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Knee-Jerk Reactions: Ravens 20 Chargers 10

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Lamar Jackson throw vs Chargers

The Ravens defeated the Los Angeles Chargers, 20-10, in Week 12. RSR staff react to the win here.

Derek Arnold

First, the good. The defense! After getting walked down the field on the game’s opening drive (before stiffening up in the red zone), Mike MacDonald’s unit was absolutely ELITE. They caused huge turnovers, out-physical’ed LA, held Justin Herbert to just three points for 3.5 quarters…it was a pleasure to watch. Kyle Hamilton, Roquan Smith, Arthur Maulet, Patrick Queen, Brent Urban, Michael Pierce…there isn’t time to name everyone who flashed. That side of the ball is ready for playoff football.

Now, the bad/ugly. The defense were the only ones who look ready for this brutal upcoming schedule after the bye. The offensive line was beaten like a drum far too often, and for some reason Todd Monken refuses to help his tackles with guys like Khalil Mack. The insistence on running Keaton Mitchell on sweeps was really odd, and once he started going north and south he looked much better. The slants to OBJ are effective, but they disappeared. Isaiah Likely was involved early on, then went the way of the Dodo. Just no rhythm at all, and Lamar Jackson really needs to get back to being more willing to take off and run when his protection breaks down (as it often does these days). Our first look at the post-Mark Andrews offense was…well, there’s a lot to work on.

Finally, John Harbaugh. Tryptophan hangover? He didn’t challenge a couple obvious bad spots that would have resulted in first downs, instead opting to quick snap the Chargers, with disastrous results both times. The second time, he used a timeout immediately after anyway. Then he challenges the backwards pass and of course, loses it. Whoever is in charge of the challenge process upstairs needs to feel some heat this week. And why is Justice Hill getting the ball on a crucial third down in the fourth quarter? Why are we managing the clock in such a way to give Herbert a shot at a hail mary to end the half?

Oh, and they allowed another big punt return and Justin Tucker missed a 44-yard kick (good call by Eric in the comments. Almost forgot: Very, very questionable call to kick that instead of going for it. A first down basically ices the game, while a made kick puts you up 16-10.)

9-3 and atop the AFC! It’s a great spot to be headed into the bye, of course. I don’t want to sound like an ingrate. But that didn’t look like a top seed that we watched tonight. Let the self-scouting begin.

Rob Shields

This was uglier than it should have been. The Ravens really struggled throwing the ball against a bad pass defense.

That said, it’s clear that Lamar missed Andrews this week. Their third down conversion rate was poor and the offense just wasn’t in sync in terms of passing it.

I know some will be frustrated by this game but they buckled down when they needed to. Guarantee most Ravens fans felt they were going to blow that one and that Maulet blitz call was brilliant.

This is a beat up, exhausted team. Even coming off of the mini bye, they had the holiday to deal with plus a long travel. It was just a different week even coming off of that.

Now they get their real bye and this team can rest. The older slower tackles got abused tonight and they are both banged up, so getting them rested will be huge.

This was a must-win, and they got it. That’s all that matters.

Kevin McNelis

I don’t care how expensive Mike Macdonald’s Christmas wishlist is, John Harbaugh and EDC better buy that man whatever he wants. Buy him two of each.

This game was a masterclass in coaches competing to shoot themselves in the foot. Thankfully, the opponent was Brandon Staley, who’s had trouble spelling the word “cat” if you spot him the “c” and the “a.” To nearly squander four turnovers and yet another 10-point lead in the fourth quarter would have been disastrous. Like, conversations about the future of the head coaching position disastrous.

The O-line needs this BYE desperately, because they got beaten like rented mules all night. Thankfully, Zay Flowers is everything we wanted and more.

I love this team, but I’m so glad I don’t have to watch them next Sunday.

Darin McCann

This was a wildly disappointing performance by the offense against a Chargers’ defense that could beat best be described as, well, repulsive. It’s a terrible defense.

But the Ravens offense nearly blew a four-turnover advantage because they couldn’t do much of anything against this steaming pile of… the Chargers defense.

The defense put forth another stellar performance, and the Ravens get to go on bye with a 9-3 mark and a healthy quarterback. Pocket the win, do some self-scouting, get some rest and come back ready for the stretch run.

