The hype was real on Monday Night Football as Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs took on League MVP Lamar Jackson and the Ravens. After a slow start for Baltimore, the Chiefs ran away with the game early leading 27-10 at halftime, and winning in the end 34-20. The strengths of the Chiefs shone bright under the lights while the Ravens mistakes were very noticeable.
Let’s take a look into the Ravens’ Week 3 loss and figure out what fizzled out a seemingly hot start to the season.
Only scoring 13 of the 20 points, the Ravens offense was only half of the problem. Lamar Jackson was off in the passing game only completing 53% of his throws and finishing with 97 yards for 1 touchdown. Even though Jackson threw 0 interceptions, he fumbled twice and lost one meaning he turned the ball over too much considering the talent on the Chiefs. However, one positive to come out of Jackson’s play was his rushing which improved severely compared to last week. Jackson rushed 9 times for 83 yards leading the team.
Speaking of the rushing game, the Ravens underutilized the run once again which seems to be a trend this season. None of the Ravens running backs broke 40 rushing yards or scored a touchdown. This is very concerning since the Ravens had the best rushing attack just a season ago. If the coaching staff would of stuck to the running game in the first half, the score would likely have been much closer early on considering the Ravens’ most productive drive was the first, consisting of 6 effective rushes by Ingram, Dobbins, and Jackson.
Monday night was not a good day at the office for the Ravens’ receivers either. Surprisingly, J.K. Dobbins led the team with 4 receptions for 38 yards, while Mark Andrews, Miles Boykin, Marquise Brown, and Willie Snead combined for 8 catches and 47 yards. Even though Lamar Jackson was off target on many pass attempts, the Ravens receivers didn’t help him out much except for a commendatory touchdown catch by Nick Boyle late in the game.
The Ravens’ O-Line was substandard for a second straight game. After giving up 4 sacks to the Texans, the Ravens gave up another 4 sacks and 5 QB hits. While both the Texans, and especially the Chiefs, have solid pass rushes, the Ravens need to protect Lamar Jackson much better. Jackson’s elusiveness can only get him so far.
The other half of the problem for the Ravens was the defense. Patrick Mahomes’ elite offense trampled the Ravens in every single way. Mahomes threw for 385 yards, 4 touchdowns, and 0 interceptions with 1 rushing touchdown. The Ravens were giving the Chiefs’ receivers lots of room to catch the ball with blown assignments and unsuccessful zone coverage. While giving speedy receivers like Tyreek Hill room to catch a short pass instead of being burnt downfield isn’t a bad idea, the Ravens tackling was horrendous throughout making this game-plan awfully ineffective.
The Ravens D only came up with 1 turnover all game adding to the disappointing performance.
Top players on the Ravens defense had a very quiet but stressful night containing this star-studded offense. Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters had trouble defending Hill, Watkins, and Hardman who combined for 220 receiving yards and 2 touchdowns. Matthew Judon, Calais Campbell, and Derek Wolfe had an arduous time pressuring Mahomes with only 4 QB hits and 0 sacks; however, it should be noted the Chiefs offensive line was outstanding most of the game.
Overall, the wide open receivers and the inability to tackle was the key reason the Ravens could not hold back the Chiefs.
The Special Teams
As always, the Ravens’ special teams were on point and are one of the few bright spots. Devin Duvernay has proven to me he should be the #1 kick returner going forward with 119 return yards on 2 attempts and a touchdown. His speed kills opposing special teams units and it was very apparent against the Chiefs.
While many Ravens fans look at this game as a huge disappointment, it is still only one game against arguably the best team in the NFL. If the tackling and scheme on defense improves, and Jackson regains his premier passing ability seen in the first two weeks, the Ravens will be just fine moving forward. Next Sunday’s game against a below average Washington team should bring the Ravens back to their winning ways.