Familiarity may give neither team edge in Chiefs-Ravens
The “heat of the moment,” as described by Kansas City tackle Orlando Brown Jr., can turn into an explosive fire when Patrick Mahomes happens to be quarterbacking your team.
That’s something Brown discovered first-hand along the reconstructed Kansas City offensive front as the Chiefs (1-0) pulled off a fourth-quarter rally to win their opener and now face a Sunday night test at Baltimore against Brown’s former team, the Ravens (0-1).
“That’s what this team is, it’s a ton of resilience, a lot of talent, and Patrick is the best ever at what he does. This is a team you should never count out,” said Brown, who insisted he must play better while continuing to gel within a line that includes three rookie starters.
To improve immediately, he must dismiss any nostalgia he feels while performing against his former team in a stadium where he also watched his father play.
“I’ll be very emotional, but I plan on letting my emotions play for themselves,” Brown said.
That and continue to trust in Mahomes, who fired three touchdown passes in the second half and finished with 337 yards executing a 33-29 comeback against the Cleveland Browns. Mahomes took two sacks. His most dazzling throw, a 75-yard scoring bomb to Tyreek Hill, came while eluding pressure.
When asked how he clicked with his new line, Mahomes accepted blame on some pressures while acknowledging he could see a variety of blitzes from the Ravens, who feature rangy linebacker Patrick Queen.
“I’ve got to work on just the depth of my drop,” Mahomes said. “It’s something I always have to work on, just not fading back too much.”
Brown won’t be the only player sharing intel with a new team. Sammy Watkins moved on to Baltimore after contributing to Super Bowl runs by Kansas City the past two seasons. Watkins had four receptions for 96 yards in the Ravens’ opener, a 33-27 overtime loss Monday at Las Vegas.
“The best thing is we get to play against one of the best teams in the NFL,” Watkins said. “We’ve just got to come out and clean things up in practice. … We get to redeem ourselves.”
Any duel between Mahomes and Lamar Jackson creates considerable attention, but the Ravens’ quarterback knows that he must exercise more caution after losing two fumbles in the opener. The second turnover launched the Raiders’ game-winning drive.
“That ticked me off. I hate any turnover,” said Jackson, adding that “we’ve got to move on quick. Everybody hates losing. It’s going to be a quick turnaround, though.”
Maybe that short timeframe enables Jackson not to dwell on memories of three defeats in three meetings against Mahomes and the Chiefs. Jackson must continue to improvise with a patchwork offense that still must cope with the loss of three running backs to injuries prior to the opener.
Against the Raiders, Ty’son Williams stepped up and recorded 65 yards and a touchdown on nine carries, while adding three receptions for 29 yards. Jackson, the first NFL quarterback to post 1,000 yards rushing in two seasons, gained 86 yards while averaging 7.2 yards per carry.
Injuries have led to eight Ravens being placed on injured reserve, including Tyre Phillips, who suffered a season-ending knee injury in the opener.
Chiefs coach Andy Reid reported no injuries as the practice week began. The Chiefs’ Tyrann Mathieu should be available after he missed the opener coming off COVID-19 protocol. Frank Clark also sat out with a strained hamstring.
–Field Level Media