Chad Racine

Whenever I hear talk about how a team has a certain weakness, that’s when I worry about that so called weakness. I’d say the Chargers did a good job of limiting the Ravens offense. In the NFL all of that can change significantly in a given week.

One major gripe I have is the communication to Harbaugh regarding challenges in this game. They failed three times tonight. The first two obvious first downs that should have been challenged were not. Then the one Harbaugh did challenge was unsuccessful.  If we can see it on the live broadcast there’s no reason that can’t be relayed to Harbaugh in s timely manner.

I think the offense performed better than the score showed. Missing Mark Andrews wasn’t a major factor as other players stepped up. Likely looked surprisingly good on three screen passes that averaged about eight yards. OBJ continues to look like his old self. Bateman and Agholor also with a couple nice grabs. Zay Flowers with two touchdowns that should have been one if he would have made the smarter decision to end the game. I can’t say I blame him.

Everett choosing to do the Ray Lewis dance……well that didn’t end well for you, did it champ?

Chris Schisler

The Ravens defense deserves a steak dinner. Give them all the wine and dining they desire. Call it a bonus. They were magnificently incredible. The offense struggled, and you kept expecting the defense to break at some point. They never did. Justin Herbert had a frustrating day at the office. The Ravens held the Chargers to 10 points. This is the best defense the Ravens have had since 2006.

Kyle Hamilton is such an impressive player. Jadeveon Clowney got great pressure. Travis Jones and Broderick Washington got a sack and the Ravens owned the line of scrimmage. Roquan Smith was intimidating over the middle of the field and played his role in the Chargers’ four turnover day. It was just incredibly impressive.

I don’t have a clue what John Harbaugh was thinking. The challenge of the backwards pass was frustrating. There were two challenges that seemed obvious earlier in the game – first downs earned but not given. The offense was a mess. Pass protection and penalties were main elements of the offensive game of the Ravens. It’s hard to feel great about the game but it’s a very important win. You have to feel good about the defense. They didn’t break.

Nick Polinsky

Exhale… they held on. Baltimore stayed in control for the entirety of this game but with the reputation they’ve built themselves, hearts were racing in that fourth quarter. The defense was lights out. Roquan Smith was hitting hard all night, and Kyle Hamilton continued on his All-Pro trajectory. Also shout out EDC for Jadeveon Clowney, the pass rush wouldn’t be at the level it was if not for him. Forcing turnovers is how you win games, and the Ravens forced four of them. When you win the turnover battle 4-0, you need to capitalize, but capitalize the Ravens didn’t. Baltimore scored just three points off the three turnovers they had a chance to capitalize off of. This was perhaps the most disappointing part of the game. The defense set the offense up perfectly on multiple occasions but the offense just never really found a groove. The RPO game was on early, but sputtered late. Pass protection was poor, and Ronnie Stanley may not be around much longer, as he’s been getting torched for weeks now on the left side of that line. Nonetheless they did enough to win, and the offense has scored 30+ points in the five games prior, so I have no real concern there.

The biggest issue with this game was the coaching. Is there no one in the booth that can signal down to the sideline that the spot on the field is blatantly wrong?

At the end of the day, a win is a win, and you can only complain so much when you’re 9-3 and at the top of the AFC. Just a reminder that life is good right now, Ravens fans.

Jared Pinder

Let’s get this out of the way first: the Ravens didn’t even deserve to win this game. The only reason they won this game is because of their defense and Mike Macdonald. The rest of the team needs to do some serious soul-searching.

At this point, John Harbaugh has lost his Elite Head Coach badge. He can get it back, but the lack of challenges and his awful in-game management has just been too much to handle. Monken easily had his worst game trying to force square pegs into round holes. The player usage was awful tonight. Why is Gus not getting the ball on 3rd and 3 and why is this team using Justice Hill so much? The OL is this team’s biggest issue right now. Ronnie Stanley isn’t good anymore and I am tired of hoping he can get back because he is cooked. That unit it going to cost them a close game. You can write that down.

Also was awful Lamar under pressure. It feels weird to complain this much about the best team in the AFC and a team with nine wins, but this is the reality of the situation, The Ravens have to be better.

The post Knee-Jerk Reactions: Ravens 20 Chargers 10 appeared first on Russell Street Report.


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