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Ravens/Chargers Post Game Recap

If you had told me that Lamar Jackson was going to outplay Rivers in this game, I would have said you were nuts. The Ravens defense played an absolute incredible game and they played with an intensity like I have not seen in a long time. They were physical, relentless, and I didn’t see any players taking plays off. They frustrated Rivers to the point that he was having nervous breakdowns on the field. Somehow the Ravens found a way to snatch two interceptions against one of the best QBs in the game. It was pretty amazing how few times Rivers threw deep against the defense – and in large part to the aggressive play of our front four and great downfield coverage. You have to give the Chargers defense a lot of credit too as they very much had a bend but don’t break approach to the game. They were really tough in the red zone and the Ravens struggled to get into the end zone. Going into LA and beating the Chargers on their home turf is a big statement to the league that the Ravens are not going away. Other thoughts on the game are below:

• Ravens defer to start the game on defense and on the first play from scrimmage Brandon Carr makes an interception on Rivers on a deep pass – and it set the tone for the game
• Gus Edwards first run of the game gains 43 yards which by the way is the longest running play of the season for the Ravens
• Ravens settling for three points on their opening drives was a disappointment given they had 1st and goal from the 8-yard line and is something the team will have to work on
• Lamar’s muffed handoffs to the RBs on the run option seems to happen at least once a game and in this case it stymied a drive that was showing such promise
• Tucker’s miss at 53 was uncharacteristically way off and was not even close. Later the tape showed that he slipped on the plant foot.
• Coach Wink called a masterful game and kept Rivers off balance throughout the evening
• The offensive pass interference call on Williams was a horrible call and one that I very much enjoyed seeing called
• In the first quarter the Chargers first 3 possessions did not garner a single first down
• Would like to have seen Crab hold on to that ball that Lamar put on him for that first TD attempt
• Ravens going for it on 4th down was gutsy but ill-advised in my opinion – in a game that looked to be close I would have liked the three points. Lamar’s throw to Crab on that 4th down was not even in the same zip code as Crab and he never had a chance to make a play on the ball
• On third and twelve Dixon runs between the tackles for a first down – that was a key play to keep their drive moving and moving the chains
• Michael Pierce was impressive in the middle and clogged up front which limited the Chargers run game. Gordon was held to 42 yards on the night
• Refs did not manage the game well and there seemed to be several extended delays which was frustrating for the fans and those watching the game
• The best weapon the Chargers had in the 2nd quarter was Tony Jefferson who got called for back to back penalties costing us 30 yards. Those penalties gave the Chargers 3 points at the end of the half. That said, Jefferson was an absolute monster in the second half and delivered several big plays – including blowing up Keenan Allen
• I would like to see Crab work on his grip strength – too many balls get knocked out of his hands for my liking
• Tucker’s kick of 65 yards didn’t miss by much and it is nice knowing that you have a kicker on your sideline that can even try one of those
• Holding the Chargers to just 72 total yards in the first half was pretty special and to hold Rivers to only 57 passing yards in the half was a surprise to be sure
• Dixon on the first play from scrimmage of the second half coughs up the ball giving it to them on the 16-yard line. The next play Rivers hands off to Gordon for a 14-yard run and then 2 plays later a touchdown. I am pretty sure that was not what Harbaugh was asking them to do when they took the field in the second half.
• Ravens secondary must have played blanket coverage because even when Rivers did have time he was not throwing much downfield
• Chris Moore befuddles me on his returns sometimes when instead of running forward he runs the length of the field from side to side and then gains 3 yards
• The 68-yard pass to Mark Andrews was perfectly thrown and Andrews gives a beautiful stiff arm to the safety and then outruns the remaining defender. I know Andrews is not a speedster, but in all the years that I watch Pitta – I never saw him have a play like that
• The first 30 minutes of the game they grind out 9 total points. The first two and half minutes of the second half they get 14-points – go figure
• On Brent Urban’s sack he literally picked up Gordon and pushed him back all the way to Rivers and then swallowed him up
• Sometimes Lamar is aiming the ball instead of throwing it and when he does that it is typically an incompletion
• Peanut had a big game with two sacks and also helped punch the ball out of Gates hands for the fumble and Tavon Young scoop for six points
• The Chargers team are the biggest group of whiners I have ever seen. They complained all game long about the no calls from the refs – and Rivers was the worst of them
• I hesitate to write this but If there was one Achilles heel for the Ravens defense it was the backs coming across the middle uncovered
• Suggs is continuing to have a lot of whiffs on his pass rushes
• The Chargers special team play was really strong and they did an excellent job containing the Ravens in returns and their play to pin the Ravens back on their 1-yard line was brilliant! Then they returned a punt all the way to the 40 giving him a short field to work with
• Tavon Young showed his speed with the fumble return as he ran down the sidelines and Melvin Gordon in hot pursuit didn’t gain an inch on him
• Rivers had a quarterback rating of 51 – just wow
• I thought the Ravens were going to be a top 10 defense this year but I didn’t see it coming that they would sit at the top

Game Predictions                                                                         Game Statistics
Score       Ravens 23       Chargers 27                             Ravens 22       Chargers 10
Turnovers       Minus 2                                        Plus 2
Net Rushing Yardage      Ravens 181     Chargers 94          Ravens 159     Chargers 51
Net Passing Yardage       Ravens 178     Chargers 284         Ravens 202     Chargers 147

Miscellaneous Predictions
• Antonio Gates has 4 receptions for 54 yards and 1 TD              Incorrect, 3 catches for 21 yards and a fumble
• Ravens win the toss and defer 🙁            Correct
• Melvin Gordon gets 114 all-purpose yards             Incorrect, just 54 yards
• Refs make terrible calls               Correct, beginning with a PI call on Williams

Keys to the Game
• Run the ball 40+ times and burn the clock            Correct – 35 times and won time of possession
• Attack Rivers, and get hits on him          Correct – 4 sacks and several quarterback hits
• Protect the rock! Lamar, I talking to you brother          Nope, Lamar and Dixon both fumbled

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