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The Breakdown: Five Thoughts After Ravens' Loss in Jacksonville

TE Mark Andrews

The Ravens suffered a painful 28-27 loss to the Jaguars in Jacksonville, snapping Baltimore's four-game winning streak and leaving them now tied for first place in the AFC North.

The Jaguars (4-7) mounted a touchdown with two minutes left and won with a two-point conversion. Justin Tucker's 67-yard field-goal attempt for the win fell short.

Here are five takeaways from the Ravens' loss, which drops them to 7-4:

The Ravens were flirting with trouble, and it finally found them.

The Ravens were riding a four-game winning streak, but after their ugly win last week against Carolina, they didn't feel invincible. The offense just hasn't been humming, and that continued in the first half in Jacksonville.

The Ravens have been flirting with trouble and it finally found them.

When you don't put away teams early, they can bite you late, and that's just what the Jaguars did. Teams generally lose games they're favored to win by shooting themselves in the foot, and that's what the Ravens did.

Offensively, Baltimore settled for three field goals on their first three trips to the red zone. They came up short on a hurried fourth-and-1 play near midfield. They fumbled deep in their own territory. They turned it on with a touchdown late in the fourth quarter, but then it was the defense's turn.

Defensively, the Ravens were too giving in coverage. Trevor Lawrence completed 29 of 37 passes for 321 yards and three touchdowns. The Jaguars lost one of the their best offensive players, running back Travis Etienne Jr., to a foot injury early, but his backup, James Hasty, had a day.

The Jaguars are a better team than their record suggests, just like the Panthers. But this is still a game the Ravens should have won, as multiple players said after the game.

Red-zone struggles continue to stunt the offense.

The Ravens had a chance to run away early in this game, but familiar struggles in the red zone cropped up again. It's not like there's one thing to put a finger on. It was an assortment of problems – penalties, dropped passes, missed opportunities.

Baltimore was 0-for-3 on its first three trips to the red zone. A delay of game penalty hurt on the first trip. Demarcus Robinson had a diving catch glance off his hands on the second trip. Lamar Jackson threw a little high to tight end Josh Oliver on the third.

"We're just not clicking in the red zone," Jackson said.

"We just didn't do a good job in the red zone. That's the bottom line," Head Coach John Harbaugh added. "That's something we have to improve on going forward. That's really important for us."

Even beyond the red zone, the Ravens had too many missed opportunities. Jackson threw too long for Robinson on an open deep touchdown opportunity on the Ravens' opening drive, for example.

The Ravens' failure to pull away early allowed the Jaguars and Lawrence to stay balanced and poised. They ultimately capitalized with three straight scoring drives and 18 points on their final three drives.

It seemed the defense was too good for this kind of finish.

The Ravens had shut out opponents in recent weeks with a barrage of sacks and turnovers, seemingly burying their early-season demons of evaporating double-digit leads. Simply put, it just seemed like Baltimore was too good to finish like this.

But leading by a touchdown with two minutes left, the Jaguars marched. The Ravens had a third-and-21 after a Calais Campbell sack/fumble and the Jaguars still moved the chains on fourth down.

This wasn't Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle going crazy. It was Zay Jones, Christian Kirk and Marvin Jones taking turns gashing Baltimore's defense. Zay Jones finished with 11 catches for 145 yards, including the game-winning two-point conversion.

It's tough to say what the issue was, but this seemed like a day when the Ravens missed Marcus Williams (wrist), who returned to practice this week, and rookie Kyle Hamilton, who missed his first game because of last week's knee injury. Still, the Ravens have enough good players to have a better result than this.

"We got lackadaisical out there," veteran outside linebacker Justin Houston said. "Lack of communication. The little things. – I think that's what you've got to do to play a complete game. You've got to do it for four quarters, not three."

The Ravens' defense is still a strength, and it will carry the sting of this loss forward and learn from it. This was a wake-up call for a proud unit that was rolling.

"We can't be a great defense if we can't stop nobody in the fourth [quarter]," linebacker Patrick Queen said.

It's anyone's guess who steps up on offense.

After Robinson went off last week, it was tight end Josh Oliver who led the Ravens in receiving with four catches for 76 yards and a touchdown that seemingly put the game out of reach late in the fourth quarter.

The man who set up that touchdown was 35-year-old DeSean Jackson, who hauled in a 62-yard bomb on second-and-20. Jackson was playing in just his second game and first back from a hamstring injury. That is exactly why the Ravens signed Jackson, for a few plays like that. It just didn't pay off for a win.

The Ravens continue to cobble it together offensively, but it's just not enough in totality.

Mark Andrews had four catches for 50 yards on a team-high seven targets. He also nearly lost a fumble and dropped a touchdown, though it didn't end up mattering because Gus Edwards slammed in the 1-yard touchdown on the next play.

Speaking of Edwards, he had a mostly strong return from injury with 16 carries for 52 yards, but his second-half fumble proved quite costly as the Jaguars converted it into a field goal.

Without Rashod Bateman, the Ravens offense doesn't have much margin for error. They need to make the plays that are there (they had several drops) and avoid costly mistakes. This offense is thin on consistent offensive playmakers and it's not changing this season. Credit to those who stepped up, but Baltimore and Jackson need better play if the offense is going to get hot down the stretch.

Extra points

  • A turning point in the game came when Jackson seemed to have run for a first down on third-and-2, but a re-spot of the ball left him inches short at midfield. The Ravens went for it on fourth down and Jackson was stuffed (and fumbled). The Jags' offense, which had produced 30 total yards on its first two drives, took over possession and marched down the field for a touchdown to take an early lead. Baltimore had been dominating possession, but it was game on at that point.
  • The Ravens were hanging onto a two-point lead when Tyus Bowser blindsided and crushed Lawrence to force a fumble. Marcus Peters scooped up the fumble, giving Baltimore a shot in the arm and setting up the offense with another short field that it used to score a touchdown. At the time, it seemed then like a rerun of the Panthers game, but alas …
  • Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman told CBS' broadcast crew in meetings the day before the game that he wants to get Jackson heated up. By that, he apparently meant more passes. Jackson finished 16 of 32 for 254 yards and one touchdown. The Ravens' most consistently successful play continued to be Jackson runs. He had 89 rushing yards on 14 carries and nearly bulldozed his way in for a touchdown again.
  • Devin Duvernay made a mistake running that ball out of the end zone (and backwards) to start the Ravens' late fourth-quarter drive at the 6-yard line. Considering the Ravens were ahead by just two points, the field position lost was big. It became even bigger when Edwards fumbled. A rare special teams mistake by Duvernay. He also had a rare dropped pass, his first of the season.
  • Campbell got his 99th career sack by dropping Lawrence near the start of the Jaguars' game-winning drive. It wasn't enough ultimately, but Campbell had a strong return to his former stomping grounds. And 100 sacks is looking like a sure thing.
  • Speaking of feel-good returns, Oliver was a third-round pick of the Jaguars' in 2019 but they traded him last year to Baltimore for a seventh-round pick. He's made that trade look good all year with how he's blossomed as a blocker, and he showed he can still be a strong receiver too.

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