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Thursday, January 23, 2020

Articles tagged: Baltimore Ravens

5 biggest disappointments of NFL Divisional weekend

<Lamar Jackson/center>

The Divisional Round of the NFL playoffs this year was pretty wild. There were a few blowouts, but even those games had very intriguing storylines, and one of those contests became one of the best games of the entire playoffs. The Seahawks and Packers treated us to a tight game as well, and there were plenty of twists and turns across the league.

We’ve picked out a few disappointments from the weekend. Special teams blunders played a huge role. Here’s a look at the biggest disappointments from the Divisional Round of the playoffs.

Baltimore Ravens

It’s impossible to single out one aspect of Baltimore’s terrible performance on Saturday. Instead, the blame has to be spread around. The Ravens’ vaunted defense couldn’t stop Derrick Henry from going for 195 yards. They had no answer for Tennessee’s array of trick plays and unlikely catches. Lamar Jackson was forced to throw 59 times, which is not at all what the Baltimore offense wants to do. The whole night was a disaster for the NFL’s hottest team, who did not look ready for primetime. This one will sting for a while, and raises new questions about whether the Ravens’ offense is built for playoff success.

Bill O’Brien, head coach, Texans

Momentum may be an overrated things in football, but O’Brien went against the grain in two key spots where it felt like the game turned. The first came in the second quarter, with the Texans up 21-0. O’Brien had the chance to go for the kill on a 4th-and-1 at the Kansas City 13. Instead of trying for a 28-0 lead, they kicked the field goal. The Chiefs woke up immediately, and after scoring a touchdown, they successfully forced a punt from Houston’s 31. O’Brien called a fake on 4th-and-4 that didn’t work, giving the Chiefs a short field to make it 24-14. Kansas City never looked back, and O’Brien’s bad decisions will be scrutinized for some time to come.

DeAndre Carter, KR, Texans

More than one divisional game swung on a kick return. There were plenty of key moments in Houston’s collapse against Kansas City, but DeAndre Carter’s kick return fumble may have been the biggest. It happened at a delicate point in the game, with Houston set to get the ball back after their 24-0 lead had been reduced to 24-14. A long drive with a touchdown could have settled everyone down and put the Texans back in control, but Carter’s fumble left the Chiefs 18 yards away from another touchdown. KC got that touchdown and then started to run away with the game. Carter’s fumble was arguably the tipping point in a total Houston meltdown.

Seattle Seahawks’ offensive gameplan

Despite a late intervention by the referees, one could argue that Seattle lost their game against Green Bay in the first half. The Seahawks seem nervous about letting Russell Wilson loose too early in games, and it costs them. Seattle’s standout quarterback was just 6-of-13 for 105 yards in the first half, and the Seahawks trailed 21-3. Seattle let Wilson free in the second, and he was much better, nearly leading the team to a comeback victory. Perhaps letting him loose a bit earlier would have made things a little easier for a Seattle offense that seems like it needs a rethink.

Marcus Sherels, PR, Vikings

Kirk Cousins’ third quarter interception was a big blow to the Vikings, but the worst thing that happened to them was Marcus Sherels’ muffed punt late in the third quarter. Minnesota had just made a key defensive stand and was set to get the ball back down two touchdowns — a tough comeback, but they at least had a chance. Or they did, until Sherels muffed the punt that would have given Minnesota the ball back. San Francisco recovered, and though they only scored a field goal, the damage was done. The Vikings would not score again. Maybe they lose even if Sherels does his job, but that moment felt like a nail in the coffin.

Titans players troll Ravens by yelling ‘Big Truss’ after pulling off upset

Tennessee Titans

The Tennessee Titans had some fun at the expense of the opposition after Saturday’s massive upset victory.

As the Titans players exited the field following their 28-12 win over the top-seeded Baltimore Ravens in their divisional playoff game, they were heard to yell “Big Truss” on their way to the locker room.

Titans safety Kevin Byard, who had a huge interception off Lamar Jackson to set the tone in the first quarter, was among those yelling it.

“Big Truss” was the Ravens’ mantra during their stellar 14-2 regular season. Running back Mark Ingram even famously used it to hype up Jackson in a November press conference. Unfortunately, the mantra became so popular that it was bound to blow up in their faces if and when they got eliminated.

Lamar Jackson, Ravens fall victim to infamous Drake curse

Drake NFL curse

Drake has claimed yet another victim in the sports world.

The Baltimore Ravens lost at home 28-12 to the Tennessee Titans on Saturday night to see their season come to a premature and disappointing end. Those who were following things during the week might have seen it coming, though.

On Tuesday, Ravens star quarterback Lamar Jackson turned 23. Drake, a famous rapper, wished the quarterback happy birthday via Instagram. The message showed Drake wearing clothing that said “Truss” on it, which is a phrase the Ravens have used this season.

Right then and there, Drake officially and publicly showed his support to LJ, and it came before the Ravens’ playoff game.

