The Kansas City Chiefs got the better of Baltimore Ravens, but the Ravens aren’t far away from being able to take them down in a rematch.
Lamar Jackson had an uneven passing performance, the Ravens continued to get in their own way with costly penalties and some coaching decisions caught a bit of heat on social media. That doesn’t even bring up the struggles the typically-stout run defense had all game and the inherent struggle involved in facing the Patrick Mahomes-led Chiefs in Kansas City.
It all added up to a 33-28 win for the Chiefs. And, let there be no debate, the better team today won the game. But the Ravens refused to just go away, and their obvious competitiveness offers even more optimism for the future of this franchise.
There was a lot to take in from this game, and it will be discussed over and over again until their next game, at home against the Cleveland Browns. Let’s start with some initial thoughts from the first loss of the season:
• All eyes leading up to this game were on Lamar Jackson, so that seems like a good place to start. On first glance, Jackson reminded me a little bit of his playoff performance last year against the Los Angeles Chargers. He overthrew some deep opportunities early, and generally appeared to be hurrying more than usual.
It looks like he gets himself amped up in these big games, but it doesn’t seem to get him hanging his head. He amps up his competitive fire even more and turns to his legs, or launching 50/50 balls instead of checking down to salvage his statistics at the cost of trying to win the game. He scraps and fights. He’ll continue to work on his passing and, combined with that fight he shows when times get tough, the future still indeed looks bright for #8.
• I know the two-point decisions will catch heat. I don’t mind them. Ravens coaches approached this game with aggression from the start, and those calls just continued that theme, from fourth-down decisions to a deep passing game from the start.
• Penalties cost the Ravens all game. The horse-collar tackle by Matt Judon, (alleged) hold by Willie Snead that negated a long run by Gus Edwards and pass interference call on Tony Jefferson that reversed a Brandon Carr interception were the most glaring examples, but there were plenty to go around. The Ravens were their own worst enemies at times today.
• Mark Ingram and Gus Edwards were great. The offensive line looked like they were giving good holes throughout, but both Ingram and Edwards broke through initial waves of contact consistently and extended plays when given a chance.
It’s great that the Ravens have dangerous weapons on offense now and a developing quarterback, but Greg Roman’s run game can just dominate opponents when it is rolling. That should still be the team’s bread and butter, and I include Jackson’s skills running the ball in this equation.