Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) and Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) embrace after an NFL football game Sept. 28 in Baltimore. The Ravens hope to redeem themselves with a victory over the Washington Football Team on Oct. 4 at 1 p.m. (AP Photo/Gail Burton)
By Demetrius Dillard
Special to the AFRO
In the Monday Night Football game, a highly touted duel between the NFL’s most promising young quarterbacks in Lamar Jackson and Patrick Mahomes, the Baltimore Ravens fell into a rabbit hole they couldn’t quite climb out of.
Mahomes, the 2018 MVP who led the Kansas City Chiefs to a Super Bowl last season, once again showed he’s among the most elite quarterbacks in the league, leading a well-executed offense with 385 yards on 31-of-42 passing for four touchdowns along with 26 rushing yards for another score to propel his team to a 34-20 win at M&T Bank Stadium on Sept. 28.
The Ravens had fostered recognition as one of the best defenses in the NFL, allowing only two touchdowns before Monday night. However, the Chiefs (3-0) posted an offensive clinic while disrupting their opponents’ offensive rhythm to come away with a comfortable victory.
“Obviously, all credit goes to the Chiefs. They played a great game: very well-executed, first of all, very impressive in every phase. I thought that their offense was sharp, and Coach Reid had a great game plan,” Coach John Harbaugh said following the tough home loss.
“Their defense was physical was on point. That’s just the way it went down. We got beat just about every way you can get beat, and we understand that. We have a long way to go to get better. This will be a beginning for us. ”
After Mahomes scored on a three-yard carry that concluded a 75-yard drive in the middle of the first quarter, Kansas City was up 6-3 and didn’t relinquish their lead for the rest of the night. The Chiefs forced a quick three-and-out then worked their way down to Baltimore’s 23-yard line to end the first quarter.
On the opening series of the second, Mahomes had completions of 15 yards and two yards before finding Anthony Sherman for a five-yard touchdown that inflated the lead to 13-3. The Ravens responded with the most dazzling play of the game, as Devin Duvernay fielded the kickoff and ran it back 93 yards to the end zone to cut his team’s deficit to 13-10.
Mahomes continued to show efficiency in the pocket and on the move to finish the first half as he found Tyreek Hill for a 20-yard score and Mecole Hardman for a 49-yard score, increasing Kansas City’s lead to 27-10.
After Jackson got sacked, Baltimore fumbled to bring the game to halftime. They found themselves down 17 points as the Chiefs applied relentless defensive pressure, putting the Ravens in a position they hadn’t been in thus far this season.
Baltimore’s Justin Tucker nailed a 42-yard field goal to capitalize off a Kansas City turnover that began the second half. On Kansas City’s next drive, the Ravens forced a turnover-on-downs near midfield that set up another scoring opportunity on the other end.
Running back Gus Edwards exploded for a 24-yard rush that put the Ravens in the red zone at the end of the third quarter. By then, they trailed 27-13.
On the first play of the fourth, Jackson tossed a five yarder to Nick Boyle to make it a one-possession game, 27-20. Unfortunately for Baltimore, that was its last scoring drive.
The Ravens fell to 2-1 with the loss. Jackson completed 15 of 28 passes for 97 yards and a touchdown while rushing for 83 yards on nine carries. J.K. Dobbins tallied four receptions for 38 yards and Mark Andrews recorded 22 yards on three catches.
Kansas City used nearly seven minutes on its next series, a 75-yard drive that was capped off with a two-yard touchdown pass from Mahomes to offensive tackle Eric Fisher that clinched the game with 8:14 remaining.
The Ravens came close to answering with a score until Lamar Jackson was sacked twice that pushed the line of scrimmage back 18 yards, setting up a fourth-and-24 that led to a turnover on downs. The Chiefs bled the clock out to seal the win.
Last season the Chiefs bested the Ravens, 33-28, and 27-24 (OT) when the two met in 2018. Should Baltimore meet Kansas City in the postseason, it will undoubtedly be one of its biggest hurdles this season.
The Ravens hope to bounce back when they take a trip a few miles south for a Week 4 matchup against the Washington Football Team on FedEx Field on Oct. 4 at 1 p.m.