Disappointment in The Desert

The Good, Bad, Ugly & The Megan Fox Disappointment in The Desert

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Ravens Fall to Raiders 33-27

For the rest of the country, yesterday’s Monday Night Football game was probably a highly entertaining one. For the Ravens and their fans it was excruciatingly painful. Just when you thought you’d seen it all as a fan of the team, last night happened. Those on hand in Vegas for the first game in front of a live audience at Allegiant Stadium, were treated to not one, but two happy endings. And somehow that seems fitting for a town they call Sin City.

At the 7:16 mark of overtime, Derek Carr hit Bryan Edwards down the right sideline for 33 yards on a pass that appeared to be the game winner. But after review, Edwards was ruled down at the one. Following a failed quarterback sneak, the Raiders were flagged for a false start. Two plays later Carr delivered a strike that went through the hands of former Raven Willie Snead, off the helmet of DeShon Elliott and into the waiting arms of Anthony Averett for the INT.

The Ravens still had life.

Starting at their own 20 the Ravens managed to get a first down at the 30 yard line following a Lamar Jackson to Sammy Watkins completion. After a Latavius Murray 3-yard run the Ravens faced a 2nd-and-7 from their own 33 with 4:45 left in overtime. Jackson delivered a strike to Mark Andrews which would have moved the sticks again, had the Ravens new $56M man held on to the football. He didn’t.

Then, facing a 3rd-and-7, Jackson was sacked and lost the football, turning it over for the second time of the game. Three plays later, the game was over as Zay Jones scored on a 31-yard desperation heave from Carr.

It was anything but an ideal opening night for the Ravens as they start the season (0-1) and now have to travel across the country on a short week to host their nemesis, the Kansas City Chiefs. It’s a daunting task and we’ve all heard the deflating stats about teams that start the season (0-2). Playoff hopes take a big hit right out of the gates, but thankfully, the postseason dance card has been expanded and in 2021 the league added a 17th game. The Ravens will need them all.

But before we look ahead, let’s first look back at the disappointment in the desert.

[Related Article: Ravens Report Card]


Lamar Jackson is electrifying, yet it comes with a measure of frustration. He can look stressed in the pocket, when one is available, and appears to be hyperkinetic when reading through his progressions. The amped up energy seems to trigger indecision. His feet might shift towards one downfield target and then he fires the ball to another. The mechanical breakdown can result in throws that are short or way off target. Yet there’s no denying the immense talent. He creates plays in the presence of impending danger and even when it feels like he hasn’t played his best game, particularly behind a sieve of an offensive line, he still manages to produce a passer rating of 98.6 and runs for 86 yards. When given time to set and throw, Lamar delivered some beautiful balls to Marquise Brown and Sammy Watkins…

Brown looked shifty and fast and if the Ravens offensive line could have given Lamar more time than 1-Mississippi to throw, Marquise and Sammy both could have wreaked havoc on the Raiders. Give Brown credit for working back towards Lamar on the touchdown reception. On this play the pitch-and-catch tandem was poetry in motion.

Ty’Son Williams had 65 yards on 9 carries including the game’s first score from 35 yards out. He also presented himself well to Lamar as an outlet, catching 3 passes for 29 yards. He did look rather tentative for some reason, during a 2-yard run at the 9:18 mark of the fourth – very uncharacteristic. He never got another touch following that first-and-10 play from the Ravens 25. John Harbaugh has little patience with first-year players.

Save the game’s very last play, Marlon Humphrey had a terrific game and looked particularly impressive when breaking up a pass intended for Darren Waller, stopping Hunter Renfrow with a forceful tackle on a key third down and running stride for stride across the field with speedster Henry Ruggs to force an errant throw from Carr…

Chuck Clark was very prepared and made a couple of nice tackles while adding 3 PD’s…Patrick Queen showed his top-end speed from sideline to sideline and his explosiveness as a blitzer. He did tire by the game’s end and struggled to disengage from a block on Josh Jacob’s 15-yard TD run to tie the score at 17. Odafe Oweh is going to be a beast once he learns an inside move. He had his first sack and a couple of QB hurries. He was the team’s best pass rusher on the night.

Save a muff that he recovered, Devin Duvernay had a very good night returning punts, a job he’s apparently stolen from James Proche. Despite the muff, Duv averaged 16.8 yards on 4 returns…The kick and punt coverage teams were outstanding.


The Ravens coaching staff did NOT have a very good game. That’s an understatement and I’ll leave some of the commentary for “The Ugly”. The decision to bail on Ty’Son Williams was a curious one. He averaged 7.2 YPC and he’s the RB with the most experience at the mesh point, at least with Lamar. While leaning on the experience of Latavius Murray is somewhat understandable, the newest Raven lacks the reps at the mesh with Lamar and therefore Greg Roman was a bit bashful about utilizing the RPO’s, a staple of a Lamar Jackson-led offense. And that in turn limited Lamar’s chances as a runner…Tavon Young was left on an island during cover zero calls and came up rather empty. He was flagged for two DPI’s, one that gave the Raiders a first and goal at the 2 and another on 3rd-and-2 from the Raiders 28 that cost the Ravens 32 yards.

More questionable coaching decisions…Facing a 4th-and-1 on the Raiders 36 with 1:13 left in the first half the Ravens opted to hand off to a rather cold Murray running behind Ben Powers who had just replaced the injured Tyre Phillips. Later, with 7 seconds left in the game and a timeout to burn, Harbaugh opted not to ice the kicker.


