A lot of times, when somebody says “that game really had it all” it’s not entirely accurate. What they usually mean is “wow, that game had multiple exciting moments.”
Well, today, I actually mean it. The Ravens' loss to the Chiefs really did have it all.
-- There was so much going on, actually, that it will be very easy to overlook several wild moments.
-- There was Lamar Jackson’s beautiful 21-yard rush during an 8-play, zero-pass touchdown drive from the Ravens to tie the game at 7-7.
-- There was Harrison Butker’s 51-yard field goal attempt going wide right to keep the game tied.
-- There was Patrick Mahomes hitting Travis Kelce in the end zone, a combination the Ravens struggled to contain all afternoon.
-- There was the Ravens failing to convert a short 4th-down conversion after an unfavorable spot from the officials, and Mahomes giving the ball back three plays later on the Ravens’ first interception in 293 pass attempts (longest drought in team history).
-- There was the Ravens not hesitating to go for another 4th-down conversion, this time capping a 14-play drive with a touchdown pass to Maxx Williams.
-- There was Patrick Mahomes completing a no-look pass.
Allow me to repeat. In football, not basketball, he completed a NO-LOOK PASS.
-- There was a phantom offensive pass interference call against Michael Crabtree to derail a potential 4th quarter go-ahead drive.
-- There was offsetting penalties on a punt attempt, and Baltimore-native Cyrus Jones returning the second-chance punt 55 yards deep into Kansas City territory to set up another touchdown.
-- There was Patrick Mahomes flinging up a prayer on 4th-and-9 for a 48-yard completion to Tyreek Hill, keeping hope alive for the Chiefs.
-- There was the Chiefs’ own 4th-down touchdown completion, this one to tie the game at 24-24.
-- There was a Lamar Jackson fumble to seemingly give the victory to the Chiefs, followed by a second Butker miss to send the game to overtime.
-- There was Mahomes fumbling the ball away untouched, only for Terrell Suggs to overrun it and the Chiefs to recover.
-- There was Lamar Jackson leaving the game with an injury, and Robert Griffin III coming in on 3rd-and-22 near midfield.
-- There was a perfect throw from RGIII on 4th-and-22 that grazed off Willie Snead’s fingertips as Kendall Fuller wrapped him up a second early with no call to seal the devastating loss.
Like so many games and seasons before, the Ravens were just one play short of getting over the hump. Even entering the game as heavy underdogs, it’s hard to feel satisfied with a “good loss” or a “moral victory” at this point in the season. Not only are the Ravens hoping to stay alive in the AFC North, but there’s now a 4-way tie among 7-6 teams fighting for the AFC’s 6-seed.
The Ravens currently hold the tiebreaker, but face a tough schedule the rest of the way and now have zero room for error.
Ultimately, it was a terrific performance by the defense for 56 minutes, before looking gassed at the end of the game. It’s no coincidence that the first time the defense has failed to close the game late in the 4th quarter during the Lamar Jackson Era is also the first time the Ravens have lost the time of possession battle.
It was especially frustrating for John Harbaugh to see so many borderline calls go in favor of the Chiefs. Baltimore was called for 11 penalties for a whopping 112 yards, many coming on calls described by the broadcast as “ticky-tack” or “weak” or just plain “ehhhhhhhh.”
Nobody ever gives sympathy to the team complaining about the refs, but it makes a tough loss that much tougher. It’s more difficult to swallow a loss when the refs swallow their whistles.
There’s a lot to be encouraged by if you’re a Ravens fan. The moment wasn’t too big for Jackson, and the defense did as well as any defense has to try to defend Mahomes this season.
There won’t be a ton of solace to take if they wind up on the outside looking in come January, though. Every game from here on out is critically important, and hopefully, the Ravens can finish more strongly against competition that isn’t as talented and downright scary as the 2018 Chiefs.
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