Ravens fail to take game to overtime, fall 23-24
Final Score: Saints 24, Ravens 23
What went right: The Ravens only put together one drive in the first quarter but in the second, were able to run effectively when needed and managed to pick up a few short yardage conversions including a 4th down & 8 to John Brown keeping a 17 play 63 yard drive going. The offense provided a clean pocket for Joe Flacco to hit receivers and was a reason in him finding John Brown for another 56 yard catch and run in the second quarter. That big play set the stage for the first Lamar Jackson goal line package of the season resulting in a 1 yard touchdown run for the rookies first ever NFL score.
The defense held Drew Brees under 100 yards passing until the end of the third quarter and kept the Saints offense under wraps through three quarters of play. Joe Flacco had 2:00 left in the game and had to put a drive together to get down the field for a chance to tie the score. He drove 82 yards and capped it off with a beautiful John Brown 14 yard touchdown pass along the side of the end zone. Those are the drives that the offense can build confidence on and keep this offense ranked in the top 10 for total offense.
What went wrong: Obviously the missed extra point by Justin Tucker prevented the Ravens from taking the game to overtime but overall, this defense had no answers for Drew Brees in the fourth quarter.
The Ravens second half shut out streak ended in the fourth quarter when Drew Brees scored 17 points seemingly at will. The Ravens were unable to generate consistent pass rush with their front four and Drew Brees made the Ravens pay the price for blitzing. There were several times he was able to get a last second pass off while in the grasp of a Raven defender. The Ravens also had a few bad breaks on calls that included a tuck-rule style hit that may have been called a fumble (recovered and ran back for a touchdown) and another in an Eric Weddle strip-fumble (recovered by the Ravens) of running back Alvin Kamara that was not called.
Offensively, the Ravens seemed to sputter out at the end of the third and early fourth quarters. A wide open Willie Snead dropped an easy pass that would have resulted in a big gain across midfield and John Brown did not have a second half catch until the fourth quarter with 4:48 left in the game. In a game that demanded ball control offense to keep Brees and company off of the field, the Ravens came close, but not close enough to put the New Orleans Saints away.
Injuries: Rookie guard Bradley Bozeman exited the game once towards the end of the first half, and again in the second half with what appeared to be a left calf injury from a hyper-extension while planting on an earlier block.
Looking Ahead: The Ravens will travel to Carolina for their fourth road game in five weeks. Carolina is coming off a similar fourth quarter, 21 point comeback to steal a victory from the Philadelphia Eagles.
Notable: Chris Moore is sitting atop the John Harbaugh special teams award list with a simply perfect downing of a punt at the one yard line in the third quarter. Moore blew past the returner while tracking the ball over his head, stopped, turned around at the one yard line, and then downed the ball forcing the Saints to start deep in their own territory at the one yard line. Text book special teams play and very impressive.
Fantasy: If you are in a pinch, it looks like Joe Flacco is a capable weekly fill-in or streamer…Willie Snead continues to receive a minimum of three catches or more a game and would have had more if not for a big drop…Michael Crabtree is consistently in that 4-8 catch range and is gameflow dependent on touchdowns…Mark Andrews appears to be the hot TE for the Ravens, you have to wonder if the team sees him as the number one rest of season…Justin Tucker misses one extra point out of 222 consecutive kicks, worst time to miss one but you are keeping him…Alex Collins & Buck Allen combined for 41 yards, safe to say the offensive identity is currently passing the ball.
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