There are big moments good teams and players face, and they will be examined under a microscope for years to come. Today was one of those days for the Baltimore Ravens and Lamar Jackson.
They were favored at home against the Kansas City Chiefs. Jackson had a very good season. The offense and defense were both looking very good from metric standpoints, and they were able to secure the No. 1 seed in the AFC. It looked like things were set up for Baltimore to make some serious noise this postseason and return to the Super Bowl for the first time since the Joe Flacco era.
It seems that some teams fold when those lights shine the brightest. This was not the Ravens’ day, as mental mistakes were a commonality. Whether it was personal fouls or turnovers in scoring position, Baltimore was not ready to rise to that championship level that everyone knows the Chiefs have been at for years now.
Cincinnati Bengals fans know in big games like this against teams like Kansas City that your team has to stay poised and how important points can be. You can’t give a quarterback like Patrick Mahomes so many chances while you are squandering points. That is exactly what games like this come down to.
The two turnovers in scoring position — the ball getting punched out from Zay Flowers on the goal line and Jackson’s interception thrown into triple coverage — were all the Chiefs needed to be able to put this one away. While the Chiefs and Mahomes deserve a ton of credit, this really felt like the Ravens gave the game away more than the Chiefs won it.
The AFC North had three teams enter, and now they are all eliminated. The Ravens now enter an early offseason wondering what could have been. They had an MVP candidate surrounded by a talented skill position group and a world-class defense at home, but they still couldn’t get it done against the Chiefs.
Now will come questions of who they will be able to keep or restructure. Those offseason decisions have a different time to be examined, though.
But now we can all say bye Baltimore.