By Chris Schisler
The Baltimore Ravens had a valiant effort against the Green Bay Packers. In the end, the Packers inch closer to the number one seed, while the Ravens put themselves in a tough spot with three games left. The sun has come up – proving that there’s always another day. Since we have to process this game and move on to Cincinnati (literally) let’s talk about the good, bad and, the ugly vs. the Packers:
Whatever you expected, chances are that the Ravens surpassed your expectations. This game came down to the end. The purple and black had a lot of guys out of this game for injuries and the latest surge of Covid-19. The Packers won, but they did not get the easy win that they were supposed to have. They got a fight. The first thing you have to praise is the Ravens’ effort in this game. They wanted it and they protected The Bank honorably.
Tyler Huntley continued to be the best backup quarterback in football. He’s going to be a starter somewhere else sooner rather than later. Baltimore let Huntley sling it. They didn’t change their offensive approach and go into an ultra-conservative ground and pound mode. Huntley completed 28 out of 40 passes for 215 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran for 73 yards and two touchdowns. Huntley put up a Lamar Jackson-like performance and he was incredibly fun to watch.
Latavius Murray showed great burst and averaged 6.8 yards per rushing attempt. He only got the rock seven times, but he had some high-impact runs. Baltimore had 143 yards rushing, which is usually a good sign for this offense.
Mark Andrews was amazing in this contest. He had 10 receptions for 136 yards and two touchdowns. The Packers had trouble with Andrews on a regular basis in this game. He somehow kept slipping open. Eight Ravens caught passes in this game showing a healthy distribution and flow of the football. Huntley’s decisions were quick and the offense was efficient.
Defensively, you have to like what you saw. The Ravens were without Chuck Clark and only had five healthy cornerbacks for the game. When Tavon Young left the game hurt, the Ravens were even more shorthanded. If you would have told me that the Packers would only score 31 points and Rodgers would be held under 300 yards before this game, I would have a hard time believing you. The defense got a clutch stop that gave the Ravens a chance at the end. When you have Robert Jackson and Kevon Seymore filling in at cornerback, this is about as good as this thing can go.
Believe it or not, the Packers and Ravens had the same number of penalties. The Ravens had some very dumb things that hurt them in this area though. The Packers caught Justin Houston failing to get off the field in time and it got the Packers a free first down. The Ravens were going to go for it on fourth and one in the fourth quarter. They settled for a field goal when a false start penalty knocked them back five yards. The Ravens needed to play more flawlessly to win this game. They couldn’t afford the self-inflicted mistakes.
While the Ravens did spread the ball around in this game, Rashod Bateman seemingly vanished from the game. The rookie receiver looked unstoppable against the Cleveland Browns. His momentum completely halted in this game.
The Ravens had trouble getting off the field on defense. To be fair, this was to be expected. Still, one of the big problems in this game is that Green Bay won the time of possession battle. While it may look like the Packers didn’t do that much on the ground, their running backs had a huge mark on this game. Aaron Jones only had 58 yards but that came with a healthy 4.5 yards per attempt. Some of those runs were backbreakers – the front seven didn’t have the excuses that the secondary did.
The play-calling and game management of this game could make eyes bleed. The Ravens march down the field at the beginning of the game. They had every chance to make a statement on the opening drive and they walked away with no points. On a seemingly long three-yard fourth-down attempt. Tyler Huntley was bottled up on a quarterback keeper. It was a fourth-down call with one option, remember that point for later.
It ended up working out. The Ravens got the Packers to punt. The Ravens marched back down the field and scored. Still, in a game where you have every disadvantage you have to take any points you can have. The Ravens lost 31-30. They didn’t need that many points. If they kick that field goal it would have played out differently. You can’t say the Ravens lost because they didn’t take the points on the first drive. You can say though, that the Ravens mismanaged that whole situation from the idea to go for it to the play-call itself.
Let’s fast-forward to the end of the game. With what Baltimore had to deal with, they get a pass for some things and the ugly section doesn’t need to be that intensive. The Ravens going for two at the end of the game… We have to talk about it. Whether or not you think it was the right decision the play-call gave the Ravens very little chance.
The Ravens rolled out to the right and looked for Andrews. That was it. The way the play unfolded, that’s all Huntley was even going to see. The Packers knew it was going to Andrews. Brown was technically open, on the run, Andrews was the one true shot the Ravens had. The Ravens failed to get the touchdown early and failed to get the two-point conversion. Both play-calls essentially gave the Ravens one choice and it wasn’t there. You can blame execution all you want, that’s bad concepts being played out.
When you consider that the Ravens were playing with all the cards stacked against them, this was the best possible bad situation. Even though the Ravens lost, they showed the team hasn’t given up. At the end of the day, the Ravens have their third straight loss and desperately need to beat the Cincinnati Bengals next week. When you look at what the Ravens had to work with, it has to fuel your belief in John Harbaugh and the Ravens’ mission this season. With everything this team has been through, they haven’t given up.