This doesn’t add up.
The Ravens had 530 yards offensively and Jackson accounted for 508 of them. Unfortunately, Jackson was also responsible for three turnovers, and that is what really got them.
Jackson threw two interceptions and fumbled once. Both interceptions came deep in drives, when the Ravens were in position to at least come away with a field goal. The fumble occurred deep in their own territory and set up a Tennessee touchdown.
The Ravens struggled in the Red Zone as well, going 1-4 to Tennessee’s 3-3.
So the Titans really didn’t find a way to shut down the Ravens offense. They were +3 on turnovers and dominated in the Red Zone. That’s not some magical way of shutting down Lamar Jackson, that is the blueprint for winning football games in general.
It also didn’t help that Baltimore was unable to convert a single fourth down. They did pretty well on third downs, but extending drives by winning on fourth down has been their calling card all year.
There is one more thing I’d like to address about this game, and that is the idea of forcing the Ravens to throw. Both of these teams are run heavy, so getting a lead (particularly a double-digit lead) puts them in a bit of a predicament.
Some have said that the Ravens had to pass because they were down, and at a certain point they did, but they went away from the run far sooner than they had to.
On the season, the Ravens ran the ball a little over 50% of the time. In the first half (excluding their two-minute drive which was all pass) the Ravens ran the ball 14 times and passed it 13 times. So, right on pace with what they do normally.
They went into halftime down 14-6. They received the ball in the third quarter, and could have tied the game on that drive with a touchdown and a two-point conversion.
There was absolutely no reason to pick up the pace, but still they passed the ball on eight of the 13 plays from their first drive before failing to convert on fourth down.
The next drive they passed on the first and only play as Jackson fumbled in the backfield.
When they got the ball back they were trailing 28-6. Now down three scores, there was a bit more urgency, but not as much as you would think.
There were more than 20 minutes left in the game and the Ravens needed to score three times. That means they needed to score once in every six-and-a-half minutes.
Excluding a quick one-play TD drive in the second quarter, the Titans average possession in this game at this point was roughly three-minutes long.
Excluding a couple of quick drives (two-minute, three-and-out, and first play fumble) the Ravens average drive had taken a little over four-and-a-half minutes up to this point in the game.
So if you do the math, the Ravens need three scoring drives and if each was four-and-a-half minutes, that would be 13 minutes and 30 seconds. There would be two Titans drives between them and if each were three minutes, that would add six minutes. That makes for 19 minutes and 30 seconds and the Ravens have over 20 minutes to work with.
In short, they are fine. They don’t need to hurry up.
Still, they came out on that drive and passed the ball on eight out of nine plays, including the interception that ended the possession.
There was no reason to do that. All they needed to do was score with by the end of the quarter or even early in the fourth quarter to be on schedule. So there is something to the idea that they should have kept running the ball.
The Titans played a good game offensively and defensively and pulled off the win. They did not come up with the blueprint to beat the Ravens, they just played good football and won in key situations.
The Ravens are still the team to beat in the AFC North, and Bengals fans need to be humbled with that reality.