The Ravens needed to hold the Chiefs to eight or less yards to get the ball back.
Faced with a third-and-9 in their own territory, the Chiefs dialed up a screen pass to win the game. Instead of nine yards, they got 16.
On a day when the defense had trouble getting off the field, it was only fitting the Ravens couldn’t get a stop when it mattered most in a 33-28 loss to the Chiefs on Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium.
“That play is really kind of a play that everybody on the defense is really kind of involved in,” Tony Jefferson said. “So we say, ‘Who’s responsible for the screen? Everybody.’ Back to the drawing board, we’ll look at it and see the things we’ve got to fix.”
The Ravens defense allowed 503 yards of total offense, a number they didn’t hit all of last season. The longest play was an 83-yard touchdown from Patrick Mahomes to Mecole Hardman to put the Chiefs up 20-6 in the second quarter.
Mahomes finished the day with 374 yards passing and three touchdowns. His 374 yards passing was a number Mahomes needed overtime to hit last season.
“That’s an explosive, very good offense,” Jefferson said. “Mahomes did a good job extending plays, as we knew.”
Baltimore’s defense allowed 23 points in the second quarter as it had trouble dealing with Kansas City’s vaunted passing attack. But a problem that came up unexpectedly was the run, as the Chiefs averaged 5.4 yards a carry.
The Ravens trailed 23-6 at halftime, but cut the lead multiple times to a one-score game in the second half. But the 17-point deficit was far too much to overcome, especially with an offense like Kansas City’s.
“I thought our guys fought like crazy,” coach John Harbaugh said. “If we get a little bit better, we’ll win games like this.”
The game took a bit of a turn in the second half, as the Ravens continually went for two-point conversions in an aggressive game plan. They missed all three.
They also went two-for-three on fourth down conversions, in an effort to keep their offense on the field and keep Mahomes off it.
“Analytically, when you look at the numbers, it’s not even close,” Harbaugh said. “In terms of percentage of chances to win the game. We believe in our offense, we’re going to try and get as many first downs as we can.”
And while the defense improved in the second half and only allowed 10 points, the damage was done as the Ravens offense couldn’t climb out of the hole left by the big halftime deficit.
Even the aggressiveness of the offense couldn’t make up for the early halftime deficit.
“We talked about it going into the game, that our offense was going to take chances on fourth down and we were ready for it,” Jefferson said. “We totally agreed with it, because we don’t back down from anybody.”
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