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Sport NFL: Ravens after the Chiefs bankruptcy: The better team played in the cards

13:30  29 september  2020
13:30  29 september  2020 Source:   spox.com

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Ravens prepared to run it back but can the Chiefs D keep up? Baltimore has allowed 11 PPG (the fewest in the NFL ) in 2020; on the flip side, Hill and Kelce are just two of four players who had five-plus catches and at Jackson's record as a starter is 21-3. The Chiefs are responsible for two of those L's.

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The 20:34 bankruptcy of the Baltimore Ravens against the Kansas City Chiefs in week 3 (the highlights of the game can be found here) of the NFL season showed clearly the limits of a supposed top favorite. But not only the outstanding Patrick Mahomes was the reason for the clear result, the weak performance of Lamar Jackson and questionable decisions by John Harbaugh also played important roles.

Lamar Jackson (l.) war den Chiefs in Woche 3 nicht gewachsen. © Provided by SPOX Lamar Jackson (left) was not up to the Chiefs in week 3.

In the run-up there was talk of the potential game of the year in the NFL. The giants duel of modern times in the AFC. The meeting of the MVPs of the past two years - Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson. At the end of the day there is at least no doubt who is the top favorite at this conference.

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That was of course primarily due to Mahomes and his incredibly efficient performance. Mahomes made a total of 5 touchdowns (4 PASS, 1 RUSH) and collected a whopping 36.2 Expected Points Added (0.75 EPA / Play), which is great in itself. It was simply a statement from the Chiefs, but also a statement for the passing game in the modern NFL.

Both Offenses are usually extremely efficient, but the Chiefs are mostly airborne and the Ravens are on the ground. And in the end it was the same in this game. But in the end, the home side did not consistently trust their strengths.

The Ravens put in a good first drive at the beginning and mainly relied on the running game, but when it went into the red zone, they tried against their tendencies with the pass, which did not work. Then, after the chiefs gradually moved away, they held on to the pass and were punished for it time and time again. In the second half they went back to the run more often and came back - also due to a few mistakes by the Chiefs. But they basically lost the game before the break.

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Baltimore Ravens: Contrary to the positive

trends, it was also noticeable that the Ravens generally did not rely on what had made them so special, so progressive, in the previous year. Last year, Head Coach John Harbaugh was still considered a pioneer when it came to making the analytically correct decisions at Fourth Downs. His most important fourth down in this game happened on the first drive at the 8-yard line at 4th and 3. Instead of putting an exclamation point straight away, Harbaugh opted for a field goal.

That gave safe points, but also brought four points less than a potential touchdown. Counters that are essential against the Chiefs. Also noteworthy, if not quite as serious, was the decision to kick the extra point after the touchdown at 19:27 in the second half. From an analytical point of view, a two-point conversion would have been a bit better to then take the lead in the potential subsequent touchdown via PAT. The principle is: coach to win what Harbaugh had done last year.

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Right now, they played like the best team in the league . The Chiefs stalled in the third quarter with a lost fumble and a failed fourth down. The Ravens got a third-quarter field goal and drew within 27-20 on Jackson’s five-yard touchdown pass to tight end Nick Boyle on the opening play of the fourth

Baltimore is, without a doubt, the best team in football right now. Inject this matchup into my veins come February. Let me bask in the beauty of these two brash, dominant defenses. Allow me to revel in the ridiculousness that is Jackson's escapability and the 49ers' ferocious defensive front.

The bottom line is that the Ravens lacked a little courage in the trend-setting game against the reigning Super Bowl champion. And it wasn't that the Chiefs were acting perfectly. They made some mistakes - kicker Harrison Butker missed a PAT and a field goal just before the break, Darwin Thompson lost a fumble and they were stopped once in their own half on fourth down. KC held the door open, but the Ravens did not go through.

To make matters worse was Jackson's poor performance in the passing game. As with the playoff bankruptcy in January against the Tennessee Titans, the passing game left a lot to be desired. Jackson didn't even break the 100-yard mark, got -10.5 EPA (-0.28 EPA / play) and then declared, "The Chiefs' defensive game plan was similar to what the Titans did in the playoffs." He also called the Chiefs the "kryptonite" of the Ravens.

Baltimore Ravens: Jackson's introduction raises questions

The fact that his performance was as poor as it was back then raises some questions. What if more teams play this kind of defense? What if other teams manage to create a solid lead and also get the Ravens to deviate from the running game and rely on the shaky passing game? The running game ultimately also worked against the Chiefs, which is underlined by the 0.27 EPA / Play for all running plays. Who knows how the game would have ended if you had relied on your strengths instead of going against your own tendencies early on?

Even then there could have been a defeat, simply because Mahomes was simply beyond belief. But the game could have been made tighter.

Ravens head coach Jim Harbaugh didn't want to read too much into the game and just said what everyone knew at the time: "They beat us. They did their plays better. They had a better game plan. They did just beat us. That's the story today. I'm not interested in the big picture right now, but they're a better football team than we are right now. "

A better football team that basically got their hands on. The Chiefs stubbornly stuck to their sub-package with only two linebackers and five defensive backs and didn't look like they'd had much success in stopping Jackson and Co. on the ground. But they had to do this too seldom for this to be a problem. On the offensive, they had their usual good play design and Mahomes' human cheat code, which looks like he couldn't even make mistakes these days if he really tried.

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