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The Silver Lining in a Bad Start

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On to The Chiefs

Week One in the NFL is an absolute rush. You watch every game possible from kickoff to 0:00, while simultaneously flipping to the Red Zone all day long, and checking fantasy scores on your phone at the same time.

It’s like a kid in a candy store who just drank two red bulls to chase down some giant pixie sticks that they pounded before walking in.

That’s the PG comparison, at least. Change the candy to booze if you’d like (and mix that Red Bull with Tito’s!), but it’s all the same: non-stop energy and excitement for thirty two fanbases as they watch their team that’s still in contention, with all of the hopes, dreams, and promise one can hope for…

Yes, even Jets fans.

About Last Week…

Ravens 27, Raiders 33

Somewhere between hideous and devastating sits that Ravens performance on Monday Night Football.

We’ll just do a quick run through on the pain points, as to not relive them in deep-dive form:

  • Offensive Line couldn’t protect Lamar
  • Lamar couldn’t hold onto the ball
  • Ty’Son Williams stopped seeing touches
  • Latavius Murray couldn’t stop running into his own linemen
  • Defensive Line couldn’t get pressure
  • Corners not named Marlon Humphrey couldn’t cover consistently

That’s… a lot. But there were also a few silver linings that are largely getting ignored, thanks to the score and the issues.

For starters, Sammy Watkins looks like a great complement in this offense. Watkins and Brown are a solid 1-2 punch in my book, and should alleviate pressure on Rashod Bateman when he returns, as he can be slowly implemented.

Speaking of veteran debuts, Justin Houston was one of a few players that found his way into the backfield and created pressures on Monday night. He’ll prove to be extremely valuable this season.

The rookies also played well. Odafe Oweh had his first career sack and really showed his speed chasing down Derek Carr, while Brandon Stephens had some good plays in coverage, notably sticking with Darren Waller and breaking up a pass in a “welcome to the NFL” moment. Tylan Wallace was also there.

The loss sucked, the issues are still there, but it just feels like the Ravens are *this close* to putting it back together and righting the ship.

Up Next: Chiefs at Ravens

SNF @ 8:25pm

Chiefs
Photo Credit: Getty Images

There’s nothing better than going from a heartbreaking loss with plenty of concerns and injuries…

…to the Chiefs.

The Ravens are already carrying the stigma of “can’t beat the Chiefs” and this year’s fight won’t get any easier.

My biggest concerns:

  • Marlon Humphrey can’t cover Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce at the same time.
  • Can the Ravens pass rush take the next step and get to Mahomes with just a four man rush?
  • Can the Offensive Line improve from last week to keep Lamar clean?
  • Will the Ravens get back to a ground & pound way with some more RPOs? Or are they too worried about mesh points and follow suit with last week’s offense?

On the flip side, I do have some optimism to highlight:

  • Another week of gelling for this Offensive Line
  • I genuinely don’t think this roster is nearly as bad as they played last week
  • Lamar will improve ball security
  • SAMMY WATKINS REVENGE GAME (and a little bit Justin Houston too)

Prediction: The Ravens keep this one surprisingly close for the first three quarters, as they head into the final quarter down just three points at 17-20; however the Chiefs do what they do best and turn it up in the fourth quarter to seal their victory as the Ravens start 0-2.

Offensively, Lamar Jackson throws for a touchdown and runs for another, with 340 total yards on the day. Ty’Son Williams gets relegated to RB2 duties (thanks to his pass pro concerns) as he and Latavius Murray combine for just 80 yards on the ground. Donta Freeman gets signed to the active roster prior to the game, and adds just five carries for 20 yards. Sammy Watkins leads all receivers with 70 yards on 5 catches with the lone receiving touchdown.

Defensively, the Ravens force a turnover on a tip drill interception by Chuck Clark, but otherwise there’s no splash plays to help provide the offense with short fields. Marlon Humphrey is moved around the field plenty, and Mahomes opts to avoid Marlo while picking on Tavon Young, as the Chiefs QB throws for 300 yards and a trio of touchdowns. On a cheerier note, Justin Houston will get his first sack as a Raven, and Malik Harrison adds one of his own as well.

It’s close… until it’s not.

BAL-20

KC-30

[Related Article: Stanley to Miss Time]

Best of the Rest

With another prime time game for the Ravens, here are some games to keep your Sunday Funday going until kickoff in Baltimore.

Rams @ Colts. 9/19 @ 1pm. I have a soft spot for Stafford, as I think he’s the most under-appreciated QB in the league. So sue me.

Raiders @ Steelers. 9/19 @ 1pm. Need the Steelers to lose for two reasons- for the Ravens to catch up in the standings, and for the Steelers fans to quit mocking the Ravens fans for losing to the Raiders.

Chargers @ Cowboys. 9/19 @ 4:25pm.This just looks like it’ll be a high scoring, fun game. Fantasy points aplenty!

Lions @ Packers. 9/20 (MNF) @ 8:15pm. How will the Packers rebound from their embarrassing Week 1 loss to the Saints… will they rebound?? If they can’t fix things against the Lions… woof…

Rank ‘Em!

I spent some time in Buffalo this week, and got to enjoy some drinks and true Buffalo wings with former RSR-er, John Langley. (Editor’s Note: John, the door is always open for you! ~ TL) As we sat and lamented the Ravens loss, the penalty discussion came up… which led to thinking… and more drinking… and here we are with this week’s rankings.

Top-5 All Time Cringeworthy Penalty Offenders in Ravens History… yes, it’s a mouthful.

5- Will Hill. There’s a name… Hill led the Ravens in 2015 with 2 holds, 2 DPIs, 3 unnecessary roughness calls, and 1 illegal contact. All automatic first downs.

4- Chris McAlister. Love me some C-Mac, but in his last full NFL season (2006) he had sixteen penalties. IN. ONE. SEASON. That is by far the most from any Ravens player in the past 15 years (as far back as I can see penalty logs).

3- Matt Judon. How many times did Judon make a stop… then get hit with a Personal Foul after the play to extend the opponent drive? Also, being top-2 penalized Raven in 3 of his 4 seasons in Baltimore was… not good.

2- Frank Walker. I’ve lost my voice at more Ravens games thanks to Frank Walker penalties than I’ve lost it at concerts… in my lifetime. That says something.

1- Michael Oher. Oher was almost synonymous with False Starts & killing drives. He earned his boos.

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