How did the Baltimore Ravens blow a 20-3 lead against the Buffalo Bills in Week 4? A combination of poor officiating, questionable play-calling, and the offense’s inability to execute.
What started as a storybook beginning for the Ravens descended into despair as it was Josh Allen and the Bills who got their happily-ever-after on Sunday. On the Bills’ opening drive, cornerback Marlon Humphrey notched an interception, and the following Ravens drive ended with a J.K. Dobbins touchdown.
Baltimore would limit Buffalo to just 10 points in the first half, which was an excellent result considering the circumstances.
Yet the Ravens’ unimpressive second-half performance dug the team’s grave, and one play in particular buried all hopes of toppling the AFC East giants.
Lamar Jackson and the offense looked uncharacteristically limp, going three-and-out on the team’s first offensive drive of the third quarter.
The Ravens continued to struggle on the offensive side of the ball, with Rashod Bateman failing to catch some key passes and Lamar Jackson lacking that typical spark with Mark Andrews.
The dramatic tide-turner came during the fourth quarter at the end of a deep Ravens drive.
Ravens bet on their offense in Week 4 vs. Buffalo and lost the gamble
With four minutes left in the game, the Ravens decided to go for it on a fourth-and-goal on the Bills’ 2-yard line.
Jackson weaved his way out of pressure before chucking the ball into the end zone to try and find Devin Duvernay; Bills safety Jordan Poyer was one step ahead of Duvernay and picked off Jackson for his second interception of the game.
Poyer’s pick ended a nearly 10-minute offensive drive, and the Ravens came up empty-handed with zero points to show for their hard-fought efforts.
The Bills then barreled down the field for the game-winning field goal attempt, and their offensive drive was kept alive by a very soft roughing the passer penalty.
With the clock winding down, there seemed to be a mix-up in the Ravens defense when Odafe Oweh tackled Bills running back Devin Singletary at the Ravens’ 3-yard line. Harbaugh had reportedly wanted the defense to let the Bills score quickly to give Baltimore’s offense time to drive back down the field, but Oweh apparently didn’t get the memo.
Harbaugh’s decision to go for it late in the game will no doubt draw plenty of controversy, and the game may indeed have ended differently if the Ravens had scored the easy three points to take the lead (when Justin Tucker is your kicker, those field goals are near-guarantees).
This Ravens collapse felt different from their defensive meltdown in Week 2 against the Dolphins, but nonetheless, the defeat stings just as much. Here’s hoping for a bounce-back performance against the Bengals next week.