Posted in Ravens Thoughts

Baltimore Ravens fall to Rams: Good, bad, ugly

By Chris Schisler

A quick recap of a painful loss for the Baltimore Ravens

The Good

Most of the first half went the Baltimore Ravens way. Chuck Clark has two interceptions for the Ravens’ defense including a pick-six for the first score of the contest. Mark Andrews set the franchise record for receding yards in a season.

Outside of one bad decision, Tyler Huntley was incredibly efficient. The end of the first half was excellent. The Ravens managed the game well and therefore had all three-time outs. Huntley led an impressive march to get Justin Tucker a big field goal to make it 13-7 at the half.

The second half could have started disastrously for the Ravens. While they sure would have liked a 3rd & 7 stop on the initial set of downs, things worked out. Matthew Stafford fumbled under duress in the red zone and Justin Houston got the ball for Baltimore. That was huge and it kept things on track for the Ravens.

One thing that went according to the script was the time of possession battle. The Ravens shortened the game, limited possessions for Stafford, and the defense gave their offense a couple of extra possessions. The Ravens held the ball for over 33 minutes of the game clock. They only got 19 points with it, but it was there for the taking. This game in so many ways went the Ravens’ way… Oh, man. What can you say? 

The Bad

The Ravens were up 10-0 when Tyler Huntley got greedy and forced the ball downfield. Instead of setting up a lead-extending score before halftime, Huntley put the Rams back into the game.  It didn’t take long for Cooper Kupp to get the Rams on the board with a touchdown reception. The Ravens could have been in full command. A self-imposed error put the pressure back on the purple and black.

The Baltimore Ravens ended up with field goals on two drives in which they picked up a fourth-down conversion. The lack of finishing drives was the biggest eyesore for the offense. The Ravens could’ve closed the door in this game before they did. The outcome doesn’t change that fact.

The offensive line had some struggles. In fact, Ben Cleveland‘s red zone poor pass protection probably prevented a Tyler Huntley touchdown pass in the first half. The Ravens left points on the field and theirs no way around it. Change one field goal for a touchdown and this is a completely different outcome.

Stats that killed the Ravens:

  • Cooper Kupp had six receptions for 95 yards and a touchdown.
  • Huntley was sacked five times.
  • The Ravens went 3/14 on third downs. The Rams got the fourth down conversion that mattered.

The Ugly

Run defense was bad in this game. Linebackers we’re getting caught in the trash. Tacking was suspect at times and the defensive line was getting pushed off the ball. Sony Michel‘s average per carry was way to healthy.

Up 16-7 in the third quarter, the Ravens had pass protection cost them. A quick stop by the Rams was helped by a second-down sack and a hopeless third-down play where Huntley just had to make an escape and protect the football. Roman’s play-calling was frustrating. It put a ton of pressure on the five offensive linemen. Too much for this unit against Von Miller and Aaron Donald.

Open-field tackling was awful. A lot of the plays that Cooper Kupp and Sony Michel made early were too easy.

The Ravens’ lack of killer instinct was potentially murderous in this game. Baltimore had a chance to put the game away. With a 1st and goal opportunity, the Ravens ended up with a late fourth-quarter field goal. The Ravens were up five with about five minutes left in the game.

It was a bad spot to be in. The Ravens needed a stop. The Rams got to the red zone with a little over two minutes remaining in the game. The absolute inability to stop Cooper Kupp loomed large, as it got the Rams in a dangerously close position.

NEXT POST: Baltimore Ravens vent session: A tough month

The Ravens had a fourth-down situation on defense. Odell Beckham Jr. caught a first down reception with 1:01 left on the clock. Baltimore had to use a timeout. It didn’t matter. The Rams scored with 57 seconds left. The Ravens stopped the two-point conversion, but they knew they may have lost the hard-fought game. And they did.