Ravens Off to 'Most Frustrating Start in Franchise History'
Early in the fourth quarter, Lamar Jackson found tight end Mark Andrews in the end zone for a 12-yard touchdown, extending the Ravens lead to 20-10 over the New York Giants. Twice this season, the Ravens had already lost after taking big leads in the fourth quarter. By game's end, they tallied a third, with the Giants coming away with the victory, 24-20.
ESPN’s Jamison Hensley described the scene of the postgame locker room.
"…Lamar Jackson sat bent over in a chair off to the side with his face buried in his left hand. It was the portrait of the most frustrating start in franchise history," Hensley wrote. "Baltimore (3-3) is the 39th team in NFL history to hold a double-digit lead in each of its first six games. It is the only one not to have a winning record."
According to Hensley, "Jackson went around the locker room and shook about 20 players' hands."
The frustration of this game, and assuredly the others, lies in the Ravens being capable of defeating their opponents. After all, they've been up by 10+ points in all three. It's why CBS' Boomer Esiason believes they could be undefeated.
"This is now 14 points they've given up in the fourth quarter today. That's I believe 88 points they've allowed in the second half of these games that they should be winning," Esiason said. "They had this game won if they could just hold onto the football… This team could easily be 6-0. Instead, they're 3-3 because of their own mistakes and decision making that they've had going through the season."
Esiason isn't the only one thinking the Ravens are superior to their record. It's why things are so disconcerting, writes The Baltimore Sun’s Childs Walker.
"The best analytics say they're one of the league's top teams on a per-play basis," Walker wrote. "We have yet to watch an opponent cleanly outplay them. They are 3-3. If that math does not compute for you, know that it does not compute for the players and coaches either. They look in the mirror and see a contender. Their record says otherwise, which is a problem. Blame has to fall at the feet of the most important people in the locker room."
Esiason: "Criticism Has to Be Thrown at Lamar Jackson"
After Jackson performance on Sunday, critics are calling him out for his costly mistakes in the fourth quarter, with Esiason doing so in the postgame CBS broadcast.
"Criticism has to be thrown at Lamar Jackson," Esiason said. "…I don't know what Lamar Jackson was thinking about throwing that ball down the middle of the field after having the problems of the ball bouncing around."
NBC Sports’ Peter King was also shocked by the interception.
"Lamar Jackson has shown himself to be more than capable of making magic this season. But in week six he showed himself capable of making truly terrible decisions," King wrote. "…a costly error from Jackson that the Ravens can't afford, even in a middling AFC North."
Hensley put the loss "squarely on Lamar Jackson."
"With the game on the line, Jackson turned the ball over on the final two drives with an interception and a fumble," Hensley wrote. "Not sharp all game (17-of-32 for 210 yards), Jackson got intercepted on one of the worst decisions of his career. With three minutes left in the game, Jackson picked up a poor snap and threw a wild, off-balance pass in the middle of the field while deep in his own territory that was picked off by safety Julian Love. The Giants converted that turnover into Saquon Barkley's game-winning touchdown. On the Ravens' next possession, Jackson got stripped with 1:29 left, sealing another late-game collapse by Baltimore."
Wide Array of Errors Costs Ravens
Jackson's performance alone was not the reason for the Ravens' loss on Sunday, as the pass-catching unit dropped a few balls, the offense received five pre-snap penalties (10 total as a team) and the defense couldn't seem to get off the field when needed.
This was, according to The Athletic's Jeff Zrebiec, a team loss where the Ravens gave "a clinic on how to give away a game you had no business losing."
"Commit penalties that prolong opponents' drives and curtail your own. Compound mistakes by turning the ball over at the most critical times," Zrebiec wrote. "Abandon the one thing that you've done well all afternoon when you get close to the end zone. And when all you probably need is one stop to take control of the game, allow the opposing offense to drive down the field and score a touchdown."
For PressBox’s Bo Smolka, the penalties were what "doomed" the Ravens.
"The Ravens entered this game having committed just 23 penalties, the third-fewest in the league, but they committed 10 in this game, and a couple of them proved especially costly," Smolka wrote.
All losses aren't created equally, and The Baltimore Sun’s Jonas Shaffer believes this one may be more harmful than the previous two.
"Fading late against the Buffalo Bills, a Super Bowl favorite? Understandable," Shaffer wrote. "Losing a fourth-quarter lead against a Miami Dolphins team with the speed to unravel a thin secondary? It happens. But throwing a game away against an inferior New York Giants team despite controlling the line of scrimmage all afternoon? That's the kind of game that can come back to haunt the Ravens."
Justin Tucker's Missed Field Goal Shocks Twitter
Last week, Justin Tucker impressed the nation with his all-too-accurate kicking. This week, he missed a 56-yard field goal that banged off the uprights and Twitter was stunned.