Winners of three straight, the Baltimore Ravens traveled to Kansas City, Missouri, to face the seemingly unstoppable Chiefs in a cold, hostile environment.
Baltimore won the toss and deferred, putting their top-ranked defense on the field first. It was evident early that the Ravens would have trouble covering tight end Travis Kelce, as he caught two passes for 21 yards on the opening drive. Baltimore’s defense stiffened up and stopped Kansas City, forcing a punt.
Rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson took the field next with the crowd roaring. Jackson was able to pick up a first down with a 12-yard pass to wide receiver Michael Crabtree, but the drive stalled after Jackson was sacked on third down.
Quarterback Patrick Mahomes came out hot on the second drive, leading the Chiefs offense on a 75-yard scoring drive. A pass interference call on Marlon Humphrey against Kelce in the end zone led to a one-yard touchdown run for Damien Williams. Kansas City led 7-0.
Down early in one of the toughest environments in all of football, Jackson was able to remain poised and lead his team on a scoring drive of their own. Running backs Gus Edwards and Kenneth Dixon both gashed the Chiefs defense, with Dixon punching it into the end zone to tie the game, 7-7.
RUN IT.@_BONEHEAD_tez_ starts off Q2 pic.twitter.com/ds5KNJSayM— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) December 9, 2018
Kansas City’s next drive ended in a missed 51-yard field goal from Harrison Butker. The Ravens took their first lead of the day with a 28-yard field goal from Justin Tucker. It didn’t take long for the Chiefs to regain it, however. Mahomes orchestrated yet another 75-yard scoring drive to put Kansas City up 14-10. It was Kelce who scored this time, finding his way behind multiple defenders to catch the 15-yard touchdown pass.
Baltimore quickly went three-and-out, giving the Chiefs the ball back with just over a minute left in the half. Mahomes had no problem driving his team down the field again for a 24-yard field goal to extend their lead, 17-10 at halftime.
The Ravens received the ball to open the second half, but was unable to do anything. The defense finally stepped up though with safety Chuck Clark intercepting Mahomes on the next drive. Clark’s interception led to a Baltimore touchdown to tie the game. After some strong runs to get down the field, the Ravens were forced with a 4th-and-2 at the 10-yard line. Deciding to go for it, Jackson hit tight end Maxx Williams who ran it in for the 10-yard touchdown.
TD @williams_maxx!! pic.twitter.com/TSAnWqbrqR— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) December 9, 2018
The next three drives ended in back-and-forth punts before Baltimore took the lead with another touchdown. Cyrus Jones returned the punt 55 yards to set the Ravens up in the red zone and Jackson found wide receiver John Brown through the air for the score, giving Baltimore a 24-17 lead with just over four minutes left to play in the game.
.@Lj_era8 finds @Jwalk_back12 for the LEAD! pic.twitter.com/TTEyJ5Xy8L— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) December 9, 2018
A staple of the Ravens defense in recent years has been to collapse to in the fourth quarter with the game on the line. Faced with a 4th-and-9 at their own 40, Mahomes scrambled out of the pocket and found wide receiver Tyreek Hill for a 48-yard gain. Kansas City faced another fourth down later in the drive but was able to convert yet again, this time in the form of a five-yard touchdown pass to Williams. With 53 seconds left in regulation, the game was tied 24-24.
Jackson faced his toughest challenge yet, tasked with leading the offense into field goal range with under a minute left to play, On third down, Jackson was stripped by Justin Houston and the ball was recovered by the Chiefs at the 23-yard line. On third-and-12 with three seconds left, Butker missed another kick, sending the game to overtime.
Kansas City received the ball to start overtime. Baltimore’s defense held in the red zone after allowing Mahomes to march down the field. Butker’s kick was good this time from 35 yards. The Chiefs led 27-24 with 4:42 left in overtime.
The following drive was disastrous for the Ravens. After picking up a couple of first downs, Baltimore was backed up on second down by a false start on left tackle Ronnie Stanley. On 2nd-and-18, Jackson was sacked for a four-yard loss. Jackson was hurt on the play, leading Robert Griffin III to enter the game. Griffin was unable to complete a pass on the next two plays to pick up a first down.
Jackson had his best game as a passer yet, going 13/24 for 147 yards and two touchdowns. He rushed for 71 yards as well. Willie Snead IV led all receivers with five receptions for 61 yards.
The Ravens fall to 7-6 after a crushing defeat. While they still remain the holders of the sixth seed into the playoffs for now, several teams are hot on their heals at 7-6 as well. Baltimore must win out now to guarantee a playoff spot, and that starts next week at home against the 5-8 Tampa Bay Buccaneers.