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Why the Ravens Keep Blowing Leads; A Second Half Story

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Week 4 was a rainy one in Baltimore as the Ravens faced the Bills, whose offense is led by quarterback Josh Allen and star receiver Stefon Diggs.

The first half went exactly how the Ravens wanted it to, as they forced an interception and fumble in the first quarter alone. Going into halftime, they were up 20-10 against a team that many analysts have as Super Bowl contenders. However, in the third quarter, the Ravens allowed a field goal early and then went three and out. The Bills went down the field and scored a touchdown, tying the game.

Just like the Miami game, a multitude of things went wrong for the Ravens. On their next possession, they made a few good gains for positive yards, but quarterback Lamar Jackson had a pass tipped and intercepted by the Bills’ defensive line. The defense would hold their own though, as they forced a three and out on the Bills’ next offensive drive.

With most of the fourth quarter remaining, Jackson and company tried to make their mark and close out the game for good. They went the whole length of the field and made it down to the four-yard line. This is where many fans found an issue with the play calling as the Ravens could not find the back of the endzone and were forced to make a call on fourth down. John Harbaugh, Baltimore’s head coach, decided that they should go for it to keep the game winnable if the Bills were to score a touchdown late in the fourth quarter.

Unfortunately, they were unable to score a touchdown and Jackson threw an interception in the back of the endzone. They came away with zero points instead of being safe and kicking a field goal for three. A gutsy call to say the least, but most would agree that Josh Allen would have tied the game no matter what the score was, down three or down seven. Directly after that missed opportunity, the Bills did just that and went the length of the field, draining the clock until they kicked a field goal with time expiring.

From the outside looking in, both meltdowns against the Dolphins and Bills happened in the second half of the game. In both games, the Ravens’ offense and defense looked stellar for thirty minutes until crunch time rolled around and they either diverted from their original game plan or had problems defensively. In this particular game, the blame can be spread between a few things: questionable coaching calls down the stretch, the offense’s inability to answer with some sort of points on the board, and the defense not making big plays when it matters.

With a team like Buffalo, nine times out of ten they will outscore you, so you must either match their level offensively or step up defensively. The Ravens’ defense only recorded one sack on Josh Allen and all of the takeaways came from the dominant first-quarter showing. Secondly, Lamar Jackson had an off week as he only threw for 144 yards and had two interceptions. It could be due to the rainy weather in Baltimore, but he and the receivers should be used to that by now. Another glaring discrepancy was the lack of targets for Mark Andrews. When the star tight end is targeted in bunches, it only leads to good things for the Ravens.

Against the Bills, he had only five targets and two catches for 15 yards. If they want to provide an answer for lack of scoring, just give Mark Andrews more room to work as he has proven to be one of the top tight ends in the NFL. Overall, the Ravens looked great in the first half and if they can replicate that production in the second half of games, they will be perfectly fine. Even Jackson knows it as he tweeted that he wasn’t stressing over the Ravens’ loss.

 

Featured Image Courtesy of Rob Carr via Getty Images

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