The Baltimore Ravens blowing leads late in games has become so common this season that coach John Harbaugh wasn’t really asked about the terrible habit manifesting again Sunday.
The Ravens led by 9 early in the fourth quarter and by the time the game was over Jacksonville had overcome the two-score deficit for a 27-26 win.
And that happens, right? It’s the NFL, right?
But it happens too often in Baltimore. The Ravens have lost four games this season because they have blown two-score leads in all four. They held all those leads in the second half. They held those leads in the fourth quarter of three of games.
“You just learn from it,” linebacker Justin Houston said. “I don’t think you get down. It should be motivation to keep moving forward. That’s all that matters. We get in the dance [playoffs], we’re going to shake something. We’re good.
“Like I said, it’s growing pains. We’re still learning, we’re still figuring stuff out.”
Week 13 is looming. And the Ravens are losing in the same fashion they lost in Week 2 to the Dolphins, Week 4 to the Bills and Week 6 to the Giants.
Ravens Defense Shredded In Fourth Quarter
Sunday’s problem happened when Trevor Lawrence completed 16 of his 20 fourth-quarter passes. The Jaguars churned out nine passing first downs in the fourth quarter, converted 2 of 2 on fourth down, and converted 3 of 6 on third down.
“Generally, they completed some big passes on us, so that’s what it boils down to,” Harbaugh said. “When they had to, they had some chunk passes and got down the field. That’s why I say hats off to them; they did a good job.”
The Jaguars are a team learning to win games like this. The Ravens have yet to figure out how not to lose them.
A little history: Only four NFL teams have ever led by more than one score in each of their first 11 games.
The 1942 Bears.
The 2009 Saints.
The 2011 Packers.
The 2022 Ravens.
The first three teams won all 11 games. So 11-0.
The Ravens are 7-4.
The Ravens are talented enough to be a premier team. But their offense struggles in the red zone and the defense chronically gives up big plays late.
Wonder if this will self-correct in the playoffs?
Baltimore may see Tua Tagovailoa in the postseason. The Ravens may see Josh Allen. Both quarterbacks authored massive comeback wins for their teams against the Ravens months ago.
It’s hard to believe it is still happening.
Lovie Smith: ‘We’ll Get Over The Hump’
The state of the Houston Texans today?
They’ve lost six consecutive games and with their NFL-worst 1-9-1 record currently hold the No. 1 spot for next spring’s NFL draft.
After Sunday’s 30-15 loss to the Dolphins, receiver Brandin Cooks was asked at what point he felt the game was getting away from his team?
“From the moment we came out …,” Cooks replied.
My friend and OutKick 360 staple John McClain remains the voice of NFL football in Houston. Monday morning he simply went off on the hapless Texans.
It’s obviously ugly in Houston and coach Lovie Smith, whom I greatly respect as a person and fine defensive coach, has been at times showing the wear of the season.
But he did offer a defense of his situation.
“Most of the times when you come into a new [job situation] there’s a reason why there’s a coaching change,” Smith said. “And most times you don’t come in when you’re ready to win right away. You start building. And that’s what we’re doing.
“We’re building, and eventually we’re going to get it done. Right now it’s kind of easy to take shots at us because we’re not quite there. So we’ll take that, but eventually we’ll get over the hump.”
Maybe, but the question arises as the losses mount whether this coaching staff will survive after this season to see that climb.
O’Brien To Patriots Rumors Not The Solution
The Patriots boast (not really) a middling offense that is averaging 21.7 points per game — which is 18th in the league. Their red zone production is horrible as evidenced by the fact their 31st in scoring percentage.
So it makes sense that with former offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien, now the offensive coordinator at the University of Alabama, possibly moving on, the Patriots are among his rumored landing spots.
Patriots coach Bill Belichick was asked about it Monday on his regular segment with WEEI (93.7 FM) in Boston.
“I haven’t talked to Bill in a little while,” Belichick said. “So, I don’t know. I wouldn’t really want to comment on his situation. I think that’s something for him to comment on.”
A source said O’Brien was a possibility for Belichick internally last offseason when Josh McDaniels took the head coach job with the Raiders. But that was short lived because O’Brien made it clear he was committed to remaining with Nick Saban at Alabama.
Belichick eventually hired Joe Judge as his quarterback coach and moved former defensive coordinator Matt Patricia to the offensive play-caller role.
That hasn’t exactly moved the needle. But all of this misses the central problem for the New England offense:
They do not have enough playmakers on the outside.
DeVante Parker never developed into a consistent No. 1 receiver with the Dolphins and he’s not producing like one with the Patriots. His 21 catches ties him for 140th in the NFL.
Nelson Agholor? Complementary guy. Same with Jakobi Meyers.
Bill Parcells, who was Belichicks boss for many years with multiple teams, used to call guys such as this JAGs.
Just. A. Guy.
Perhaps if the Patriots want to upgrade the offense next year they could major on the majors and get quarterback Mac Jones some legit playmakers that scare defenses.
Some Amazing Statistics
*The Jaguars won Sunday’s game against the Ravens by driving 75 yards in the final two minutes and scoring a touchdown with 18 seconds left. Jags coach Doug Pederson, facing a decision to tie with a PAT or win by going for 2, went for the win. And Lawrence and Zay Jones connected on a pass to give Jacksonville the 28-27 victory.
The Jaguars were 0-183 in their history before Sunday when trailing by a touchdown in the final two minutes of the game.
*Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts rushed for 157 yards on 17 carries against the Packers. In the first quarter. It had been a long time since any NFL quarterback had that kind of performance.
*The New Orleans Saints were shut out by the San Francisco 49ers, 13-0. That snapped a streak of 332 games over 22 seasons in which the Saints had not been shut out.
The last time New Orleans was shut out was 2001 when the Saints lost 38-0 … to the 49ers.
*One more? The 49ers obviously shut out the Saints in the second half. They have allowed zero points in the second half since Oct. 30.
The 49ers, in other words, went the entire month of November without giving up a second-half point.