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Ravens 36 Chiefs 35

Lamar Jackson kryptonite
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Two primetime games thus far, and two antacid-slamming, chicken-wing-hurling, expletive-laden thrillers are in the books. This one, however, was well worth the angst, as the Ravens toppled their recent-year tormentors in the Kansas City Chiefs, and their star quarterback seized the big moment.

There will be plenty written about what this game means, and what it might mean going forward, but that’s for another time. For now, let’s go back through this one and hand out a few grades.

Offense: A

The Ravens had some turnovers, drops, bobbled a ball going in to score that lucked into the hands of a teammate for a touchdown and almost lost another ball on a high snap in the Kansas City red zone, but… they put up 36 points, 481 yards of offense and ran for 251 yards. That’s flat-out production on a big stage against a top-shelf foe — something they haven’t always shown in this four-year run.

Quarterback: A

How can a guy face off against his “kryptonite” and throw two early picks — one a pick-six, the other at his opponent’s goalline — and miss an open receiver for a long touchdown ever end up with an “A,” you might ask? Go ahead. Ask. I’ll listen. No judging here.

Well, he came back to finish with 346 total yards and three touchdowns, and bringing his team down for the winning score before leading them to a clinching first down on their next possession. Superstar performance.

Running Backs: B+

Ty’Son Williams looked quick and physical again, grinding out 77 yards on 13 carries, but he had that ball pop out of his hands early that fortunately landed in the mitts of Devin Duvernay. Latavius Murray looked faster than last week with another week in the offense, and Devonta Freeman had a nice run.

Receivers: B

Marquise Brown had his second impressive game to start the season, picking up 113 yards and a touchdown, and he looks better after the catch than he has earlier in his career. He could be in for a big season if he can stay healthy. Sammy Watkins had a couple nice catches, but a big drop and he slipped on Jackson’s first interception. Mark Andrews looked good tonight, grabbing five balls for 57 yards and hurdling a defender to get out of bounds to help set up Justin Tucker’s field goal.

Offensive Line: B+

The Chiefs don’t have the league’s best front seven, but they do have some dangerous guys in Chris Jones and Frank Clark. The much-maligned offensive line held its own and then some — helping the Ravens rush for 251 yards and 481 total, despite throwing away two possessions with turnovers. I saw Ben Cleveland getting some nice push in the second half, and Alejandro Villanueva redeemed himself Sunday night. If there was a huge concern for this offense, it was the line. The big guys showed up to play this week.

Defense: C+

Giving up 35 points and more than 400 yards at home would typically be a performance with a below-average grade, but this was against the Chiefs, and seven of those points did come from an interception. Also, there was some stuff to like. They made their biggest play when they needed to, and did enough to steal an extra possession or two for the offense. The tackling was just dreadful on two long touchdowns in particular, but there was also some great work on the back end all night.

Defensive Line: C

They didn’t get a whole lot of push, but they didn’t get beat up very much. The line was basically a stalemate from what I saw on first glance. Justin Madubuike flashed more this week, and I still don’t understand the holding call against him. Justin Ellis impacted a few plays (and hustled 40 yards downfield on the long Travis Kelce TD), and Calais Campbell always seems to just annihilate a play or two each game.

Linebackers: C

Patrick Queen got a lot of love from Cris Colinsworth, and his performance was far better time against the Chiefs, but his tackling has to keep getting better. Malik Harrison banged around quite a bit to help close down some runs, but he got beat a few times on passes. Tyus Bowser is really fun to watch in his drops, but I didn’t see much from him in pass rush. Odafe Oweh, to me, is already one of the Ravens’ top defensive players. His forced fumble and recovery was gigantic, and his pressure on Pat Mahomes forced an interception. Just watch him against the run, too. He’s already a “plus” player for this team.

Defensive Backs: B-

The backs stuck to the game plan and did a terrific job against the dangerous Tyreek Hill., limiting him to 14 receiving yards. Everyone struggled a bit against Kelce, but, well, everyone does. The Kelce touchdown was a highlight video of how not to tackle, but there were nice pass break-ups by Marlon Humphrey and Anthony Averett. DeShon Elliott was very active before sustaining a concussion, and rookie Brandon Stephens had some good and some bad. I like his upside a lot.

Special Teams: B

Justin Tucker and Sam Koch did a great job in the kicking game, and Devin Duvernay had another nice punt return. They did give up a 33-yard kickoff return and another for 25. Nothing bad here, but no big splash.

Coaching: A

Big picture, this was an A-plus. The team came ready to play against an opponent who has had its number, and despite an absurd rash of injuries to important players. The offense especially looked good, though it felt like a head-scratcher on that second possession when the Ravens ran it easily down field, only to throw three straight passes, including a pick, to end the drive. Other than that, they mixed it up well, and receivers seem to be getting much better separation thus far.

Defensively, it didn’t feel like a Ravens defense, but they played it safe, and gave the team chances to win through big plays more than stifling an opponent. John Harbaugh deserves a pat on the back for this one. His squad was prepared and ready. That last fourth-down call made sense. It absolutely made sense.

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