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Dave Hyde:Ryan Fitzpatrick calls Tua ‘limited’; Sean Payton’s view is worse

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Dave Hyde:ryan Fitzpatrick Calls Tua ‘Limited’;  Sean Payton’s View Is Worse
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By now, there’s only one person who can change the conversation around Tua Tagovailoa, and it’s not coach Mike McDaniel, try as mightily as the new Miami Dolphins coach did this offseason.

Only Tua can, by throwing more passes like Sunday’s fourth-and-7 strike to Jaylen Waddle for a touchdown. The Dolphins quarterback has to lead this offense to more than 13 points, no matter the Sunday win.

He has to be better than decent, as he was in the opener, and far better than the underwhelming player of his first two years if this three-year Dolphins rebuild comes out he other side.

But don’t listen to me.

Listen to Wednesday interviews with the former Dolphins quarterback who worked closest with Tua, Ryan Fitzpatrick, and the first hope as Dolphins coach this offseason, Sean Payton.

Fitzpatrick was Dolphins quarterback for the Tank-for-Tua year of 2019 and was suddenly replaced by him a month into the 2020 season. He doesn’t say anything shocking about Tua. He offers a good, critical analysis from 17 years as an NFL quarterback and a seat beside Tua.

“If you’re a top-10 quarterback, you have to have at least one trait that’s absolutely special, something you can do that no one else can do,’ Fitzpatrick said on the podcast “Pardon My Take.” “[Buffalo quarterback] Josh Allen, I think, we see the arm talent. We see the way he can scramble and run, the hits he can take, the hits he can deliver.”

“[Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin] Herbert, physically, the same thing. With Tua, it’s not the the arm strength, it’s not the ability to run or scramble or get out of trouble.

“What is it? People say, ‘Well, he’s a winner.’ Tyreek [Hill] says, ‘He’s the most accurate I’ve ever seen.’ When I first saw Tua, what pops out for me, because it’s hard for a young quarterback to come in and do this: anticipation and accuracy.

“Those are the things he has to be elite at. I think he’s very, very good at — very accurate and can anticipate. The problem is you sometimes have to create. He’s not going to be able to scramble – he’ll be able to scramble and get out of trouble and get you 5 yards.

“But he’s not going to be able to scramble around, escape the pocket and make the big plays down the field. So he has to take what he has that [can become] elite. That’s accuracy and, as he gets older, that’s decision-making.

“He has to be the best in the NFL at it, because he’s limited in some of those other ways.”

And Payton? The Super Bowl coach who was on his way to the Dolphins this offseason told Fox Sports’ Colin Cowherd on Wednesday that he sees eight teams that will replace underachieving quarterbacks this year.

“I think at some point we’ll see Tua [benched] in Miami,’ he said. “I think at some point — and they played well [Sunday] with Tua. But Teddy Bridgewater, I’ve had before, he’s an outstanding player.”

There’s a belief void around Tua. That’s the only way to say it, and it’s not in a column or on ESPN’s First Take. It was inside the Dolphins when owner Steve Ross tried to replace him with Deshaun Watson and 45-year-old Tom Brady.

Now Fitzpatrick, who is doing broadcast work on Amazon’s Thursday night NFL package, offers a lukewarm-at-best critical breakdown of him, and Payton flatly says he’ll be replaced.

Tua, as always, conducts himself well. He’s grounded and focused. He said he “hasn’t been satisfied at all,” with Sunday’s performance. He completed a healthy 23 of 33 passes for 275 yards. Those are good numbers. But the 13 offensive points say something more was needed.

Nor did his Sunday earn respect inside football circles — and Fitzpatrick knows about getting no respect. He thinks Tom Brady was referring to him in an HBO interview when Brady got turned down by a team in 2019 and said, “‘You’re sticking with that mother f——-?’ Brady never mentioned the quarterback, but …

“It had to be me,’’ Fitzpatrick said. “No, zero respect. He’d never shake my hand. It just — he just p—– me off.”

One day maybe Tua will unleash such words. For now, there’s only one forum to change much of the football world’s thoughts on him. Kickoff is at 1 p.m. Sunday in Baltimore.

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QBs Daniel Jones, Tyrod Taylor both hurt in injury-filled 20-12 Giants win over Bears

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Qbs Daniel Jones, Tyrod Taylor Both Hurt In Injury-Filled 20-12 Giants Win Over Bears
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The Giants have three wins after four games. Now they have to make sure they have a healthy quarterback to face the Green Bay Packers in London next Sunday.

