Anxiety at Arrowhead, Ravens come close but fall 27-24 in overtime.
What went right: If you wanted to know if the Ravens could hang with a legitimate AFC contender, even with a loss, your answer would be yes. Defensively, the Ravens blitzed consistently and sold out on key moments in numerous Chiefs drives. The first half featured a blitz heavy attack and forced Patrick Mahomes to adjust his protections and scramble to keep plays alive. The Ravens threw multiple looks and blitz schemes at the Chiefs offense all game long and forced Patrick Mahomes to not get comfortable in the pocket. Matt Judon was a key performer for the defense keeping the pressure on Patrick Mahomes and coming away with a sack and a key pressure that resulted in a Chuck Clark interception.
The offense continued with it’s “Ground & Pound” rushing attack and were opening up big running lanes throughout the game. Lamar Jackson was able to keep drives alive and converted two third downs in the first half that resulted in a Justin Tucker field goal to go up 10-7. Kenneth Dixon ran extremely hard, averaged 7.4 yards per carry and ran for a three yard touchdown in the second quarter. The Ravens were successful on a creative 4th down and 2 conversion, running tight end Maxx Williams out of the back field resulting in a ten yard touchdown, tying up the score at 17-17.
Special teams also got in on the action with an electicfying 55 yard fourth quarter punt return by Baltimore native Cyrus Jones that swung momentum late in the game, and ultimately set up the John Brown nine yard touchdown catch going up 24-17. Sam Koch also beamed a beautiful 54 yard punt in the fourth quarter preventing the ever dangerous Tyreek Hill a chance to return it.
What went wrong: Discipline hurt the Ravens in this game, totalling 11 called penalties for 112 yards. Many of those penalties came at the worst of times including a roughing the passer call that led to the Chiefs Travis Kelce touchdown. Another ones came back-to-back with an offensive pass interference on Michael Crabtree followed by a 12 players on the field penalty.
The Chiefs were able to go 4 for 4 on fourth down and also won time of possession 37:00 to 31:27. Travis Kelce took the first quarter of the game over catching four passes for 54 yards and 15 yard touchdown in the second.
The Ravens were also unable to take advantage of numerous key opportunities to put this game away. Chris Moore ran deep into the end zone but was unable to pull in an absolute bomb pass thrown by Lamar Jackson in the third quarter that would have been a huge momentum swing. A few missed sacks by the Ravens defense late in the third and fourth quarters also allowed Patrick Mahomes to make big plays with his feet and pick up a big third and nineteen conversion thanks to a crazy Tyreek Hill catch and run to the first down marker, and the other, a 48 yard, fourth and nine conversion to Tyreek Hill (again) in what was the turning point of the game, and also set up the game tying score pass to Damien Williams for five yards, 24-24.
With .53 seconds left in the fourth quarter, Lamar Jackson fumbled for the eighth time of the season. The Chiefs pressure collapsed the left side of the Ravens line, forcing Lamar Jackson to take the sack and fumble the ball. He stayed down on the turf after a big hit by two Chiefs defenders and later went for X-rays. The Chiefs got the ball and seemingly had the game locked up, but Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker missed the 43 yard field goal to win, taking the game into overtime.
In overtime, the Chiefs would win the toss but see their opening overtime drive stall on a third and fifteen. The Ravens were forced to play Robert Griffin due to the prior injury to Lamar Jackson, and after two Ravens offensive penalties, the Ravens were forced to go for it on fourth and 22. They came up short on the pass to Willie Snead, as it was broken up by the Chiefs defender.
Injuries: Cornerback Jimmy Smith left during the third quarter with an apparent shoulder or arm injury. He did come back into the game a few plays later and appeared to be favoring the arm, but continued to play. Lamar Jackson also took a big hit late in the fourth quarter and was forced to exit the game.
Looking ahead: The Ravens will travel back to Baltimore and host the visiting Tampa Bay Bucs. Tampa Bay is coming off of a home loss to the Saints 28-14, and can be just as dangerous on offfense with Mike Evans, Cameron Brate and Jameis Winston. Without much of a run game, the Ravens are likely to force Jameis Winston to beat them through the air. Turnovers are likely and a solid defensive showing would be great to build off heading to Los Angeles to face the Chargers in week 16.
Fantasy Takeaway: Willie Snead reappeared into the Ravens offense with five catches for 61 yards…Ken Dixon is looking like an absolute bowling ball punishing back and did the same amount of damage as Gus Edwards but with half of the touches, the hot hand is Dixon and he could be a nice flex option if needed…Michael Crabtree is droppable at this point…Justin Tucker is, and always will be the best kicker to have for fantasy purposes…The Ravens defense finally recorded an interception and may come away with a lot of sacks in LA next week…John Brown is off of my radar for the remainder of the playoffs…Lamar Jackson is your handcuff/emergency quarterback…Ty Montgomery should also be dropped
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