A month earlier, the Baltimore Ravens were in Code Red status.
The team ended September’s practice after two players – No. 1 running back Gus Edwards, and No. 1 cornerback Marcus Peters – tore anterior cruciate ligaments on back-to-back plays. They had already lost JK Dobbins (torn ACL) and Justice Hill (torn Achilles tendon) for the year, and with an entire condition group devastated, many pundits justified 2021 as a lost season. Wrote from
Nevertheless, here they are. The Ravens are 5-1 over AFC North, and a 34-6 finish to the Los Angeles Chargers (4-2) on Sunday sent a clear message to the entire league:
Go ahead and try them.
The Baltimore Ravens can win any type of game.
After going into full MVP mode a week ago in a thrilling win over the Indianapolis Colts, quarterback Lamar Jackson didn’t make his way into the Superman cape on Sunday. The veteran free agent, who was signed by Baltimore when he suffered injuries – Latvius Murray, Devonta Freeman and Le’Von Bell – combined for 115 rushing yards and three touchdowns when the team heads Rusher (behind Jackson). , Ty’son Williams, were inactive.
The Ravens run first and run often, but don’t turn it—this isn’t a ground-and-pound operation straight from the 1970s. With Jackson lighting the match, the Ravens could trade the Haymakers with Patrick Mahomes and Kansas City and come out with a 36-35 win, Blast in the same quarter the way he did against the Colts, or roll with a more surgical approach as was the case with the Chargers.
The threat of Jackson’s hand and Baltimore’s punitive yet complicated run plan drives the defense insane. Jackson has the second-most career 100-yard rushing games (nine) for a quarterback. And while Michael Vick had 10, it took him 143 regular-season games. Jackson? He has played only 52.
Coming into Sunday’s game, there were questions about how the Ravens’ defense would handle an offense that never took its foot off the gas.
The Chargers brought a broken Bravo to go with them 2,700 miles east. Brandon Staley’s 100-mph coaching style helped Los Angeles win over Kansas City at Arrowhead in Week 3, and he went all-out again to beat the Cleveland Browns last week. It seems that he treats punting as if it is a disease.
But in Baltimore, two bold calls turned it all in a jiffy.
In the first half, Staley rolled the dice on fourth and three from the Chargers’ 39-yard line. Quarterback Justin Herbert’s high throw to Mike Williams hit the hands of the wide receiver, but Baltimore’s Marlon Humphrey – one of the most spectacular corners in this NFL – was on the spot to rough Williams. The Ravens retrieved the ball in the second quarter with nine minutes remaining and drove for a field goal and a 17–0 lead.
Staley gambled again in the second half. Behind 24-6, with 5 minutes 58 seconds left in the third quarter, he went for it from his 19-yard line. Herbert’s fourth and a pass were left unfinished, effectively ending the game.
It’s tough to knock a Chargers first-year coach. In a league bound by old-fashioned thinking, this kind of fearlessness should become the rule, not the exception.
This time, however, that bravery backfired with a coordinated defense by Don Martindale against a calloused Ravens team. The old names on this defense are long gone—either retired or signed with other teams—but in his fourth year of defense, Martindale has built a unit capable of wrecking the NFL’s best offenses. has done.
In third place before that first Staley gamble, Ravens safety DeShawn Elliott untucked and dinged Herbert to force a flawed imperfection. In the second quarter, Elliot muscular one block away From 6-foot-5, 246-pound tight end Jared Cook.
Edge rusher Justin Houston, a 10-year NFL veteran, shows he still has plenty of juice in his 31-year-old’s legs bag Herbert, late in the fourth quarter, and linebacker Josh Bynes, who is on his third stint with the Ravens, were omnipresent on Sunday.
After a free run through the Cleveland secondary, the Chargers’ receivers had nowhere to go on Sunday. Herbert’s 67.8 passer rating was the second worst rating of his career. Austin Eckeler? Invisible. He covered 7 yards on six carries.
Finally, we’re gaining clarity in the AFC. The rising Buffalo Bills and Ravens are dynamic quarterbacks with special traits—the awkward arm strength of Josh Allen, not the snarling of Jackson. Jackson’s Midas touch is enough to reduce a lot of injuries. But coming out on Sunday, it is clear that both teams have defenses that can pull any explosive offense down a dark alley and win. This is what made the Ravens so good in 2000 and 2012.
