they were able to rack up 15 more offensive plays, 63 more rushing yards, and one more trip to the red zone. But as we all know, the Chiefs don’t need to win the possession battle in order to come out of the game victorious. With six fewer minutes of possession, the Chiefs accrued 51 more total yards, over 100 more passing yards, and of course, the win. Jackson went 22 for 43 passing for 249 yards and no scores while adding 46 yards and a touchdown on eight rushing attempts.
Obviously, this was no where near what we would normally expect from the reigning MVP.
So this is great right? Even when Lamar had an off game, we still went toe-to-toe with the Super Bowl champs!
Well, while I do expect a much better game from Jackson on Monday, you have to remember that in last year’s matchup, the Chiefs were without the fastest player in the league, Tyreek Hill. Even without Hill, Mahomes went 27-for-37 passing for 374 yards and three touchdowns. It will be interesting to see how this improved D-Line and Linebacker corps will handle them this week.
One last interesting note from last season’s matchup: while Hollywood Brown and Mark Andrews combined for 16 total targets, Nick Boyle led the team in receptions with four. Lets hope that is not the case on Monday.
The Ravens have not beaten the Chiefs since the absolute barn burner of a game in 2012, when the Ravens OBLITERATED the Chiefs… 9-6… lol.
You all aren’t ready to talk about that adrenaline-pumping game, so let’s look back instead to the dominant win over the Chiefs in the AFC Wild Card game nine months before that.
This was a beating. The Ravens crushed the Chiefs 30-7 in a game that was over from the beginning. The Ravens held Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel to just 70 yards, intercepting him three times, and the only receiver on the team to have more that one catch was Dexter McCluster with four catches for a whopping 17 yards.
The only decent Chief in that game was Jamaal Charles, who rushed for 82 yards and a touchdown on nine carries. Joe Flacco threw the ball accurate and often, completing 25 passes for 265 yards and two touchdowns. His favorite target of the game also happens to be one of my favorite Ravens, Todd Heap. Heap corralled 10 passes for 108 yards on 13 targets. Anquan Boldin finished behind him with five catches for 64 yards and a touchdown.
Here are some embarrassing stats from this game to help distract you when the Chiefs score this Monday:
The Chiefs had:
- 8 total first downs
- 161 total yards
- Possession for 18 minutes
- Their best player in that game was… McCluster
This Monday night matchup might just be the best game of the entire season.
Remember: win or lose, it is always acceptable to show up to work hungover after a Ravens game. Anyone that says otherwise is lying or a Steelers fan. (I would take my shot at the Browns there, but they need to be drunk every day to help ease the shame and disappointment. So being hungover is routine for them.)