The Baltimore Ravens lost. Here is what went wrong:
Well, that was a disappointing end to the best regular season the Baltimore Ravens have ever had. From the first snap, the team looked off. It might have been the rust, it might have been overconfidence, it might have been the injury to Mark Ingram, but the biggest thing that stood out to me in this loss was the Ravens getting away from the run game. The Ravens offense is built on running the football, Mark Ingram or not, the Ravens needed to run the ball more than they did.
Gus Edwards is a very capable running back, giving him three carries for the entire game makes no sense to me at all. Justice Hill didn’t even have a carry in the game, how the Ravens lost sight of who they were in the most important game of the season is confounding, to say the least. Do the Ravens not trust Edwards?
Were the Ravens afraid of running the ball because they were down in the game? There are a lot of questions that need to be answered about this loss, but not giving the ball to Edwards more is a shocker.
The inability to convert on fourth downs was a killer in this game as well. On 4th and 1 the Ravens failed twice to convert, one of the failed attempts immediately turned into seven points for the Titans. Failing on those conversations killed any sort of momentum the Ravens had and gave the Titans more and more confidence that they can stop the Ravens.
After the Ravens were down by 14 the play-calling turned into the Kansas City Chiefs model, play after play the Ravens dropped back to throw when they are built to run. It was inexplicable to me that this would happen, Greg Roman should have kept running the ball regardless of the score.
That is how they were scoring 40 points on some of the better teams in the NFL. Getting away from their identity should never have happened, the offensive line and running backs are too good not to run the ball.
Turnovers during the game were also very uncharacteristic of the Ravens team and of Lamar Jackson. I understand that the first interception could have been caught by Mark Andrews, but Jackson could have also thrown a much better pass to give Mark Andrews a better shot at catching the ball. Combine the turnovers with a number of dropped passes by receivers in the game and it was easy to see a disaster coming.
Marquise Brown showed up to play and was the most prolific pass catcher on the night, unfortunately, no other Ravens receiver gained more than 60 yards through the air. Wide receiver is going to be a huge need for the Ravens this offseason.
Lamar Jackson did not play his best game either, he barely completed 50 percent of his throws and was holding the ball for way too long on some plays. However, I can’t put too much blame on Lamar Jackson for this game, Lamar Jackson combined for 508 total yards.
If not for the turnovers, this could have been a fantastic performance by the 23-year old quarterback. Jackson does need to improve his accuracy a touch in the offseason, his strides in improving his accuracy this year give me hope that next year we might see an even better Lamar Jackson.
Had the Ravens come into this game thinking the way the Titans were thinking, they would have fared much better in this game. The Titans fed Derrick Henry all night and it was the difference in the game. This is a tough loss to swallow, but if Lamar Jackson can improve the way he improved this year, the Ravens very well can find themselves in the same situation in 2021.