Sports

Ravens struggle to protect Lamar Jackson and it ultimately costs them

LAS VEGAS — In the end, the pressure got to Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens.

Jackson’s second fumble of the game set up the Las Vegas Raiders‘ winning score in overtime during a 33-27 season-opening loss.

On third-and-7, Jackson got hit from his right side and coughed up the ball. That led to Derek Carr‘s winning 31-yard touchdown pass to Zay Jones.

The Ravens struggled to protect Jackson all game, especially offensive tackles Ronnie Stanley and Alejandro Villanueva. Jackson was buying time with his scrambling, but he lost the ball twice trying to extend drives.

Jackson has now fumbled 33 times in his career.

This marked the first time since 2015 that the Ravens started a season 0-1. It won’t get any easier for Baltimore, which plays host to the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday night.

Describe the game in two words: Very unusual. The Ravens lost after jumping out to a 14-point lead. How unusual is that? Ravens coach John Harbaugh was 81-0 in the regular season when holding a 14-point lead. The last time Baltimore lost a regular-season game with a 14-point lead was in 2004 against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Buy on a breakout performance: Running back Ty’Son Williams. In his first start, Williams totaled 94 yards (65 yards rushing, 29 yards receiving) and scored a 35-yard touchdown. He went from Baltimore’s No. 3 back to atop the depth chart because of season-ending injuries to J.K. Dobbins (knee) and Gus Edwards (knee) over the past two weeks. But Williams’ failure to pick up the blitz proved costly on Baltimore’s final offensive play.

Troubling trend: More injuries. Left guard Tyre Phillips was carted off the field with 1 minute, 13 seconds remaining in the second quarter with a knee injury and didn’t return. This continues a bad trend for the Ravens, who had five players suffer season-ending injuries over a three-week period. Ben Powers replaced Phillips in the lineup.

Eye-popping NextGen stat: On Jackson’s 10-yard touchdown pass to Marquise “Hollywood” Brown in the second quarter, it looked like he was going to take off and run. Instead, Jackson showed his patience and his unbelievable quickness. He scrambled for 27 yards (the farthest on a TD pass in Jackson’s career), bought 7.84 seconds of time (NFL’s fifth longest on a TD pass in five years) and reached a speed of 15.7 mph before the throw (the fastest on a TD pass in Jackson’s career).

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