On Sunday, the eight-point favorite Baltimore Ravens lost in devastating fashion to the Indianapolis Colts. With multiple starters out for Baltimore, and the rain from tropical storm Ophelia coming down on M&T Bank Stadium, the Colts outlasted the Ravens in overtime by a score of 22-19.
While the team battled to the very end, the effort of the team didn’t mask the countless offensive mistakes that led to the Ravens first loss of the season.
Kyle Hamilton and the defense
The Ravens defense continues to be stingy, especially at home. Down multiple starters, the defense made things very difficult on the Colts who averaged just 3.9 yards per play. While the whole defense deserves props for the way they held up down the stretch and kept Indianapolis out of the end zone, one player in particular stood out.
Kyle Hamilton had a game for the ages, registering three sacks and nine tackles to go along with a few pass breakups and tackles for a loss. Hamilton primarily operated out of a slot nickel role, a position that he played in exclusively last year. To put it simply, the Colts had no answer for Hamilton who seemed to be around the ball on every play.
He has become a game changer when he hovers around the line of scrimmage and Sunday was no different. Although Hamilton has been functioning more as a traditional safety this year, his play in the slot makes it very difficult for the coaching staff to keep him on the backend. Expect Hamilton to get some strong consideration for AFC defensive player of the week after his stellar performance.
Offensive execution and turnovers
The Ravens offensive execution was just not there on Sunday. Versus the Cincinnati Bengals, the unit was a well oiled machine and moved up and down the field with ease. They kept Lamar Jackson clean and complemented the short pass game with a steady rush attack. Their Week 3 performance couldn’t have been further from that.
After the offense took it right down the field for a touchdown on the opening drive, the following possessions were marred by costly fumbles and punts. The offensive line that registered the lowest pressure rate of Jackson’s career in Week 2 couldn’t keep the Colts off of their franchise quarterback. Defensive coordinator Gus Bradley blitzed Jackson heavily, forcing some errant throws and untimely sacks, like the one on Baltimore’s final possession of the fourth quarter.
The Ravens defense’ gave the offense multiple opportunities to put the game away, with most of their fourth quarter and overtime possessions starting near midfield. Unfortunately, they couldn’t capitalize and the questions surrounding the evolution of the offense started to rain in.
Late game officiating
Although it is true that the Ravens shot themselves in the foot multiple times throughout the game, the officials didn’t do the Ravens any favors. Most noticeably, two egregious missed calls on rookie wide receiver Zay Flowers late in the game.
The first was a clear face mask penalty which would have resulted in offsetting penalties and given the Ravens another crack at a third down. While that missed call certainly stung, the missed defensive pass interference call in overtime proved to be the back-breaker. On fourth down, Jackson was looking for Flowers on a crossing route before Colts’ linebacker E.J. Speed hooked and tackled Flowers before the ball arrived. In real time and in the replay, it was clear the refs missed a big one. The play resulted in a turnover on downs, leading to the 53-yard game winning field goal by Colts’ kicker Matt Gay.