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Chiefs headlines for Friday, September 20.
Why the Chiefs lost
Aside from Mathieu, who stayed around the ball, their defense was a step behind for much of the contest. That’s often true of teams who play Jackson , but even knowing Baltimore would be run-heavy, they couldn’t contain Ty’Son Williams , Latavius Murray or even Devonta Freeman . If they got any significant push up front, it wasn’t evident. Offensively, Mahomes was Mahomes , and the Chiefs were obviously in the mix until the end, but No. 15 got a little too silly with some of his acrobatic efforts, throwing a late pick and nearly tossing another rather than living for another down. Edwards-Helaire, meanwhile, coughed up the ball at probably the worst time late in the fourth.
And Lamar Jackson most assuredly did and Jackson most emphatically sealed a pivotal 36-35 win over the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday night, gaining two yards on fourth-and-1 from the Baltimore 43-yard line.
“I was like, man, I gotta get this first down no matter what,” Jackson told reporters after the game of the play that came with 1:05 left.
When Harbaugh asked Jackson prior to the play if he wanted to go for it, the coach admitted it was somewhat of a rhetorical question.
A tale of two Lamars.
Lamar Jackson ‘s start on Sunday was a dubious one, as two interceptions in the first quarter matched the two fumbles he lost the previous week in a loss to the Raiders. But Jackson , on this night, was not to be denied and the finish was a glorious one. Despite his best efforts gone awry early, Jackson rallied his squad for about as important a Week 2 win as you can have. For the first time, Jackson led the Ravens past Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs, accounting for three total touchdowns (all in the second half). For the fourth time, Jackson had more than 200 yards passing and 100 yards rushing in a game. Had things gone the other way, it would’ve been an 0-2 start for the Ravens and another loss to the reigning AFC champs. Jackson and Co. rebounded from a shaky start, went for the win and got it, as evidenced by Jackson’s game-clinching fourth-down conversion on a 2-yard sneak to seal the victory a long time coming.
How often can the Chiefs outscore their woeful defense? They answered the challenge against the Browns with three second-half touchdowns, but Clyde Edwards-Helaire ‘s fumble killed the potential go-ahead drive against the Ravens. It’s going to be difficult for the Chiefs to continue to operate on offense with no margin for error. This is starting to look like 2018 all over again. — Teicher
Ravaged by running back injuries this preseason, Baltimore is expected to go with a committee approach against Kansas City, cycling through Ty’Son Williams , Latavius Murray and Devonta Freeman , who was activated from the practice squad late this week, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Sunday on NFL GameDay Morning.
Mahomes carved up the Ravens’ secondary — as he is known to do on occasion — while spreading the ball around to nine different receivers. He did have an ill-advised interception where he tried making one of his signature throws while being tackled to the ground, but there was no magic there this time around. While his team ended up falling just short of victory, Mahomes gaudy stat line will surely boost his fantasy manager’s scores heading into the final game of Week 2. The young phenom could be involved in his third consecutive shootout in a divisional matchup against Justin Herbert and the Chargers on Sunday.
Around the NFL
Are you buying the Las Vegas Raiders? I am.
I know, I have been down this road before. A couple of years back. Thought they had turned the corner. Started to believe. But this feels different. Through two weeks in the NFL, it’s hard to identify a team that has been more gutsy, resilient, opportunistic or – on offense – as prolific. Their 2-0 start is as impressive as any in football, going from slugging it out with Baltimore Monday night, defeating the Ravens despite trailing 14-0. They overcome that crazy, late interception in the end zone to persevere deep into overtime. On a short week, they went across the country, played what felt like a 10 a.m. kickoff, and went about systematically throttling a defense some thought might be the best in football to emerge with a comfortable 26-17 win. Wow.
The Raiders’ success against the Steel Curtain was largely in part due to the man under center. Derek Carr picked up the road win in a hostile Heinz Field, playing some of his best football to date. This win now makes Carr 2-1 all-time vs. the Steelers, with a total of 1,005 yards and eight touchdowns across the three games.
But the fulfillment of this star-crossed franchise’s quest has come with a twist worthy of a “Twilight Zone” episode, or maybe a rub of a monkey’s paw — if that twist was a surprise, that is.
Tens of thousands of the fans packing SoFi Stadium avidly, vocally supported the Chargers’ opponent, the Dallas Cowboys.
Many seating sections were thoroughly dominated by Dallas’ dark-blue and silver color scheme. One lower-bowl area seemed to have more Ezekiel Elliott jerseys than every other article of clothing combined.
If you saw such a performance coming from the Dallas defense, you’re either clairvoyant or a liar because there was no visualizing it, not with the Chargers having the reigning Offensive Rookie of the Year in quarterback Justin Herbert and a receiving corps that ranks among the league’s best. Not with the Chargers seeking to make a positive impression in their first home game before a live audience, outnumbered though the “home” fans may have been.
Patrick Becoming an Elite Weapon
For the second straight week, Bridgewater connected with wideout Tim Patrick for a touchdown before halftime. With under two minutes to go in the first half, Patrick ran an underneath crossing route from the Jaguars’ 12-yard line and pranced into the end zone untouched for Denver’s first touchdown of the game.
Money is a factor. Sherman had interest from several teams — including the 49ers, Seahawks and Saints — early in free agency, but no team was willing to meet his asking price at the time. (Sherman serves as his own agent.)
Colts quarterback Carson Wentz will undergo further evaluation on his right ankle after injuring it in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s loss to the Los Angeles Rams.
Wentz suffered the injury when he tried to scramble and was taken to the ground by Los Angeles Rams defensive lineman Aaron Donald on third down with less than eight minutes left in the game. Replays showed Wentz ‘s right ankle severely twisting as he went down. He said he could feel it twisting under the pile right away. Wentz was slow to get up and then limped to the sideline.
The Steelers now have three starting defensive starters with groin injuries after T.J. Watt left Sunday afternoon’s game before halftime.
Joe Hadan and Devin Bush were already on the sidelines heading into Pittsburgh’s matchup against the Raiders. The severity of Watt’s injury wasn’t immediately clear.
“They should be disappointed,” Wilson said. “I thought our defense played well. They deserve to see good football. We work our butts off to be able to come in here and play well and it’s so tough when we don’t do that.
“I’m not paying attention to it, but they should be booing. We didn’t play well on offense. Our defense gave us a chance to win and we didn’t execute, we didn’t move the ball well, we didn’t score any points. We have to do a better job there.”
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
The Chiefs’ run defense (loser): It’s difficult to narrow this down without further review. But it appears to be an issue that spans at least the whole front seven — and probably some of the guys behind them. The Ravens had over 240 yards on the ground; the Chiefs had no answers for Lamar Jackson and company. After giving up 7.5 yards per play, the film room will not be fun for these guys.
The Chiefs have confirmed that their defensive point of focus in the offseason was to improve in the red zone, where they struggled last year. So far, so bad. Opposing teams are a perfect 8 for 8 on the year. Ravens defensive coordinator Wink Martindale developed a game plan specifically for the Chiefs, going away from his characteristic heavy blitzes and Cover-0 looks (at one point, the NBC broadcast noted the Ravens blitzed three times out of the first 17 dropbacks). They adapted — and did enough in their revised plan to win.
A tweet to make you think
The Ravens have done it. They’ve slayed the dragon.
— Baltimore Beatdown (@BmoreBeatdown) September 20, 2021
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