3 things Ravens did absolutely wrong vs. Raiders
The Baltimore Ravens rode into Las Vegas for Monday Night Football as 7.5 point favorites. There was no way Lamar Jackson and John Harbaugh were going to lose to Derek Carr and Jon Gruden. Not only did the Ravens end up crushing the 7.5 point mark, they handed the Ravens a Week 1 loss in overtime with one of the weirdest endings you’ll ever see.
For a team that was favored by more than a touchdown to lose like that, a lot has to go wrong. Turnovers, defensive coverage, coaching mistakes, and more. Let’s look at a few things that went wrong for the Ravens in Week 1.
What went wrong #1: Simply underestimating the Raiders
The ESPN crew gave us all a nice stat on the night the Ravens went up 14-0 on the Raiders. According to this stat, there was no way the Ravens were going to lose this game. Before last night, the Ravens were 98-0 in games where they led by 14 points. This record was approaching 100 straight wins and dated back to December of 2004. Jon Gruden doesn’t care about silly records and as the Ravens tried to cruise to a win, the Raiders took advantage.
It’s no secret the first half was an ugly one for Las Vegas, but they recovered enough to force overtime after Derek Carr drove down to field goal range with just two completions in the final seconds. A last second field goal kick from Daniel Carlson brought the two teams to overtime and this was the exact kind of weird, scrappy, stupid game the Raiders needed. After throwing an interception within the ten yard line they still didn’t quit which was the story of the night for them. It’s cliché, but no one thought the Raiders could win except them. That was the Ravens first mistake.
What went wrong #2: Putting pressure on the quarterback is always important
Lamar Jackson fumbled the football twice as the Ravens offensive line was unable to contain Maxx Crosby, Yannick Ngakoue, or Carl Nassib all game long. The Ravens generated a quarterback pressure on 54.5% of the plays that saw Jackson drop for a pass. As an offensive line, if you’re allowing a pressure more often than not then things have gone terribly wrong. This was a problem all the way up until the final offensive play of the day for Lamar Jackson and the Ravens as Carl Nassib knocked the ball out of Jackson’s hands, allowing for the final touchdown drive from Carr and the Raiders.
On the other side of the ball, the Ravens didn’t generate nearly enough pressure to make up for the miscues from their offensive line. This was a game where most expected the Ravens to apply much more pressure on the quarterback than the Raiders, but sometimes things just fall the other way. The Ravens aren’t lacking in players along the line with Justin Houston, Calais Campbell, and first round pick Odafe Jayson Oweh but they were simply outplayed by the Raiders.
What went wrong #3: Terrible play in the overtime debacle
Not much is more important in sports than winning the overtime coin toss in the NFL. Maybe that’s a bit of exaggeration, but if the first team with possession scores a touchdown then it’s game over. Well, until Monday night. The Raiders scored but it was called back to the one yard line. A failed quarterback sneak, false start penalty, and tipped interception later and the Ravens were all set to win this game. The luck was on their side, but Lamar Jackson ultimately lost a costly fumble that led to the Raiders winning the game.
The Ravens never played well in overtime, letting Derek Carr dismantle them on the first drive and then again when he got the ball back. When the Ravens had the ball it was a quick three and out ending with the fumble. They didn’t look good and the Raiders deserved this win. When figuring out why the Raiders won this game it comes down to pressuring the quarterback and turning the ball over. The Raiders succeeded at those two things, the Ravens did not.