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How do you lose 3 games in the season opener? The Ravens found a way. After taking the lead with under 40 seconds, they allowed the Raiders (despite no timeouts) to complete 2 twenty yard passes down the middle of the field for a tying three-pointer. Then in overtime, they lost the game twice — the second time on a Lamar Jackson sack strip to set up the winning TD. What a bizarre finish — a second opportunity after both teams had already shook hands and hugged it out on the field. But the result was the same — a crushing defeat in a game the Ravens desperately needed with Kansas City coming to town on a short week. Starting 0-2 will not make Baltimore look like a Super Bowl contender.

What went wrong in Las Vegas?

  • The Ravens paid the price for all of their injuries and personnel upheavals. Their offensive line had not played together. Their receivers had not worked out their timing with Lamar. Nobody even knew the names of our recently acquired running backs. Lamar had a very disjointed preseason. The result was a team that definitely looked out of synch.

  • Despite taking an early 14 point lead and seemingly controlling the game, the Ravens defense gave up critical points in the first half two minute drill to give the Raiders hope.

  • Lamar was under constant pressure on passing plays. The edge rush from each side was very effective. Villanueva looks like a liability at right tackle — but we have no replacement. Our tackle depth was seriously undermined with the knee injury to Tyre Phillips who had won the starting left guard job over under-performing Ben Powers and invisible Ben Cleveland.

  • Lamar made some great plays with his escapability and his superman moves but his two fumbles led to the two TDs that finished off the Ravens.

  • The RPO runs which make the Ravens’ offense unique and difficult to contain were not part of the game plan. I guess the lack of practice with the new running backs made those mesh type plays too dangerous to attempt.

  • I love Mark Andrews — but his huge new contract did not pay any dividends this time around. Lamar failed to see him open on some critical plays over the middle. Mark dropped the crucial pass in OT right before the second Lamar fumble that ended the game.

  • Lamar had great chemistry with Hollywood Brown; not so great with Watkins — although the one long completion was a thing of beauty.

  • Our new running backs were not the problem. It seems like you could plug in a wide range of backs into our system and have them be effective if we could solve the deficiencies in our pass game.

  • Our offensive line will probably sustain another injury or two during the season and will prove to be a constant problem as we face defenses that are a lot more talented and aggressive than the Raiders. The remaking of the offensive line does not look like a success so far. What’s with Ben Cleveland? How could we have gotten so little return for such a high pick?

  • Our defensive secondary is highly touted but the Raiders had no problem finding open receivers, exploiting pass interference calls and racking up huge yardage all night. Yes we can stop the run … but it is a passing league and without any consistent pressure from our front line we are forced to rely on blitzing. Even then we have trouble getting home. We were fortunate that Carr and Waller were not on the same page in the first half. Carr didn’t really gain his accuracy until the second half. Things could have been worse.

  • Our defense looked tired at the end of the game. I don’t know how Patrick Queen will be able to sustain his great sideline-to-sideline effort without any reliable back-up. If he goes down, we are in big trouble.

Still, we were in the lead for most of the game and had a chance to pull out a miracle finish at the end. But came up short. No problem with the effort, but too many serious issues to rank us up with the elite teams at this point in the season. This one was hard to swallow.