Sat, 02 Dec 2023

Late for Work: Ravens Are Their Own Worst Enemy in Loss to Colts

Baltimore Ravens
26 Sep 2023, 05:25 GMT+10

Kyle Barber Ravens "Deserve Their Share of the Blame" in Loss to Colts

The Ravens hoped to start 3-0 for the first time since 2016 as they faced the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday. But rain-soaked conditions, unforced errors and an opposing team that wouldn't go away combined for a 22-19 overtime loss.

Pundits gave credit to the Colts, but couldn't help but feel the Ravens more so lost due to their mistakes and struggles.

Pressbox's Bo Smolka: "Poor execution, poor clock management and poor communication all appeared to be culprits as the Ravens let the Colts work their way back into a tie to force overtime."

The Athletic's Jeff Zrebiec: "Give the Colts credit. They came into Baltimore and in tough conditions, they played a very good road game. They controlled the trenches. They ran the football. They made things difficult for Jackson. But the Ravens have to feel like they let the game slip."

The Baltimore Sun's Childs Walker: "The Ravens suffered a haunting defeat thanks to their repeated inability to pick up yards when they had chances to put the game away. Their last five drives produced 65 yards and no points. ... Shoddy ball handling in the form of a Lamar Jackson fumble and a poor snap by center Sam Mustipher was the chief problem, but the offense failed in every way imaginable as the Ravens picked up just two first downs in a six-drive span."

The Baltimore Banner's Kyle Goon: "The only thing worse than winning ugly is losing ugly. And with respect to the Colts' Matt Gay - not the kicker we're used to seeing thread the uprights for the win at M&T Bank Stadium - the Ravens deserve their share of the blame for dropping what could have been a W."

Baltimore Beatdown's Stephen Bopst: "This was an ugly game in poor conditions but at the end of the day, the Ravens had far more self-inflicted issues than Indianapolis. This seemed like a game we've all seen multiple times and while this loss won't define their season, it is one of the more frustrating losses in recent memory."

Pundits: Ravens Special Teams Outperformed by Colts

When the Ravens step onto the field each week, they seemingly always have the edge over their opponent when it comes to special teams. After all, they have the most accurate kicker in NFL history in Justin Tucker. But on Sunday, Colts kicker Matt Gay set an new NFL record as he knocked through four 50-yard field goals. This caught the attention of pundits who were surprised to see the Ravens outdueled on such a front.

Smolka: "It's not often that another team's kicker outperforms Justin Tucker, but Indianapolis Colts kicker Matt Gay did just that. Gay made four field goals of 50-plus yards, including a 53-yarder with 1:09 left in overtime, to send the Ravens to a 22-19 loss at soggy M&T Bank Stadium on Sept. 24."

The Baltimore Sun's Tim Schwartz: "For the first time in a long, long time, Justin Tucker wasn't the best kicker on the field. Matt Gay making four field goals from beyond 50 yards is impressive, but Baltimore had every chance to win this game and found ways not to."

Associated Press' Noah Trister: "It's not often a kicker manages to upstage Justin Tucker. Matt Gay did just that, lifting the Indianapolis Colts to an improbable victory in Baltimore. Gay capped a terrific day with a 53-yard field goal in overtime, giving the Colts a 22-19 win over the Ravens on Sunday."

Ravens Injuries Impact Week 3

Against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 2, the Ravens overcame injury to defeat their AFC North rival on the road, 27-24. But against the Colts, the losses started to be recognizable to media members observing Sunday's contest, including Zrebiec

"The Ravens played extremely well in Cincinnati a week earlier despite missing a number of key starters. However, when you're missing as many as nine starters, injuries are bound to have some impact," Zrebiec wrote. "The Ravens' offensive line, in particular, struggled at times without left tackle Ronnie Stanley and center Tyler Linderbaum against a very good Colts front. Already thin at edge rusher without Odafe Oweh and with Tyus Bowser on the non-football injury list, the Ravens then lost David Ojabo to an ankle injury on the first defensive series. The Ravens have shown flashes of being a good football team, but they need to get some guys healthy."

Russell Street Report's Rob Shields also felt the team was hampered due to injury.

"The injuries on this team are crippling right now and more guys got hurt today," Shields wrote. "Not having Gus to run out the clock was just another injury issue that occurred today. No team can overcome these issues week in and week out and it's not likely many of these key guys are back next week either. This team needs to figure out how to keep guys healthy and they need this offense to get on the same page. It's only one loss but this is a win you needed in the big picture of things and you are now looking at back to back road division games with several guys hurt."

The hope is the Ravens will get a few of their starters back as they look toward a two-game road stretch against the Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers. Smolka sees it as an opportunity to get back in positive spirits if they can take care of business in the division.

"To be sure, the Ravens will be limping into Cleveland, and the physical nature of AFC North football pretty much assures they will be limping out of Cleveland, too, and then going on to Pittsburgh," Smolka wrote. "That is a tough back-to-back assignment. But they are 1-0 in the division, and while this loss to the Colts stings, the team can quickly salve their wounds the next two weeks."

King: "Gutless Officiating in Baltimore"

On fourth-and-3 in overtime, wide receiver Zay Flowers reached for a ball but was impeded on the play by Colts linebacker E.J. Speed.

M&T Bank Stadium fans cheered, expecting a flag that could have put the Ravens in better field-goal position. But no flag was thrown by the officials, which set off boos in the stadium and critics to express their disdain for the official's refusal to call a penalty.

NBC Sports' Peter King called the no-call "gutless."

"Gutless officiating in Baltimore," King wrote."Totally gutless in the Colts-Ravens game. Baltimore had a fourth-and-three at the Indy 47-yard line with 3:25 left in OT and Lamar Jackson threw a short one over the middle to Zay Flowers. But as the ball approached, Colts linebacker E.J. Speed hooked Flowers and clearly interfered with his chance to make the catch. It appeared to me that this call should have been the side judge's call, but I'm sure smarter people in the league office will dissect this one closely, because some official-quite possibly side judge Lo van Pham-had responsibility on Clete Blakeman's crew to see what everyone watching this game saw: that the outcome of the game was influenced significantly on a non-call by the officials."

King wasn't alone in being disappointed in the decision to swallow the whistle.

Kyle Hamilton Draws Attention for Incredible Performance

In what was arguably the best performance by a Raven in 2023 thus far, safety Kyle Hamilton dominated in Week 3. His strong play didn't go unnoticed.

ESPN's Jamison Hensley: "Safety Kyle Hamilton. His three sacks were the most in the first half by a defensive back in NFL history. According to NFL Next Gen Stats, Hamilton sacked Gardner Minshew in under four seconds each time."

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