Two curious decisions haunted Ravens. John Harbaugh made two interesting calls in a 20-20 game that might have hurt the Ravens’ chances of winning. The first came late in the third quarter as the Ravens had a promising drive going. Lamar Jackson appeared to scramble for a first down, reaching the ball past the marker, but was ruled to be short at the Baltimore 34-yard line. Harbaugh challenged the play and lost, costing his team a timeout. The Ravens would end up going for it on fourth down and getting it, but the drive would end without points.
Then with just over four minutes remaining, the Ravens eschewed the field goal on fourth-and-goal from the Buffalo 2-yard line; Jackson was picked in the end zone. The Bills drove down for the winning score. Arguably, a field goal wouldn’t have prevented Allen from scoring; it took them only two minutes of game clock to move from their own 20-yard line to the Baltimore 11, with ample time left. But the Bills might have played the end of the game differently down three points instead of it being tied.
J.K. Dobbins makes a difference. Dobbins’ return last week appeared to come with some limitations, as he ran the ball seven times and caught two passes in a 27-snap outing, his first of the season after returning from injury. This week, the leash was loosened even more, as Dobbins ran for a score and caught another, totaling 63 yards on 17 touches. He became the first player in franchise history to score both a rushing and receiving touchdown in any one quarter as the Ravens built a lead.
NFL Week 4 takeaways: Lessons, big questions for every game - Jamison Hensley
What to know: For the second time this season, Baltimore lost at home after leading by 17 or more points. The Ravens held a 20-3 lead late in the second quarter before watching Buffalo score 20 straight points. Baltimore became the first team in eight years to lose multiple games at home when leading by 17 or more points. In Week 2, Tua Tagovailoa threw four touchdown passes against the Ravens’ defense in the fourth quarter. This time, Lamar Jackson and the offense disappeared in the second half and couldn’t punch the ball into the end zone in the red zone. The Ravens are 2-2 and host a Bengals team that will have 10 days’ rest.
Why didn’t the Ravens kick the field goal? The Ravens went for the touchdown on fourth down from the Buffalo 2-yard line instead of kicking the go-ahead field goal. Jackson was pressured and threw an interception in the end zone, keeping the game tied at 20 with four minutes remaining. The Bills then marched down the field to kick the winning, 21-yard field goal as time expired. Ravens cornerback Marcus Peters had to be pulled away from yelling at coach John Harbaugh before the winning kick, throwing his helmet down on the sideline. This has been a frustrating start for Baltimore.
Controversial Roughing the Passer Call Helps Sink Ravens - Clifton Brown
Brandon Stephens was called for roughing the passer on Buffalo’s game-winning drive, although replays showed that Stephens did not make indisputable direct contact with quarterback Josh Allen’s head/neck area. Allen’s head snapped back, but Stephens grabbed the quarterback with both arms near Allen’s waist and pulled him to the ground.
After the play, Allen slammed his hands on the ground in anger and asked the officials to throw a flag, and the star quarterback got his wish.
On the CBS broadcast, analyst Charles Davis said he did not think a penalty should have been called on Stephens.
“I think he was right there to make the play on Josh Allen,” Davis said. “I don’t like the call.”
Earlier in the game, inside linebacker Patrick Queen said Allen was begging for a flag when he was hit by Queen.
“I could kind of tell it was about to go that way,” Queen said. “The very first time I hit him, he looks at a ref and calls his name out. Eventually, they’re going to give him one.”
Right guard Kevin Zeitler said it was imperative that the Ravens not dwell on the defeat.
“It hurts, it burns, everyone is angry; that’s good,” Zeitler said. “We need to use that and get that to improve. We have another tough test next week, and we’ve got to get it going.”
Position-by-position grades for Ravens’ 23-20 loss to Bills - Mike Preston
This group was dominant in the first half as the Ravens mauled the Bills at the line of scrimmage and into the second level. The Ravens were successful running draws and cutbacks, and guards Ben Powers and Kevin Zeitler were effective climbing to the second level and pulling down the line of scrimmage. Rookie left tackle Daniel Faalele had a good effort in the first half run blocking against star outside linebacker Von Miller, but the Bills turned up the pressure in the second half with blitzes and crowded the line of scrimmage. The Ravens allowed two sacks, but one was from Jackson holding onto the ball too long. Grade: C
The combination of rain, cold and wind caused problems for receivers, and maybe no player struggled more than second-year wideout Rashod Bateman, who had three catches for 17 yards but also dropped three passes. Tight end Mark Andrews, the team’s top pass-catcher this season, had only two catches for 15 yards, while Duvernay had four receptions for 51 yards. The Ravens seemed content to throw short. Maybe it was because of the poor weather, but the Bills averaged 11.2 yards per catch compared to 7.2 for the Ravens. Grade: C
End Justin Madubuike played a strong game, finishing with three tackles and deflecting two passes at the line of scrimmage. Like the rest of the defense, this group wore down in the second half. The frustration could be seen on the face of veteran end Calais Campbell, who spent a lot of time arguing with officials. Against the Bills’ fast-paced offense, the Ravens’ front looked winded in crunch time. Grade: C
NFL Week 4 grades: Ravens get ‘D’ for blowing big lead vs. Bills, Cowboys earn ‘A-’ for crushing Commanders - John Breech
The Ravens are going to be asking themselves a lot of questions after this loss. After dominating for most of the first half, the Ravens looked like they forgot how to play football. Offensively, they couldn’t move the ball in the second half (They totaled just 127 yards) and it definitely didn’t help that Lamar Jackson threw two interceptions. On the defensive side of the ball, things weren’t much better for the Ravens in the second half as they surrendered nearly 200 yards of offense to the Bills. This is the type of loss that’s going to sting for a while because the Ravens know they were good enough to win.