Oct 3, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) prepares to pass the ball in the third quarter against the Denver Broncos at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Ravens hand Broncos first loss of season

Lamar Jackson went 22-for-37 passing for 316 yards and a touchdown, Marquise Brown had four catches for 91 yards and a score, and the visiting Baltimore Ravens beat the host Denver Broncos 23-7 on Sunday.

Latavius Murray had 18 carries for 59 yards and a touchdown and James Proche II had five receptions for 74 yards for the Ravens (3-1).

Teddy Bridgewater left the game at halftime with a concussion in the first loss of the season for Denver (3-1). Bridgewater was 7-for-16 passing for 65 yards and a touchdown before leaving the game. Drew Lock replaced him and completed 12 of 21 passes for 113 yards and an interception in the second half.

Bridgewater was hurt when he was hit by Baltimore defensive lineman Odafe Oweh as he threw incomplete on the Broncos’ last offensive play of the first half. Bridgewater was evaluated at halftime and ruled out midway through the third quarter.

Noah Fant had six catches for 46 yards and a touchdown for Denver.

Following a scoreless first quarter the Broncos broke out on top on the second play of the second quarter when Bridgewater connected with Fant on a 3-yard touchdown pass. It capped a five-play, 57-yard drive and gave Denver a 7-0 lead.

The Ravens came right back to tie it on their next possession when Murray raced around the left and by the Broncos defense for an 11-yard TD run.

Baltimore forced a three-and-out on Denver’s next possession and put together another drive. The Ravens moved to midfield before Jackson found Brown behind the defense, and the receiver made a 49-yard diving catch in the end zone to put Baltimore ahead 14-7 with 7:09 left in the second quarter.

The Ravens capped the first half with Justin Tucker’s 40-yard field goal as time expired in the second quarter.

The Broncos couldn’t get much generated on offense in the second half but the deficit remained 17-7 into the fourth. Baltimore padded the lead on Tucker’s second field goal, this one from 46 yards, with 13:37 remaining, and Tucker hit from 20 yards out to cap the scoring.

–Field Level Media

Sep 13, 2021; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Sammy Watkins (14) runs the ball ahead of Las Vegas Raiders inside linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski (44) during the second half at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

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

The hands of an esport gamer clutching the controler at Encore Esports Gaming Lounge in New Rochelle on Thursday, December 20, 2018. 

E Sports

Ravens unveil esports league

The Baltimore Ravens are making an ambitious push into the world of esports.

The NFL team announced Monday the creation of the Ravens Gaming League, featuring public tournaments and activities, as well as a multi-year affiliation with Esports Entertainment Group (EEG).

The Ravens Gaming League will start with a Fortnite event set to run June 25-27. A Madden NFL 22 event will follow later in the summer, with the dates yet to be revealed.

Ravens senior vice president of marketing Brad Downs said in a statement, “We are excited to launch this new initiative and explore the benefits for our fans. The gaming and esports industry offer unique opportunities to engage with our fan base, in addition to Ravens players who have shown interest in gaming and esports.”

The Ravens Gaming League will use EEG’s Esports Gaming League (EGL) platform.

EGL chief executive officer Grant Johnson added in a statement, “Our esports tournament platform continues to gain strong traction among top-tier professional sports franchises. We are delighted to add the Ravens as our first NFL partner to go live on our platform.”

Ravens fullback/defensive lineman Patrick Ricard said in a video posted on the team’s Twitter feed, “You’ll have the chance to win cash prizes, autographed merch and the opportunity to test your skills against me.”

Registration is open for the Fortnite competition, for which the champion will receive $500 plus a Ravens “VIP home game experience” featuring a hotel stay, transportation to the game, team merchandise and the chance to compete against a Ravens player.

Details can be found at BaltimoreRavens.com/gaming.

–Field Level Media