NFL Week 17 takeaways: What we learned, big questions for every game and future team outlooks - Jamison Hensley
The Ravens’ inability to finish will keep them out of the playoffs. Four games in the Ravens’ five-game losing streak were decided by a total of five points. The Ravens, who once had a 91% chance of reaching the playoffs in Week 13, have watched their postseason chances plummet to 8%. Baltimore couldn’t upset the NFC-leading Rams because backup quarterback Tyler Huntley, who filled in for the injured Lamar Jackson (ankle), couldn’t finish drives. The Ravens’ offense failed to score a touchdown in a game for the first time in three years, settling for four field goals from Justin Tucker. Then, the Baltimore defense, which had forced three turnovers, couldn’t make a critical stop late in the fourth quarter, allowing a nine-play, 75-yard game-winning drive.
The Ravens, who had the AFC’s best record five weeks ago, have lost five games in a row for the first time in coach John Harbaugh’s 14 seasons. Baltimore now needs to beat the Steelers in what looks to be Ben Roethlisberger’s final game and get lots of help elsewhere to avoid missing the playoffs for the first time since 2017.
2021 NFL season, Week 17: What we learned from Sunday’s games - Chase Goodbread
The Ravens’ defense was much improved. With a healthier lineup and, no doubt, some added determination, the Ravens defense rebounded from last week’s franchise-record allowance of 575 yards. Although the unit couldn’t get a late stop to secure the win, the Ravens played a physical brand of football with a sense of urgency and a determined edge befitting a team desperate to turn its season around in time to reach the postseason. Clark spearheaded that effort with a pair of interceptions in the first half. A Tyus Bowser strip sack on the opening drive of the second half killed another strong scoring opportunity for Los Angeles. Stafford ended up with a 300-yard day, but it didn’t come easy. Ultimately, the Ravens gave up 20 points to a team averaging nearly 28, and needed more from their offense to finish the job.
Devonta Freeman took 14 carries for 76 yards, with 48 coming after contact, and forced four missed tackles. Latavius Murray carried 11 times, but for just 31 yards. Both running backs moved the chains three times on the ground.
Wide Receiver/Tight End
Rashod Bateman saw a team-leading 10 targets and was one of three pass-catchers with five or more. He caught seven balls for 61 yards. Tight end Mark Andrews caught all six of his targets for 89 yards, and Marquise Brown brought in just three of his eight targets for 28 yards.
It was a poor day from the Ravens’ offensive line, which allowed 11 pressures — including four sacks. Kevin Zeitler allowed two sacks and three total pressures. Trystan Colon and Patrick Mekari also each allowed a sack.
Patrick Queen allowed four catches on five targets for 63 yards. Three went for first downs, and one was a touchdown. Josh Bynes allowed catches on both targets into his coverage, but for just 12 yards and a first down.
Position-by-position grades for Ravens’ 20-19 loss to Rams - Mike Preston
As usual, the Ravens were successful keeping the opposing team’s running game under control as the Rams finished with 73 yards on 20 carries. Nose tackle Brandon Williams and defensive end Calais Campbell got some good penetration that interrupted a few running plays, but there were times when both players seemed to get tired, especially in the second half. Most of the Ravens’ pressure came from their outside linebackers. Campbell finished with four tackles but only had one quarterback hit. Grade: B-
Because the Ravens are missing three starters in the backend, this is a mix-and-match group. As a unit, the secondary played well in the first half, but there were still some glaring holes in zone coverage. The Ravens are playing with inexperienced cornerbacks, but these are still some of the best athletes in the country. It’s one thing to get beat on a great throw or a great catch, but the Ravens are often out of position, especially in the middle of the field. That’s coaching. Somewhere along the line, the message isn’t getting across, and it’s been that way all year. Safety Chuck Clark had two interceptions, including one he returned for a 17-yard touchdown late in the first quarter. Grade: C+
The Ravens’ pass rush needs to be a top offseason priority … again.
As Matthew Stafford dropped back to throw, he frequently had a well-protected pocket and time to go through his progressions, which is all he needed with a receiver group led by Cooper Kupp and Odell Beckham Jr.
Stafford was sacked once — by Tyus Bowser, who forced a turnover on the play — and he was hit four times, but he was able to stay comfortably on his spot most of the time.
Tyler Huntley was often flushed from the pocket and under duress, and it was somewhat fitting that he was sacked on the huge third-down play that preceded the Ravens’ final field goal.
It was indeed a study in contrasts watching the two quarterbacks, and to a large extent that should have been expected. The Rams feature a ferocious front seven, the Ravens’ offensive line has been suspect all season and was missing two starters, and the Ravens were starting their backup quarterback. The Ravens’ defense, meanwhile, has struggled to get to the quarterback all year and was without rookie edge rusher Odafe Oweh, second on the team with five sacks.
Ravens Take No Moral Victories in Another Close Loss - Clifton Brown
“We don’t do this thing for moral victories,” said tight end Mark Andrews, who broke the franchise single season receiving record in Sunday’s game. “A loss is a loss, that stuff still just burns. It sucks. We’re trying to win. This is the Ravens, and that’s what we do. We win games, and we’re going to get back on track.”