After seemingly cleaning up their issues with closing games over the past few weeks, the Ravens reverted to their early-season ways in Week 12. Baltimore squandered another two-possession lead in the fourth quarter in Jacksonville, as the Jaguars ultimately won by one-point following a late touchdown drive and two-point conversion.
Another sour ending will leave a bad taste in most Ravens’ fans mouths and rightfully so. However, there was some good things to take away from Sunday’s action too, as well as some developments that were more ugly than anything.
Let’s break it down below.
Third down efficiency
The Ravens converted eight of their 14 third down attempts in this game. That’s good for a success rate of well over 50%, a mark that’s difficult to hit against most opponents. Now, those six unsuccessful tries unfortunately came at inopportune times (more on that below), but overall that level of third down efficiency will lead to success more often than not.
Of the eight conversions, Lamar Jackson picked up a few with his legs, connected with different pass-catchers and Gus Edwards moved the chains in short-yardage situations as well.
Fourth quarter scoring
Baltimore’s offense had scored 12 points entering the fourth quarter, all via field goals from Justin Tucker. They flipped a switch when they needed to the most. A quick seven-play drive following a forced turnover by the defense saw Edwards score a one-yard touchdown after two first down conversions. Then, trailing by one point, Jackson orchestrated a quick 75-yard scoring drive in just six plays and a little over two minutes.
DeSean Jackson’s 62-yard reception on second-and-long was the spark the Ravens’ offense desperately needed all game. It took awhile for it to happen, but it was a welcome sign to see the Ravens score back-to-back touchdowns after routinely settling for three points all game.
Prior to this week, the Ravens had allowed just a little north of 100 rushing yards combined against their previous three opponents. Their ascension of their run defense continued in this game with another stout performance.
Granted it helped that Jacksonville’s star running back, Travis Etienne, exited in the first quarter and did not return to the field. However, backups JaMycal Hasty and Snoop Conner combined for 15 carries and 39 rushing yards. Trevor Lawrence was not an impact rusher, either, and the Ravens stuffed Christian Kirk’s end-around attempt for a five-yard loss.
Josh Oliver and Calais Campbell, two former Jaguars on the Ravens’ roster, were standout performers in their return to Jacksonville.
Oliver had the best performance of his career and led the Ravens in receiving yards (76) and had the team’s lone touchdown reception. The former seventh-round pick had the second-biggest offensive play of the day with a 40-yard reception to begin the Ravens’ opening drive of the third quarter.
Campbell was unsurprisingly a force again on the defensive line. He was one of four Ravens’ defenders to record a sack and led all players in quarterback hits with three. Campbell made a number of key run stops at the line of scrimmage.
Late in the play clock
Yet again in this game, there were a number of instances where the Ravens just barely snapped the ball in time. They ultimately were only flagged for delay of game once in the opening drive, but there were other close calls — particularly in the first half.
This issue has been reoccurring for quite some time now. The Ravens are shooting themselves in the foot by getting to the line of scrimmage so late in the play clock.
Red zone self-destruction
While the Ravens wound up scoring two touchdowns in the fourth quarter, that doesn’t erase their red zone woes earlier in the game. The Ravens ranked No. 20 in red zone touchdowns entering Week 12 and their struggles, particularly in last week’s game against the Carolina Panthers, continued in the first half.
Three of Justin Tucker’s four field goals in the first three quarters were from 29 yards or shorter, an indicator of the offense stalling in scoring position. On their first trip of the game, an incompletion followed by a delay of game penalty set the Ravens back. Then, on the next possession, Demarcus Robinson dropped a would-be touchdown on third down.
Perhaps the most frustrating trip was at the beginning of the third quarter. The Ravens gained over 70 yards in just six plays and had a fresh set of downs just outside the end zone. The next three plays saw Jackson lose a yard on a run, Justice Hill gain just three yards on a draw play, and Jackson take a one-yard sack on third-and-goal.
Points off turnovers
The Ravens coughed the ball up twice in this game. Both of their offensive turnovers led directly to touchdowns by the Jaguars. The second of the two occurred at an untimely moment late in the fourth quarter, which has happened in other losses earlier in the season.
Immediately following a 14-play touchdown drive by the Jaguars, which cut the Ravens’ lead to 19-17, Edwards lost the ball and Jacksonville recovered. It was uncharacteristic mistake from Edwards, but one that gave the Jaguars the ball in prime scoring position. Ultimately the Ravens’ defense held them to a field goal, but that still gave the Jaguars a one-point lead late in the fourth quarter. Those three extra points proved to be huge.
Earlier in the second quarter, Jackson lost the ball on a quarterback sneak attempt on fourth-and-one. The Jaguars scored their first points of the game just four plays later and took a 9-7 lead despite being outplayed thoroughly up to that point.
If you had said the Jaguars needed to drive 75 yards and score a touchdown against the Ravens’ defense, with no timeouts and two minutes remaining, you probably would not have liked their chances of success. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened.
Across 10 plays, the Ravens allowed receptions of 16, 17, and 29 yards. Trevor Lawrence connected with Marvin Jones Jr. for a 10-yard pickup on fourth-and-five and then again for a 10-yard completion in the end zone. That was the go-ahead score following the Jaguars’ successful two-point conversion attempt.
The Ravens defense, which had recently looked elite up to that point, suddenly was on their heels and couldn’t get a stop when they needed to.