Riding high after a primetime victory in Week 5, the Baltimore Ravens had an opportunity to build momentum with back-to-back wins for the first time this season. Instead, they succumbed to the New York Giants via another late-game collapse, ultimately losing 24-20.
Here’s what we can take away from today’s disappointing defeat.
A masterclass in beating yourself
In the first half, the Ravens scored only 10 points despite crossing the Giants’ 40 yard line on four straight possessions. A slew of false start penalties and negative rushes on the first two drives set them back, and Justin Tucker missed a 56-yard field goal off the upright.
In the third quarter, the Ravens’ defense had the Giants stopped short on third down. Odafe Oweh was called for unsportsmanlike conduct, gifting New York 15 yards and a new set of downs. They scored a field goal six plays later.
Then, in a span of just a few minutes in the fourth quarter, the mistakes went from bad to terrible. With a chance to put the game away up three points, a Lamar Jackson first down rush was nullified by an illegal formation penalty. Jackson was intercepted on the next play after a botched snap and ill-advised, across-body throw into double coverage.
Again another third down stop was nullified by Marcus Peters’ defensive pass interference penalty in the end zone. The Giants scored the go-ahead touchdown on the next play, and the game was sealed with Jackson being strip-sacked two plays later.
The Giants should be commended for taking advantage of the Ravens’ mistakes and earning a comeback victory. However, between drive-killing penalties on offense, drive-extending penalties on defense, and late turnovers, the Ravens did just about all they could to lose this game.
When you outgain your opposition 406 to 238, have five more first downs and rush for over 200 yards as a team, you should usually win. It’s hard to overcome so many self-inflicted wounds, though, against a well-coached, formidable opponent.
Another fourth quarter debacle
A 12-yard touchdown catch from Mark Andrews early in the fourth quarter extended the Ravens’ lead to 20-10. Unfortunately, a multiple-score lead late in the game has not been a successful recipe for the Ravens this season. Yet again that was the case today.
The Giants responded with a 12-play, 75-yard touchdown drive in just under seven minutes to trim their deficit to three points again. As mentioned previously, the Ravens then squandered a chance to either put the game away with first downs or more points.
The illegal formation penalty called on Ronnie Stanley that wiped out Jackson’s first down rush got the ball rolling. The interception and defensive pass interference penalty swung the game in the Giants’ favor. The strip-sack on the final offensive drive was the icing on the cake.
All three of the Ravens’ losses this year have a common denominator: they led by 10 or more points in the second half and couldn’t close the deal. They slayed that dragon by finishing late against the Bengals in Week 5, but evidently failed to build off that today.
Uneven offensive distribution was glaring
Since Rashod Bateman has been sidelined with a foot injury, Mark Andrews has dominated the pass-catching target share even more than usual. That’s not unexpected. However, Devin Duvernay had stepped up recently in a larger role and helped overshadow the lack of production from other receivers not named Andrews.
Today, in a game where Duvernay caught only 1-of-5 targets for 14 yards, the lack of balance in offensive distribution was glaring. 11 of Jackson’s 32 pass attempts went Andrews’ direction. Seven more went to backup tight ends Isaiah Likely and Josh Oliver.
Besides Duvernay, Demarcus Robinson (five targets) and Tylan Wallace (one target) were the only other wide receivers to see passes come their way. These three combined for five total catches and 45 receiving yards. Jackson has to be better and this may naturally correct itself when Bateman returns to the lineup. However, the lack of playmaking options outside of Andrews was more apparent today than it has been all season.
The surprising backfield development from today is also worth nothing. The Ravens wasted a heroic effort from Kenyan Drake, who rushed for 119 yards on just 10 carries with four runs of 15+ yards. This came at the expense of J.K. Dobbins, though, who did not appear to see the field after the Ravens’ third offensive drive of the game.
How does this situation play out now moving forward? Add that to the list of questions facing the Ravens.