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Flying with the Flock: Ravens Mimic Falcons in Crushing Loss

By Peter Kriebel, Contributor

The Bad

Cruising into the 4th quarter against the Dolphins with a 21-point lead, Lamar Jackson and the offense handed the keys to the car over to the defense – who drove it off a cliff.

The only way that Miami was going to get back in that game was by getting huge chunk plays. Who cares if they score a touchdown if it takes them 8 minutes and 13 plays to do it? But rather than swallowing their pride, dropping in zone and keeping everything in front, the Ravens played aggressive man coverage and let multiple deep touchdowns go over their head. Even when the defense called the right play, defenders blew their assignments. How can a defensive game be so mismanaged?

The Incredibly Bad

Watching from section 524 at M&T bank Stadium, I was sickened by my favorite team’s collapse. I’m furious that a team founded in the image of suffocating defense allowed itself to lose while scoring 38 points. Tyreek Hill and Jalen Waddle are a tough cover for any defense, but Miami had this game handed to them at the end of it. But don’t let the defensive collapse distract from Baltimore’s 4th quarter offense doing everything it could to lose this game. Greg Roman’s refusal to abandon the clearly failing running game made me want to pull my hair out.

The Infuriating

On the ensuing drive after the Dolphins tied up the game with 5:19 left, Roman called a beautiful series of plays that Lamar and the offense executed to near perfection. So where’s my complaint? Once the offense could sniff Justin Tucker’s field goal range, Roman curled up into a little ball of complacency. Instead of motion blocking Ricard or Likely and letting the rest of the Ravens route up the Dolphins in single coverage, he called a running play to Kenyan Drake into the Dolphins’ stout front. He followed that up with a conservative pass designed to go slightly beyond the line of scrimmage. These led to Lamar having to try and pick up a 3rd and 11, which the offense did not convert. After that series, I was seriously wondering if Greg Roman’s opponent in fantasy football had Lamar Jackson. Trust your MVP quarterback to deliver as he’s been doing all game. If the Ravens lost because Lamar slipped up and made a mistake, so be it. He was on fire and was the only reason Baltimore was in that game. But putting the ball in the hands of Kenyan Drake? Knowing that means the Dolphins will see the ball with more than enough time left? That just doesn’t sit right with me. Drake’s inability to get anything going was a reminder of how much we need Dobbins and Stanley to get back. If it weren’t for Lamar’s magical 79-yard house call, this team’s yards per carry would have been a pathetic 3.2.

Lamar Jackson, MVP?

On a positive note, Lamar looks like his old MVP self. This is the best he’s thrown the ball in his career, and it isn’t close. Last season’s turnover troubles were uncharacteristic. He processes the field so well and takes excellent care of the football. He significantly elevates everyone around him on offense and was far and away the best QB in this game. Put him on the Dolphins with Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle and they might not lose a game all season. Miami has a special roster and is absolutely a playoff team. This game strikes me as an outlier in what I still believe will be a great Ravens’ season. This loss is also softened by the fact that the entire AFC North lost this Sunday. But it’s still brutal.

Looking Ahead

Let’s hope this game is a learning experience and a motivator for the Ravens coaches and players because the next few weeks are tough. Next week’s game in New England is the easiest game of the slate. But it’s hardly a cakewalk. The Patriots played Miami close in Week one and just beat the Steelers, so this isn’t a game the Ravens should overlook. Baltimore’s defense must play better to escape October above .500. Despite all this negativity, there’s something to be said for a team that just scored nearly 40 points having so many possible areas of improvement. If some of the injured players can come back healthy, in combination with some reasonable progression from the youngsters on this team, Baltimore should be just fine.

Report Card

Quarters 1-3 Grade: A

Quarter 4 grade: F

 

Author

  • Peter Kriebel is a contributor for Godzilla Wins covering the Baltimore Ravens with his Flying with the Flock column. An obsessed Ravens fan, Peter Kriebel has experienced it all watching his favorite team. He’s had plenty of holidays spoiled, days ruined, and weeks tainted but also had his fair share of excitement. He finds himself religiously glued to the couch each season, ready to be hurt again. He is the sports editor for Douglas Freeman High School’s newspaper in Henrico, Virginia, and a weekly contributor to Godzilla Wins.

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