Likes, Dislikes, Questions following the Ravens Playoff Loss
Likes: It wasn’t all bad today, although the 23-17 score isn’t indicative of the effort put forth in the Ravens loss to the 12-4 wild card LA Chargers.
Discuss your thoughts on the one and done playoff exit, and the future, on our message board.
(Note the Likes, Dislikes, and Questions below were ‘real’ time thoughts.)
– Defense coming up big early with a three and out on the first drive, then put in a bad spot with a Kenneth Dixon fumble, they keep LA to three points after a couple stops inside the five.
– Matt Judon sets the edge perfectly and tackles Melvin Gordon for a loss deep in their territory. Could have flipped field position, but Rivers converted a third with a moderate completion to Keenen Allen.
– Lamar Jackson’s speed is such a weapon. Takes off for 17 yards. What’s the difference in 17 on the ground or 17 through the air? He might complete 58% of his passes instead of 60%. But does that matter when you can do this a few times a game.
– Ravens special teams comes up with a FG block. Momentum, down 12-0 and needed to get the home crowd back into this game?
– Huge, huge fumble by LA’s Virgil Green, knocked free by “Peanut” Onwuasor. Last week’s hero C.J. Mosley picks it up and scampers near the red zone.
You know what, that’s enough for now.
Dislikes: Too much to dislike about the game. Hard to win when the “dislikes” outnumber the “likes”, and boy do they.
– Running game by Gus Edwards and Kenneth Dixon did not get going early on. Dixon also coughs it up leading to an easy three points for LA.
– Lamar Jackson with two fumbles on the first two drives. Luckily didn’t lose either, again. One was a snap in the shotgun that went by him. He has gone a lot of games without an INT, so if he fumbles once, I can live with it. Many are lauding the play of Baker Mayfield, and he threw three INTs against the Ravens last week. As long as the fumbles aren’t compounded with other mistakes, it’s ok.
– Orlando Brown having trouble early on with smaller, speedier edge rusher Melvin Ingram. Turns out Ingram is giving everyone fits for the whole game.
– Ravens special teams allows a punt return into their territory, leading to another three points. Tougher FG though, 53 yards into the wind. The first of two really good returns the Ravens defense allowed.
– Team is averaging just 3.1 yards per carry across 10, first quarter attempts. The started a lot more explosive last time the two teams met. Punt, fumble, punt, punt on the first four drives. Finished with just 90 yards on the ground.
– Remember what I said about compounding fumbles with interceptions? Lamar throw’s one that could have been caught by Chris Moore. But a better throw and it doesn’t get bumped into the air for the opportunistic Adrian Phillips to snag.
– A lot of short passes being completed by LA, similar to the PIT game here in Baltimore where the defense just couldn’t get off the field on third down enough. Especially going into the half. A short pass goes for nine yards and makes what would have been a 50-yard FG attempt, into a 41-yard attempt. With eight seconds left, they pick up seven more on the ground. 12-0 game at the half, and LA receives the second half kick.
– Rivers was 15/20 for 99 yards in the first half. Jackson. 2/8, 17 yards, one INT.
– O-line, specifically James Hurst, does Jackson no favors as he gets sacked twice with little time to do anything to evade it. The ugliness continues. Bradley Bozeman replaces Hurst. Boo birds by the fans out in full force.
– After the Green fumble, two runs by Gus Edwards and a run nowhere by Jackson means the Ravens settle for a FG to cut the lead to 12-3. A lot of wondering if Joe Flacco should have been in by now. Jackson with two nice runs on the day, out of six, but is 2/8 through the air. Take the points, but you want to find a way to cross the goal line there and give your defense a little more room for error, and a little breather too.
You know what. We know how this ended. Not a lot to like at all, a whole lot to dislike.
Questions: Questions about the game, and about the future.
– What was the thought process behind leaving Joe Flacco on the bench? On one hand, the game wasn’t essentially over until Melvin Gordon scored that last TD for LA. One big play can get you right in it. Jackson has explosive play ability. But he was doing nothing all day until garbage time drives late in the game. Literally nothing. Less than nothing. -2 yards passing before it was out of hands. Must win game, must be all hands on deck, and Flacco is one of those hands. If even for a drive to show the defense something else.
– LA’s defense adjusted to the Ravens after having just played them two weeks prior. The Ravens did not adjust. You could say that LA “figured them out”. If they have been figured out, they are in trouble because every team with the Ravens on the schedule next year will be watching this tape for the next six months. Question here is are the Ravens exposed? Or are the talented Chargers talented enough to have their DBs playing as linebackers? Is this something other teams don’t have the luxury of being able to do?
– Justin Tucker missed a 50-yard field goal on 4th and 1. Harbaugh notoriously is aggressive in these situations. What made him go conservative? On this stage, at that moment, versus some random time in some random week of the regular season. Why? I say take points whenever you get them. But we saw the wind swirling on the day (wasn’t at the time of the kick). Even if he made the FG, I’d ask why the decision there to kick it, that isn’t in line with his decisions at other similar points.
– How real was Lamar Jackson’s ability in the fourth quarter today? All day long, -2 yards passing. Then two drives, no huddle, up tempo, big completions, big plays, extending plays, two TDs. Garbage time theatrics, or was this in there the whole time and the Chargers just couldn’t play all four quarters? 196 yards passing in the 4th quarter. Huh?
I keep saying garbage time because, it was. Down three scores in the fourth quarter, one team checks out. If the Chargers weren’t checked out, I think Derwin James would have done a better job covering Kenneth Dixon of all people downfield.
What is in store for the future?
How much do they build around the style of ball Lamar Jackson plays for a full season?
Will they get Lamar Jackson what they were never able to deliver to Joe Flacco? (A playmaking wide receiver.)
Will John Harbaugh sign an extension, be traded, or coach under the one year left on his deal?
Will Don Martindale leave for a Head Coaching opportunity elsewhere?
How many veterans will be returning form Martindale’s top defensive unit? What happens with Mosley, Suggs, Smith, Weddle?
Where will Joe Flacco end up?
How will Eric DeCosta handle his first NFL Draft as GM?