With the Ravens falling to 2-1 after a 22-19 overtime defeat against Indianapolis on Sunday afternoon, I’ve offered a dozen thoughts, each in 50 words or less:
1. Though Baltimore squandered its opportunities to improve to 3-0, Matt Gay making a record four field goals from 50 or more yards illustratedhow much it took for an Indianapolis win. The Ravens received a taste of what it’s like to be on the wrong side of kicking excellence for once.
2. I understand wanting Kyle Hamilton to continue developing into a well-rounded NFL safety, but watching how dynamic he is at the nickel spot makes it very tempting to keep him there — at least for now. As we saw Sunday, he wreaks havoc playing so close to the line of scrimmage.
3. Through three weeks, the offense remains a work in progress and lacks identity beyond Lamar Jackson becoming Superman with his legs, which was the popular criticism under Greg Roman. Offensive line injuries haven’t helped, but not being able to push the ball downfield more against an underwhelming secondary was disappointing.
4. Jackson has fumbled four times, which doesn’t include one in Cincinnati wiped away by a penalty. He fumbled five times all last season and just six times in 2021, so you hope the early issues with ball security are an aberration as he gets more comfortable in a new offense.
5. The injuries continue to pile up with David Ojabo playing just four snaps because of an ankle injury, Tylan Wallace landing on injured reserve with a hamstring injury, and Gus Edwards entering the concussion protocol. Though few are long-term ailments, Baltimore’s inactive list was something else on Sunday.
6. Daryl Worley played 102 snaps — including special teams — while Sam Mustipher, Jeremiah Moon, and Melvin Gordon all played at least 29 snaps at their respective positions. That’s not what the Ravens had in mind when those four were on the practice squad in Week 1.
7. Dealing with hamstring tightness late in the game, Rashod Bateman registered only one catch for six yards on three targets despite playing 50 of 72 offensive snaps. Todd Monken needs to find ways to jump-start the big-play potential we saw out of Bateman prior to last year’s foot injury.
8. Speaking of home-run ability, Zay Flowers making eight catches for 48 yards isn’t what you have in mind for such a speedy receiver. Beyond his highlight 52-yard catch in Cincinnati, the rookie has gained 136 yards on his other 20 catches. You’d like to see a few more downfield routes.
9. The defense allowed Zack Moss to bounce outside too often and couldn’t make the game-sealing play, but it’s tough to be too displeased, especially with the injuries at outside linebacker and in the secondary. Indianapolis didn’t do much through the air, but Michael Pittman and Moss made highlight catches.
10. Flagged just three times themselves — two being declined — over nearly 70 minutes, the Ravens weren’t happy with two non-calls on plays involving Flowers late in the game. However, the Indianapolis camp was also miffed over perceived non-calls for face-mask fouls and holding. That’s life in the NFL.
11. Special teams continue to be uncharacteristically problematic with punt coverage surrendering returns of 32 and 16 yards and Jordan Stout delivering a 34-yard punt to give the Colts good field position to tie the game late in regulation. Losing a strong special-teams player like Wallace won’t help either.
12. You’re never as great as you believe you are in victory or as bad as you feel in defeat. If Gay misses one kick, we’re telling a different story about this game. Improvements are certainly in order, but perspective is needed with injuries being the overarching concern at the moment.