Jackson’s Bad Night
Lamar Jackson struggled in the Ravens vs Chiefs game last week. He went 15 for 28 totaling only 97 yards and a touchdown. But more then that, even the completions weren’t pretty. Jackson was throwing behind his receivers, and he didn’t give his targets an opportunity to get some yards after the catch. Jackson had wide-open receivers who he missed. He had a couple of touchdown opportunities, which he missed as well. Jackson was electric in the run game, but he didn’t get enough opportunities to run
Last week I thought Greg Roman, the Ravens offensive coordinator, called a great game. But, against the Chiefs he was unimpressive. He got away from the run early in the first half. Similarly to the Titans playoff game, once the Ravens went down a score, they stopped running the football. This trend has to be stopped. When the Ravens played the Chiefs last year in week 3, the Ravens didn’t run the ball in the first half.
The Ravens need to embrace their identity and stick with it even when they’re behind in the first three quarters. Roman didn’t help Jackson even when he called passing plays. He ignored the high percentage throws and he didn’t call mesh plays (short crossers). I don’t know who is to blame for this but there were numerous times when the routes run by the Ravens receivers were too short. Running a five-yard route on a 3rd and 8 is unacceptable (I don’t know whose fault this was, whether that’s coaching or just poor execution by the receivers. It was probably a combination of both).
On a final note, on the Ravens opening drive, they were faced with a 4th and short situation deep in Chiefs territory. Last year John Harbaugh would have gone for it. He elected to take a field goal. The Ravens seem to lack a sense of self-assurance. They need to get their act together and make the tough decisions that have to be made.
The Chiefs coaching was superb. Andy Reid and Eric Bieniemy are the most creative passing play designers in the league. They used creative motions to draw the Ravens eyes to the wrong part of the field, before exploiting the area that was just vacated. The Chiefs ran several trick plays against the Ravens, including a double pass and throwing to offensive linemen. Bottom line: The Chiefs outcoached the Ravens.
Defensive Line Struggles
The Ravens struggled in playing quarterback contain. The ends repeatedly crashed inside and gave Patrick Mahomes room to roll out and run. Additionally, the Ravens didn’t get a single sack. Playing Mahomes is tough. Playing Mahomes and not getting a sack is an easy way to chalk up a loss.
The Ravens didn’t do a good job of protecting Jackson. The Chiefs sacked Jackson four times on the night.
Marcus Peters Struggled
Marcus Peters played his worst game as a Raven. Peters repeatedly bit on the fakes, and he was torched a couple of times in the game.
Special Teams Shine
The Ravens special teams were impeccable. Justin Tucker went two of two on field goals, but it was the return game that shined. Devin Duvernay returned a kickoff for a 93-yard touchdown. James Proche did well as the punt returner. It’s the first time since Jacoby Jones, where the Ravens have had an electric return game.
For the Chiefs, Harrison Butker missed an extra point and a field goal, after dominating in week 2 against the Chargers.