Oh boy. That was not fun.
Look, things are going to look doomy and gloomy in here, and that’s a reaction to a doomy and gloomy game.
Buckle in folks, it’s going to be a bumpy ride!
Coaching: Doesn’t even deserve a grade
I thought I’d lead off with the area of the game that deserves the most finger pointing. At a general level, Andy Reid and co. completely outclassed John Harbaugh and his group in every aspect of the game (minus special teams). Their game plan was better, their preparation was better and their decision making was better. How did Harbaugh Feel?
John Harbaugh: "They beat us. They out-executed us. They out-game-planned us. They just beat us. So that's the story tonight. Big-picture stuff, all that, I don't know. They're better, obviously. They're a better football team at this point in time."
— Jonas Shaffer (@jonas_shaffer) September 29, 2020
The offensive approach and play calling from Greg Roman was truly puzzling. There were two critical drives where the play calling self-stunted the Ravens in their tracks.
On the opening drive, they got down to the KC 15 and had it 2nd and 3. They got there primarily by running the ball down KC’s throat. 2nd and 3 and what are the two play calls? Pass plays. But not just pass plays, attempts at getting cute that made the failure to put up six even more frustrating.
The next critical drive was after Devin Duvernay’s kick return TD and the defense had forced a 3-and-out. It’s 13-10 for KC with 11:06 left in the 2nd. This is a complete reset. You have the chance to go back to Baltimore Ravens football, control the clock and move the ball. Here was my tweet right before the drive started.
Play. Your. Game.
— Cole Jackson (@ColeJacksonRSR) September 29, 2020
Does Roman go back to playing his game? Nope, three straight pass plays for a 3-and-out.
That was not your game.
— Cole Jackson (@ColeJacksonRSR) September 29, 2020
The decision to abandon the run was far worse last night than the same decision was in the Titans playoff game. At least if you go back and watch the early part of that game you can see the Titans controlling the LOS and making it difficult to run. That was not the case Monday, as the Ravens averaged 7.5 yards on the ground, but only ran it 21 times, including only 12 carries to their RBs.
This is without even getting into the play design – which just did not look good, and the lack of creativity leaves a lot to be desired.
On defense, I will give Wink Martindale credit for at least attempting to alter his game plan to find something that worked. The Ravens D showed just about everything they had, but couldn’t get much going to slow down Patrick Mahomes. The real credit here goes to Eric Bienamy though. He attacked the Ravens where they were vulnerable through rookie Patrick Queen with screen looks or by using Marcus Peters‘ aggressiveness against him. His game plan was just flat out better than Wink’s.
The offensive output was just a collection of crap. They only put up 13 points, and while play calling didn’t help, there was a massive lack of execution on their end that spans multiple players. Let’s check in where it went wrong by position group.
Jackson on Jackson: C-
The blame game with QBs is always tough. Lamar Jackson missed throws, specifically the deep ball to Hollywood Brown, which he had at least two times for what looked like massive gains.
However, on the flip side, Lamar had to deal with crucial drops from both Mark Andrews and Brown.
The real issue I had with Jackson’s game was that he got way too frantic. This is the area of mental maturation I would really like to see improve. The Ravens got down to the KC13 with 6:17 left in the 4th and Lamar immediately scrambled to the right side instead of stepping up to the left, causing his own sack. They were down 14, but if they can get a score there, who knows, they can maybe get the ball back and go for a tying drive.
It was just not a good look and Lamar appeared panicked.
Running back: A-
Unfortunately, they never got a good chance to get going and make a huge impact on the game.
In Week 3, only TWO #NFL teams gave their RBs fewer carries.
— Matt Wise (@TheMattWise) September 29, 2020
Wide Receiver and Tight End: D+
As mentioned, the play design wasn’t great, but the receiving group also didn’t take advantage of the opportunities they did get. Far too many drops and poor execution, including a 3rd down out where Willie Snead ran short of the pick and ended up only running about a two-yard out when they needed more for the first.
This is a group that has been a concern for fans in big games, and they did very little to prove us wrong.
Offensive Line: C+
I will give the offensive line some credit. When the Ravens were actually running the ball the line was able to get some push and, for the first time this year, they won the LOS in the run game.
Pass protection was also better from what I could see, though it’ll take a more thorough breakdown to be certain. When Lamar started getting pressured it was from some very nice disguised blitzes, including some six-man pressure looks with only five-man protection.
There’s still room for improvement, and the Ravens really miss Marshal Yanda, but I felt at least a bit better with the OL compared to the previous two weeks. Tyre Phillips also had a better game and I can’t wait to break it down with the end zone angle.
No pass rush, receivers running wide open, not diagnosing screens. It was just bad, all night long.
Defensive Line: D
I talk a lot about expectations throughout the grades and what I really expected going into this season was that the Ravens would be able to use four-man rushes and get some pressure. Most teams do this with edge rushers, but I really thought the interior DL would be able to do that for the Ravens.
So far, this hasn’t come to fruition and this group is struggling to do anything to generate a pass rush.
I will credit them for being able to bottle up the Chiefs run game, but it didn’t matter because Mahomes just goes to the air and converts on 3rd down on 10 out of the 13 attempts.
Matt Judon has high expectations this year and that just comes with being a highly-paid player, which blocked the Ravens from making additional moves, such as maybe making a move for a player like Jadeveon Clowney or Everson Griffen, or even trying to trade for Yannick Ngakoue.
Well, he hasn’t shown up in two of the first three games to earn that cash. I will credit him here: the offsides call, was not an offside penalty. It was perfectly timed and the fact that he and Tyus Bowser jumped the snap at the same time means they saw something on film in the Chiefs cadence. That was a devastating call that may have gotten Judon going.
Was also rewatching it. Extremely close pic.twitter.com/NRux3N1iDG
— Big Truzz Banks (@BarstoolBanks) September 29, 2020
But alas, when you’re one of the highest paid players on the team, you have to rebound and get going. That concludes my Judon rant of the day.
The other disappointing aspect was how the Chiefs targeted and manipulated Patrick Queen. He struggled in coverage, he struggled to dissect plays, including screens, and he struggled to fill gaps. It’s a great learning experience for the young MLB, but he better learn quick because the NFL doesn’t wait for you.
Defensive Backs: D
Imagine spending all week worrying about Anthony Averett, only to see Marcus Peters be the one targeted for big gains in the passing game. It was just painful.
Ryan Clark did a really good breakdown with the film of how this was done.
great breakdown of how Andy Reid put his former player, Marcus Peters, into conflict and used Peters tendencies against him
— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) September 29, 2020
Darius Butler hit on it too.
M. Peters is an OUTSTANDING talent. One of my favorite players to watch. He’s got some Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in his game tho. Gotta take the good with the bad. #EverythingDB @Everything_DB @TheManToManPod #NFL #NFLTwitter #RavensvsChiefs pic.twitter.com/0ovF72DVJa
— Darius Butler (@DariusJButler) September 29, 2020
The DB group just couldn’t get it done yesterday.
Special Teams: A
The long bright spot was the special teams group, as Devin Duvernay found the first NFL pay dirt of his career. James Proche also had a really nice punt return which is great to see from the rookie WR.
Devin Duvernay! I said it last night, get the ball in this guy’s hands and good things will happen.
Also, not to toot my own horn *toot toot*, but I tweeted this at 5:15 yesterday:
I have this feeling where @Dev_Duv5 finds pay dirt for the first time tonight.
— Cole Jackson (@ColeJacksonRSR) September 28, 2020
Always trust your big gut!