So what’s the problem?

Drake is notorious for being a frontrunner, and whenever he jumps on a bandwagon, the team seems to lose. He even acknowledged that during the NFL playoffs last year.

Lamar Jackson would respectfully disagree with the notion he was cursed this week. He says he’s been friendly with the rapper for a while.

“Yeah it was pretty cool,” Jackson said of the shoutout. “I’ve been talking to Drake for the longest, you guys don’t know that, but I’ve been talking to him for the longest, so it was pretty cool.”

Jackson can say what he wants, but everyone else will say he fell victim to the curse.

If you’re an athlete, avoid Drake at all costs.

Baltimore Ravens have headset communication issues during playoff game

John Harbaugh

It’s not unusual for an NFL team to have communication issues with their headsets during a game, but what was surprising was to see a home team affected by headset problems. That was the case for the Baltimore Ravens on Saturday night.

Late in the first quarter of the Ravens’ home playoff game against the Tennessee Titans, CBS reporter Evan Washburn said that some of Baltimore’s coaches were having headset issues.

“During that previous possession, enough of their coaches were having interference in their headsets. They’re trying to remedy the problem. It didn’t cut communications, but there was clearly some coaches that were having trouble communicating upstairs,” Washburn said.

Because the Ravens’ system was not down completely, Tennessee’s communications were allowed to continue while the Ravens worked to fix the issue. If a team’s communications go out entirely, all headset communication is turned off to make things fair for both sides.

Here is the rule on the matter:

In the event one club experiences a coach-to-player radio system malfunction or failure, the other club does not have to shut down its system and may continue using it. However, if the coaches’ intercom system has been completely shut down on both sidelines pursuant to the equity rule, all coaches’ headsets must be removed, and radio communications from the sidelines to the field must be conducted by walkie-talkie only.

There have been plenty of rumors about teams having their headsets sabotaged during road games, but that does not apply here since Baltimore was home.

Was Ravens staffer wearing Bluetooth earpiece on sidelines during Browns game?

Ravens coach bluetooth

The Baltimore Ravens have been fined in the past for violating the NFL’s rules regarding coach-to-player communications policy, and there are questions about whether they did so again during Sunday’s game against the Cleveland Browns.

At one point during the broadcast, a Ravens staffer who was standing behind head coach John Harbaugh appeared to be wearing a bluetooth earpiece. Many on Twitter wondered if that was a violation NFL rules.

There are some rumblings that the staffer works security for the Ravens, but it’s unclear if that would mean he is allowed to wear an ear piece on the sideline.

The Ravens were fined $200,000 during the 2018 preseason after it was discovered that multiple players were using coach-to-player communication technology in their helmets. Only one player on the field at a time is allowed to have coach-to-player communication capabilities in their helmet. That fine came not long after Baltimore was fined for a separate violation of NFL rules.

Report: Terrell Suggs unlikely to report to any team but Ravens

Terrell Suggs

Terrell Suggs is going to cause some difficulties if any NFL team but one claims him on waivers, according to a report.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Saturday that Suggs, who was surprisingly waived by the Cardinals on Friday, will strongly consider not reporting to any team that claims him unless it’s the Baltimore Ravens.

This presents a significant difficulty. The Ravens have the last waiver claim right now, meaning 31 other teams will have the chance to claim Suggs first. It remains to be seen if Suggs’ threat will be enough to scare away all 31 of them.

Suggs would be due roughly $350,000 from any claiming team, but the money is not a significant factor to him and he simply wants to return to Baltimore. Suggs must be claimed by 4 p.m. ET on Monday.

The Ravens didn’t retain Suggs as a free agent last offseason, and he didn’t seem to want to leave. With 5.5 sacks on the season, he can clearly still help a team, but he doesn’t want to help just any team. Whether those teams respect his issues — or one jumps in and claims him just to prevent him from landing with a Super Bowl contender in Baltimore — remains to be seen.

Ravens OC Greg Roman shares his philosophy on protecting Lamar Jackson

Lamar Jackson

Lamar Jackson has defied conventional NFL wisdom this season by succeeding as a dual-threat quarterback. Historically, such a run-heavy focus for an NFL quarterback has not worked long term due to the injury risk; running backs tend to not last long due to the consistent pounding they take each week, and quarterbacks who similarly run the ball are being exposed to hits as well.

But that’s not how Greg Roman sees it.

NBC’s Andrea Kremer reported on Thursday night that Roman’s philosophy on mobile quarterbacks is that they are actually safer in space rather than standing in the pocket.

That runs contrary to what most would believe.

Roman, 47, in his third year with the Ravens and first as their offensive coordinator. He had success coordinating offenses for Colin Kaepernick and Tyrod Taylor in the past, both of whom succeeded under him as mobile quarterbacks.

If anyone knows about how to coach up mobile quarterbacks, it’s Roman. And he also apparently knows how to keep them healthy, too.