With the Ravens having their four-game winning streak snapped and dropping to 7-4 in a 28-27 loss at Jacksonville on Sunday afternoon, I’ve offered a dozen thoughts, each in 50 words or less:
1. The bye week is supposed to rejuvenate and provide the opportunity to clean up your deficiencies, but the Ravens were flat in an uninspiring home win over Carolina and sprung leaks in every phase of the game on Sunday. That doesn’t reflect particularly well on anyone.
2. Many try to continue arguing Baltimore can win in January with a great running game and defense to control time of possession. Through three quarters, the Ravens played very well defensively and had the ball 11 more minutes than Jacksonville. That meant nothing in the final period.
3. After discussing the defensive collapse at length, it’s important to recognize how superb Trevor Lawrence was in that fourth quarter. It’s been an inconsistent start to his career, but he looked the part of the former first overall pick with some outstanding throws.
4. Such strategy draws much more attention when it fails, but count me among those who loved Doug Pederson’s decision to go for the win. As I’ll continue to say, extending the game is not the same as winning it despite so many arguments that conflate the two.
5. Hearing Justin Tucker lament his inability to make what would have been an NFL record 67-yard field goal just reinforces him being the greatest of all time. The miss also bailed out Jacksonville’s baffling squib kick that gave the Ravens such good field position.
6. Credit Josh Oliver for stepping up to catch a career-high four passes for 76 yards and a touchdown against his old team. Some have fairly argued that he could have gone down at the 1-yard line to drain more clock, but that’s a coaching call.
7. Lamar Jackson’s 7.9 yards per pass attempt was his second-best mark of the season, but the Ravens targeting Patrick Ricard on second-and-14 and then third-and-10 on their final drive of the first half said plenty about the state of this passing game, especially against a poor defense.
8. The 62-yard strike to DeSean Jackson was a beautiful sight after a number of errant throws and drops throughout the game. The veteran wideout made good use of his 10 snaps, making another reception for 12 yards. If only he were turning 26 instead of 36 this week.
9. The Gus Edwards fumble brought back memories of the Week 6 loss to the Giants before Roquan Smith’s third-down tackle to save a potential touchdown and hold Jacksonville to a field goal. Unfortunately, that was the only big play the Ravens defense made in the fourth quarter.
10. The Ravens continuing to have clock issues and delay of game penalties is embarrassing at this point. Unlike a few years ago, this offense isn’t good enough to overcome such self-inflicted mistakes.
11. The only thing more inexplicable than the Ravens blowing their fourth multi-score lead of the season was the Jaguars mascot. At least we can still laugh — or cringe — over that, right?
12. Baltimore remains in good shape atop the division and in the playoff race, but I keep thinking back to John Harbaugh’s rationale for dismissing Cam Cameron a decade ago. To be very clear, this isn’t a call to fire anyone, but something just continues to feel off about this team.