You might want to take some Pepcid AC before continuing…

Lamar’s ball security is becoming an issue again. Last night he fumbled three times, losing two and that now brings his career fumble total during 34 during his 47 games as a pro…Mark Andrews once again failed in a clutch situation. He’s one of the game’s best – but seemingly not when it counts the most in crunch time…the Ravens were just 3 of 12 on third down attempts and just 1 of 6 after the first half…The Raiders faced a 3rd-and-3 at the Ravens 29. An attempt to Darren Waller was successfully defended but Patrick Queen was flagged away from the ball for unnecessary roughness, giving Las Vegas a first down at the Ravens 14.

The offensive line, particularly the right side, “led” by Alejandro Villanueva and Kevin Zeitler, looked like a turnstile in a New York subway. Villanueva looked stiff, off balance and exhibited poor technique throughout the game which prevented him from gaining any leverage against Raiders edge defender Maxx Crosby. Thanks to Villanueva, Crosby looked like a modern day Lawrence Taylor. The Chiefs Chris Jones and Frank Clark (assuming he puts his guns away and his hammy is ok) will be salivating at The Bank and it won’t be over Jimmy’s Seafood crab cakes.

Ravens T Alejandro Villanueva

Photo Credit: Baltimore Ravens

So, Marcus Mariota enters the game on the Raiders first possession, temporarily replacing Derek Carr and facing a 3rd-and-1. Don’t you think Mariota is about to run? He did. For thirty. One. Yards…The Ravens still can’t get to the quarterback without blitzing and they show their intent very early pre-snap throughout the night. It’s an invitation for disaster against good quarterbacks and despite their talent in the secondary, the Ravens still gave up 491 net yards of offense, 409 by air. I couldn’t help but notice how disruptive Yannick Ngakoue was before his hamstring injury – even while going up against Ronnie Stanley. Yet he couldn’t do anything as a Raven. Then I got to thinking about Za’Darius Smith and his exploits in Green Bay who has 26 sacks since he left Baltimore and Wink Martindale. And like a Led Zeppelin song, it makes me wonder.

Obviously Darren Waller is the focal point of the Raiders offense. Why Wink allowed him to get a clean release is absolutely mind-blowing. Particularly with the number of blitzes they dialed up. Can you believe this is the game that this coaching staff “planned for” all summer? (Thanks Frank Schilling!)

After the Ravens failed fourth-and-1 attempt at the Raiders 36 with 1:13 to play in the first half, Carr marched the Raiders 48 yards in 9 plays to cut the Ravens lead to 14-10. After Justin Tucker put the Ravens up 27-24 at the 0:42 mark of the fourth quarter, the Raiders took over at their own 25 with 37 seconds left an no timeouts. That’s typically game-set-match for the Ravens defense. Well not this time. Five plays and 38 yards later Daniel Carlson (again without being iced) hit a 55-yard FG to force overtime.

And then in overtime, well, Marlon Humphrey would like a do-over please…

The Megan Fox Award (POTG)

Megan had the night off. Perhaps a Player of the Game will surface against the Chiefs.


Parting Shots

While I like the ESPN Monday Night broadcast team IN THE BOOTH, the telecast’s use of replay is hardly ideal and the direction is suspect. Following the DPI called on Tavon Young there was no replay. That’s a huge play in the game but the “Worldwide Leader” is too often more interested in pimping other things that have nothing to do with the play on field. There was more.

Leading 17-10 with 1:50 to go in the third quarter and facing a 2nd-and-4 at their own 34, the speedy Trenton Cannon ripped off an 11-yard run off a power sweep right that gave the Ravens a first down at their own 45. The play was called back for holding against Eric Tomlinson. Once again, no replay. The Ravens punted two plays later. End of threat. End to a chance to extend their lead.

At the 8:44 mark of overtime, Carr hit Renfrow on a short pass to the left that the slot receiver advanced 27 yards. It appeared as if Renfrow had stepped out of bounds but the ESPN crew failed to give a clear view of the play via replay and they failed to remind viewers that there are no challenges in overtime. All reviews are initiated by the replay official. Now you can’t tell me that said officials aren’t influenced by what the TV production crew delivers, and ESPN did NOT. These broadcasting failures cost the Ravens about 15 yards and perhaps the game.

  • The Ravens have won 98 straight games in which they led by 14 points. In the regular season, they’re 81-0 when leading by 14 under John Harbaugh (2 playoff losses).
  • I thought Gladys Knight had retired!
  • The Ravens had plenty of chances to put this game away. The best teams do that. Draw your own conclusions.
  • The Chiefs are listed as 3 ½ to 4 point favorites over the Ravens on Sunday Night at The Bank.

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About Tony Lombardi

Tony is the founder EutawStreetReport.com and RussellStreetReport.com. His work has been featured on various sports websites and he hosts The Russell Street Report and Armchair Quarterback both seen and heard on Fanimal Radio. Among his favorite things in life are his wife, kids, family, friends, The Beatles, Breaking Bad, Gladiator, The Godfather, Guinness, orange crushes, meatballs and Key West, not necessarily in that order. Follow Tony on Twitter @RSRLombardi. More from Tony Lombardi

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