Jackson led? A return to the Super Bowl should be the bar for Baltimore.
What a crazy idea that must have been a month ago.
The odds and dolphin gaffes were needed for the Jaguars to get their first win.
Urban Mayor’s NFL career so far has been an embarrassment. Jacksonville coach Mayer committed some personnel sins – the quick recruitment and firing of strength coaches accused of racist comments and bullying, Tim Tebow distraction at training camp – before the regular season began. Once that was done, the Jaguars (1-5) started losing in heart-wrenching fashion and Meyer’s off-field errors put them on edge.
But on Sunday Meyer got his first win as an NFL coach. The Jaguars beat the Miami Dolphins in a 23-20 stunner with kicker Matthew Wright – signed the day before – drilling a 53-yard field goal when time ran out. A wacky combination of factors was all Jaguars needed to secure their first win.
The game was played at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London.
Struggling teams played hot potatoes with football in the second half with a fumble, an interception and turnovers on the downs in a seven-game span.
Wright leveled the score at 20-20 with a 54-yard kick that somehow curved at the final moment.
Tied 20-20, Dolphins coach Brian Flores wisely went for it on fourth and inches from his 46-yard line with 1:46. The problem was a serious play call. Instead of advancing, Miami lined up in a shotgun formation. Malcolm Brown was stopped short of the marker.
Miami (1-5) had another mistake up their sleeve. On the ensuing possession, the Jaguars faced fourth and -5 from the Dolphins’ 44-yard line, with five seconds remaining. Flores also called a timeout to set up the defense. And what happened? The Dolphins allowed quarterback Trevor Lawrence to complete Lavisca Schenault Jr. for 9 yards.
Shenault hit the turf and Wright won the game, breaking a 20-game losing streak, the second-longest in the Super Bowl era.
Seriously, there’s a lot to like about this young Jaguar Corps. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft, continues to improve. He has experience under pressure that is beyond his years. Lawrence threw 319 yards and a touchdown.
It’s still hard to believe that Jacksonville drafted 25th running back (Clemson Travis Etienne) overall this year with James Robinson on the roster. The unreleased pickup of 2020 is one of the great scouting discoveries in the sport, scoring 101 total yards with a speedy score. And the received core is a healthy mix of young (Chennault 23, DJ Chark 25) and old (Marvin Jones Jr. 31).
The question is whether Mayer will be able to make the most of all this before team owner Shahid Khan’s patience runs out.
around the nfl
Kansas City 31, Washington 13: After swimming an interception – his second of the first half – while trying to avoid taking a sack, Patrick Mahomes pulled out of his funk to put together a touchdown drive on three straight second-half possessions. A Kansas City secondary that sparkled throughout the season took Washington to a touchdown.
Packers 24, Bears 14: Justin Fields may have been a special day, but Sunday was not. The rookie missed wide-open Alan Robinson deeply for a touchdown and took some vicious shots from Green Bay, which rolled as Aaron Rodgers passed for two touchdowns and ran into the third.
Ram 38, Giants 11: One of these days, Cooper Kupp will be recognized for what he is: an elite wide receiver. Kupp’s full performance as a receiver was on display – including some nifty dancing Fourth and a touchdown pass to reel in – and he now has 46 receptions for 653 yards and seven touchdowns through six games.
Bengals 34, Lions 11: The decision to draft wide receiver Jammer Chase to tackle Penny Sewell looks better every week. When Chase wasn’t cutting the Lions’ second (97 yards), he was stopping for Joe Mixon to spring downfield for a 40-yard touchdown. This Cincinnati crime is fun and real.
Colts 31, Texans 3: After losing an entire season in gut-wrenching fashion, the Colts got a house date with a Texan to get an ego boost. Running everything through Jonathan Taylor (14 carries, 145 yards, two touchdowns) the second year ago was certainly a hilarious thought. With the win, the Indianapolis AFC moved to second place in the South and increased their chances of making the playoffs to 29 percent.
Vikings 34, Panthers 28, Overtime: The story of Good Kirk, Bad Kirk continued in epic fashion, with Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins throwing for 373 yards, three touchdowns and 33-in-48 passing with no interception. A clunker may be around the corner, but on this day, his perfectly placed ball KJ Osborne gave Minnesota the win in overtime.