No crew within the NFL is healthier over the opening quarter-hour of a recreation than the Ravens, who’ve outscored their opponents a whopping 79-16 in that span by means of the primary 10 video games of the season. They’ve been a bit worse in every of the subsequent two quarters, however simply barely, rating fourth-best in every after outscoring the opposition 73-38 and 63-28 within the second and third, respectively.
But one thing is happening within the fourth quarter.
The Ravens have been outscored 72-55 within the remaining quarter-hour, the sixth-worst level differential within the league. That included Sunday when the Cleveland Browns rallied for an inconceivable 33-31 victory after scoring two touchdowns and a subject objective within the fourth whereas holding the Ravens to only a landing.
It additionally marked the continuation of a regarding development. Going again to the beginning of final season, the Ravens have misplaced seven video games wherein they’ve led within the fourth quarter, tying them with the Indianapolis Colts for probably the most within the NFL.
What’s been the issue?
“Probably the story is we’ve started fast really every game,” coach John Harbaugh stated Monday. “That’s fairly uncommon. If we had completed sturdy in each recreation we’d be undefeated.
“This thing is a journey. I think we like to look at it and say this is what they are and this is what they’re going to be all year. Every team is forging the season as they go. Things happen.”
When operating again Gus Edwards scored from a yard out to provide the Ravens a 31-17 lead with 11:34 remaining Sunday, Baltimore had a 95.3% probability of profitable, in accordance with ESPN. Yet, it was simply the newest in a string of blown alternatives.
One of these losses paradoxically got here to the Colts in extra time in Week 3 this season. In the bungling defeat, the Ravens’ possibilities of profitable following a fourth-quarter sack of quarterback Gardner Minshew in the long run zone for a security had been 91%. Two weeks later in Pittsburgh, earlier than Lamar Jackson threw an interception with 4:10 remaining and earlier than the Steelers rallied for the victory, Baltimore’s odds of profitable had been 89%.
So, what provides?
Against the Browns, Jackson accomplished simply 1 of 5 passes for 11 yards within the fourth with an interception that was returned for a landing off a tipped go. The Ravens additionally weren’t capable of salt the sport away on the bottom, gaining simply 29 yards on 10 rushes. Five of these carries went to Edwards and none to Keaton Mitchell, who early within the recreation had a few explosive performs, together with a 39-yard landing run, however mysteriously obtained simply 4 snaps and one carry within the second half.
In the loss to the Steelers, Jackson accomplished simply 5 of 9 passes within the fourth and compelled one to a well-covered Odell Beckham Jr. in the long run zone solely to have rookie cornerback Joey Porter Jr. intercept it. Meanwhile, Baltimore managed a measly 13 yards speeding and was held to 32 complete yards on 15 performs over the ultimate quarter-hour.
Against the Colts, Jackson threw for 69 yards and the Ravens had 53 yards speeding within the fourth, however Jackson was additionally sacked twice. The first one got here on third-and-5 with 2:32 to go and compelled the Ravens to punt as an alternative of with the ability to presumably run the clock out. The second resulted in a 10-yard loss with 23 seconds remaining and contributed to kicker Justin Tucker having to attempt a game-winning subject objective from 61 yards that got here up brief.
“We’ve got to be dominant all four quarters,” tight finish Mark Andrews stated. “We’ve gotta do our job and play together and good things will happen.”
But it’s hardly been simply the offense — as dominant because the Ravens protection is that this season, it hasn’t been so within the fourth quarter.
Sunday, Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson was 7-for-7 passing for 88 yards with a landing within the remaining quarter. Cleveland additionally pounded the Ravens’ protection with 45 speeding yards, together with 24 by Jerome Ford, who completed with 107 yards on 17 carries.
Against the Steelers, Kenny Pickett accomplished 6 of 10 passes for 104 yards and a landing within the fourth. In the loss to the Colts, Minshew was 10-for-17 for 99 yards and Indianapolis grinded out 32 powerful yards on the bottom.
These are only a few of the explanations the Ravens, who rank No. 1 in anticipated factors added per play by means of the primary three quarters, are a woeful twenty fifth in EPA per play within the fourth quarter.
What’s the rationale? Whether it’s being unable to execute on offense, groups adjusting, inexplicable missed tackles or just getting pushed round, there doesn’t seem like only one.
“You get [a] game plan, you don’t play things great, you play things great, plays come up, plays get made, plays don’t get made,” Harbaugh stated. “We simply know what we have now to work on proper now to get higher, and that’s what we’re engaged on.
“You can’t panic. You don’t get all upset about one game, just like you don’t get over-happy about one game. You kind of try to keep an even keel and keep moving straight ahead through the water.”
But if the Ravens don’t repair their fourth-quarter woes quickly, they could sink as an alternative of swim.
Bengals at Ravens
Thursday, 8:15 p.m.
TV/Stream: ABC/Prime Video
Radio: 97.9 FM, 101.5 FM, 1090 AM
Line: Ravens by 3 1/2