As it turns out, missing over a week of practice has its disadvantages.
The Ravens took the field Wednesday for their thrice-delayed matchup with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Originally scheduled for Thanksgiving night, the game was pushed back several times while the Ravens attempted to contain a coronavirus outbreak in their locker room.
Among those to be placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list was quarterback Lamar Jackson. That thrust backup Robert Griffin III into a starting role that came with a unique set of challenges given the Ravens’ inability to host full-contact practices.
Following a three-and-out on their first drive of the game, the Ravens’ offense set out for its second drive looking to gain some momentum. Instead, Griffin fumbled the ball on the first play while attempting to fake a handoff to his running back.
“Basically reading that outside linebacker and just a miscommunication,” NBC Sports’ color commentator Cris Collinsworth said on the broadcast. “That's one of the problems. Yeah, they had some walk throughs, they had a lot of Zoom meetings. But you don't get that. That's a very difficult thing to try and do offensively because the running back doesn't know what Robert Griffin is thinking.
“Unless you've done that thousands and thousands of times, that is very easily messed up. And that's the essence of what this offense is when Griffin is in there so...they better get it right.”
On the next drive, which was set up by a Ben Roethlisberger interception in the red zone, Griffin turned the ball over again. This time, it was a pick-six.
The Ravens were expecting a tough game Wednesday and they quickly retook the lead after a Pittsburgh turnover, but Griffin’s start was far from ideal for a team currently sitting outside the playoff picture in the AFC.