Daniel Jones scampered for two rushing touchdowns, and the Giants ran for 262 yards in Sunday’s 20-12 win over the Chicago Bears behind Saquon Barkley’s 146 on a career-high 31 carries.

But Jones (left ankle) and backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor (concussion) both sustained significant injuries that forced head coach Brian Daboll to put Barkley at quarterback in the fourth quarter and also reinsert Jones.

“When I saw Tyrod go down I kinda realized, like, I’m up next. I’m the quarterback,” said the dynamic Barkley, who ran all day like he was shot out of a cannon.

Jones underwent X-rays after the game and said he will “do everything I can to play” at Tottenham Stadium next Sunday. But he was limping badly after Bears safety Jaquan Brisker sacked him and landed awkwardly on his ankle with 3:30 left in the third quarter.

Asked to compare his injury to high ankle sprains he has had in the past, Jones said: “Each one’s different. I still don’t know exactly what it is. So we’ll look at it.”

The Giants surely weren’t planning on needing a third quarterback in London, so it will be interesting to see if they need to expedite a passport and international clearance for practice squad QB Davis Webb.

They managed to hold on Sunday when Taylor got hurt, though, because Daboll literally grabbed a white board on the sideline and drew up plays that he and offensive line coach Bobby Johnson had run before with the Buffalo Bills.

“Like when you were eight years old playing with your friends,” Barkley said with a smile.

Barkley played QB in a Wildcat formation the next three plays, twice out of the Pistol with running backs Matt Breida and Gary Brightwell flanking him. He handed to Breida twice for 14 yards and kept it once for four yards to set up a Graham Gano field goal.

Jones came back into the game after Taylor got hurt to relay the play calls to Barkley from his head set. He lined up as a dummy wide receiver on those three plays.

Then Jones played quarterback the Giants’ final two drives, handing a total of seven times to Barkley and never attempting another pass.

It was odd to see Jones return to the game after head athletic trainer Ronnie Barnes and Daboll had been seen on the sideline telling him he was out following the ankle injury.

Daboll said they took Jones out initially because the coach told Jones: “I’m not risking you getting injured to try to protect yourself with that limp.”

But Jones, with his ankle heavily taped, said he could return to the game if needed and remained available.

Jones said he believed “part of the decision” was that his ankle injury left him unable to execute the game plan. So he knew he would go in if Taylor got hurt.

The Giants had been killing the Bears’ defense with Jones’ back-to-the-defense play action rollouts. He had rushed for 21-yard and 8-yard TDs in the first half, the first Giants touchdowns scored in any first half this season.

It marked Jones’ first game with two rushing TDs since his first NFL start at Tampa in Sept. 2019. But his third-quarter injury left him immobile. And Taylor came in to run three times for 30 yards before his injury.

“That was the communication,” Jones said. “I wanted to go in and considering the game and how it was playing out, probably wasn’t the best thing for the team. So when Tyrod went down, I knew I was going back in.”

Jones admitted “it’s frustrating” to get shut down during a game. He was understandably not pleased on the sideline and even put his helmet on when Taylor entered the game.

“You want to play and be out there with your teammates at the end of a game where you’re fighting and trying to win,” Jones said. “But I thought guys stepped up, played great and finished off the game.”

It remains to be seen how the Giants will keep winning with this offense. Jones completed only one first-half pass to a wide receiver, David Sills, with under a minute left in the second quarter.

The Giants’ leading receiver was tight end Daniel Bellinger with three catches for 23 yards.

Primarily, Don Martindale’s defense was the difference, keeping Chicago’s NFC-best running game in check at 149 yards, 37 below their average. Jaylon Smith rotated in at inside linebacker in his season debut.

Martindale’s crew blitzed young Bears QB Justin Fields into indecision and sacked him six times, twice by Dexter Lawrence, who talked a lot of trash and backed it up.

“I’m just playing my game,” Lawrence said with a smile. “If they got beef, we got beef, you know what I mean? You wanna talk junk, I’m good at that. So it’s like, whatchu wanna do? Let’s line up.”

Rookie Kayvon Thibodeaux recovered a second quarter Fields fumble forced by Azeez Ojulari that led to a Giants touchdown drive. And Brightwell recovered a fourth quarter muffed punt by the Bears’ Velus Jones Jr. to offset a second quarter muffed punt and lost fumble by the Giants’ Richie James.

