BALTIMORE — The Baltimore Ravens talked this week about wanting to show their championship mettle against the Kansas City Chiefs. Instead, the Ravens were reminded how the defending Super Bowl champions remain “our kryptonite,” according to quarterback Lamar Jackson.
In a hyped-up battle of the NFL’s top two teams, Jackson and the Ravens painfully found out how far they are from unseating Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs in a humbling, 34-20 loss on Monday Night Football.
The Ravens (2-1) were left scratching their heads about everything from Mahomes’ underhand touchdown pass and touchdown pass to left tackle Eric Fisher to why they look superhuman against the rest of the NFL in the regular season yet look so ordinary against the Chiefs.
Jackson didn’t resemble the reigning NFL MVP in a choppy performance, falling to 0-3 against the Chiefs with a career-worst 97 yards passing. It was unlike the Jackson who has dominated the rest of the league with a 22-1 regular-season record.
The Ravens’ defense hadn’t allowed more than 21 points in 13 straight games. On Monday night, Baltimore gave up 27 points to Kansas City in one half.
Baltimore hadn’t trailed in the second half at any point in 13 consecutive games, the best such stretch since the 1930 Green Bay Packers. On Monday night, the Ravens trailed the entire second half.
While Mahomes and the Chiefs played loose in their backyard football style, the Ravens looked confused on both sides of the ball, plagued by Jackson’s errant passes, drops by receivers and uncharacteristic mistakes on defense. There are plenty of teams who stumble against the Chiefs, but the Ravens have to figure out why their worst performances repeatedly happen against Kansas City.
Entering the season, the biggest question surrounding Jackson and the Ravens was whether they could win in the postseason after abrupt exits each of the past two seasons. Now, Baltimore knows its biggest hurdle to any championship aspirations is overcoming the doubts about whether it can beat Mahomes and Kansas City, which has the inside track for the top seed and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
QB breakdown: Jackson had one of his worst passing games of his career. After showing so much improvement as a pocket passer in the first two games, Jackson struggled with his accuracy and finished 15-for-28 (a season-worst 53.5%). It won’t be much of a rivalry with Mahomes until he beats him and plays well in doing so.
Troubling trend: Jackson has yet to lead a significant comeback. He’s now 0-5 when trailing by 10 points at any point in the game. He’s also 0-5 when trailing at halftime. Some of this is due to a lack of opportunities. Jackson and the Ravens had led at halftime in 11 straight games, which was one shy of tying an NFL record. But, when faced with a large deficit, he has struggled.
Eye-popping NextGen Stat: The one highlight was rookie Devin Duvernay‘s 93-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the second quarter. Duvernay’s top speed of 21.48 mph was the second fastest by a ball carrier on a kickoff over the past two seasons. He traveled 110.4 yards of distance on the play, and he reached his top speed at the Chiefs’ 45-yard line.