Ravens Double-Digit Lead Streak Comes to an End
Lamar Jackson eluded multiple defenders, scrambled, and threw a 10-yard touchdown to Marquise "Hollywood" Brown to take a 14-0 lead over the Las Vegas Raiders. It was early, not even halfway through the second quarter, but the play felt like it was indicative of the Ravens taking the Monday Night Football game.
It would be fair to call that thinking premature; after all, it's only two touchdowns. But for the previous 98 games, the Ravens had never lost after going up by 14 or more points.
According to ESPN's Jamison Hensley, Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh was 81-0 in the regular season when holding a 14-point lead.
You need to go back nearly 17 years to December 2004 to find the last time the Ravens lost such a game.
The worst part was how it ended, as described by The Baltimore Sun's Jonas Shaffer.
"[The Ravens] night ended in the most crushing way imaginable," Shaffer wrote "With a go-ahead, Lamar Jackson-led rally spoiled by a diced-up defense; a sure-thing Raiders touchdown turning into a glimmer of overtime hope; then a second costly Jackson fumble all but handing the win over. Quarterback Derek Carr's 31-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Zay Jones secured the 33-27 upset Monday night inside a vibrating Allegiant Stadium and sent the Ravens headlong into a daunting Week 2 matchup in Baltimore."
So what was the reason for the eventual loss? Ramped-up pressure on one end and a lack of the same generated on the other side were big reasons. According to ESPN's Jamison Hensley, most involved the former.
"The Ravens struggled to protect Jackson all game, especially offensive tackles Ronnie Stanley and Alejandro Villanueva," Hensley wrote. "Jackson was buying time with his scrambling, but he lost the ball twice trying to extend drives."
"Maxx Crosby had his way with Alejandro Villanueva all night," Baltimore Beatdown's Frank Platko wrote. "[Crosby] had two sacks and five quarterback hits. Yannick Ngaouke and Carl Nassib got pressure, also. Ronnie Stanley was far from his best and on top of that, starting left guard Tyre Phillips exited early with a leg injury and was carted off the field."
As for the opposite side, the Ravens weren't consistent enough in generating pressure, according to Ravens Wire's Kevin Oestreicher.
"On defense, there was very little consistent pressure, even when the team was blitzing," Oestreicher wrote. "There were a few positives out of players like Justin Houston and Odafe Oweh, and Calais Campbell played well too. However, for how much the Ravens blitzed, they shouldn't be giving up almost 500 total yards to a Raiders team that was dealing with a very inexperienced offensive line."
Jackson Shows There's No Figuring Him Out
One of the most talked-about topics in sports the past month has been Jackson being "figured out."
When Jackson connected with Brown on the aforementioned scrambling touchdown, NFL Twitter went nuts, mocking the idea of "figuring him out."
Other Narratives Put to Rest
The talk of the Ravens/Jackson not using wide receivers enough was flipped upside down in this game. Of Jackson's 235 yards passing, 171 were to his wideouts.
"The Ravens were not lying about their offseason efforts," Around The NFL's Nick Shook wrote. "Baltimore took the field and quickly demonstrated it wasn't the same old run-heavy offense we'd grown accustomed to seeing, relying less on pistol sets that often produced inverted read options and the like. Instead, the Ravens put Lamar Jackson in the pocket, where he became a drop-and-throw passer to mixed results."
The narrative about Jackson's improved throwing ability, be it accuracy, spiral or "touch" was boosted when Jackson rain-dropped one right in the basket for wide receiver Sammy Watkins in the fourth quarter.
Concerns regarding rookie edge rusher Odafe Oweh and his college sack production were silenced after he recorded a sack in his first NFL game.
Did Marlon Humphrey Make an Uncalled Interception?
Late in the first quarter, cornerback Marlon Humphrey not only covered Raiders tight end Darren Waller like glue, but he also caught an uncredited interception.
During the hand-fighting and battle for the ball, Humphrey didn't seem to notice the ball never hit the ground.
In this angle, you can see both safety DeShon Elliott and Raiders wide receiver Hunter Renfrow notice Humphrey's takeaway. Renfrow even dives on the ball to collect the would-be fumble.
It's wild that a game-altering takeaway had people looking around asking, "Did anybody else see that?" Between multiple broadcasts, the referee booth and the teams on the field, nobody caught this significant play.
This wouldn't be the only play Humphrey would be involved in that wasn't called correctly Monday, as it appeared Renfrow stepped out of bounds on his 27-yard catch and run in overtime.
It's especially painful when considering Humphrey was the man in coverage against Zay Jones on the game-winning touchdown.
Successful Debuts from Multiple Ravens
Though the disappointing loss and zany ending will stick with the Ravens the most there were also some successful debuts. New starting running back Ty'Son Williams had a 35-yard rushing touchdown on 4th & 1 and 94 total yards.
Williams wasn't the only running back with a touchdown in his Ravens debut, as Latavius Murray, who joined the team only four days ago, ran in an 8-yard touchdown to in the fourth quarter.