But the Giants also lost a ton of players to injury: Jones, Taylor, safety Julian Love (concussion), right tackle Evan Neal (neck), corner Aaron Robinson (knee), receiver Kenny Golladay (knee), defensive lineman Henry Mondeaux (ankle), Ojulari (calf) and Thibodeaux (back spasms). Right guard Mark Glowinski (ankle) and Jihad Ward (unknown) missed time and returned.

The focus, though, is on the quarterback position and who will start against Aaron Rodgers next week.

***

The Giants’ inactives were LB Austin Calitro, OL Tyre Phillips, DL Leonard Williams (knee), WR Wan’Dale Robinson (knee), WR Kadarius Toney (hamstring), CB Cor’Dale Flott (calf) and CB Nick McCloud (hammy).

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Chicago Bears defense laments mistakes after allowing 262 rushing yards to New York Giants: ‘Player for player, we felt like we had ups on them’

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Chicago Bears Defense Laments Mistakes After Allowing 262 Rushing Yards To New York Giants: ‘Player For Player, We Felt Like We Had Ups On Them’
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When New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones faked a handoff to Saquon Barkley in the first quarter Sunday at MetLife Stadium and then spun to his left, a clear 21-yard lane to the end zone lay before Jones.

With Chicago Bears defenders Trevis Gipson, Jaquan Brisker and Dominique Robinson in chase mode, Jones picked up speed. Cornerback Kyler Gordon was unable to shake tight end Tanner Hudson’s block near the goal line, and Jones squeaked into the corner of the end zone behind Hudson for his first of two touchdown runs in the first half.

The Giants never trailed again in their 20-12 victory, and Jones contributed 68 rushing yards to his team’s 262 for the day, a season high by a Bears opponent.

“He’s a good athlete,” linebacker Nicholas Morrow said of Jones. “He’s got some long legs, so he’s got a good stride and can get out there a little bit. But there are some rules we’ve got to follow to make sure we can contain some of those runs.”

Jones’ second touchdown came in similar fashion — a fake to Barkley, a sprint to the left corner of the end zone, an 8-yard touchdown.

Coach Matt Eberflus said the Bears made adjustments to stop similar bootleg plays in the second half, but they needed to come quicker. The damage of two touchdowns was done, and coupled with a Bears offense that failed to get in the end zone, it was too much to overcome.

“It’s just eyes — you’ve got to keep your eyes in the right spot,” safety Eddie Jackson said of defending Jones on play action. “They were doing a good job setting it up, running with Saquon. Running, running, then slip the boot here and there. We just have to do a better job with our eyes and on the edges.”

The threat Barkley posed helped the Giants pull off the plays. After injuries limited him the last couple of seasons, Barkley continued his bounce-back season with 31 carries for 146 yards and two catches for 16 yards.

His performance also continued a concerning trend, as the Bears have allowed more than 175 rushing yards in three of their four games this season.

“He came out and played a great game, but there were a lot of mistakes on our behalf,” linebacker Roquan Smith said. “He’s a heck of a player, but that’s no excuse. We’ve just got to all get better and look ourselves in the mirror, including myself.”

Jones was hobbled by a left ankle injury midway through the second half, and backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor left to be evaluated for a concussion. The Bears held the Giants to two second-half field goals from kicker Graham Gano.

Jackson came up with a big interception early in the fourth quarter — his third in four games — but the Bears offense failed to capitalize on the takeaway that gave them the ball at their 4-yard line.

Through four games, the Bears defense hasn’t allowed a touchdown after halftime, giving up just 18 second-half points.

But the running thread in the Bears locker room from defenders was that mistakes here and there kept the unit from putting together the game-altering performance the team needed — especially as the offense struggled and special teams made costly mistakes, such as the muffed punt by returner Velus Jones Jr. in the fourth quarter.

Morrow lamented a missed tackle on a short pass from Jones to Barkley on the Giants’ second touchdown drive. On third-and-9, Morrow was right on Barkley when he caught the ball, but Barkley spun out of his grasp for a 15-yard gain.

Gordon was called for a 40-yard pass interference penalty on the Giants’ first field-goal drive of the second half. And Smith wasn’t pleased that Taylor twirled out of his grasp on third-and-4 on the Giants’ final field-goal drive.

“Self-inflicted wounds. That’s the biggest thing. That’s what hurts the most,” Jackson said. “Player for player, we felt like we had ups on them. We just have to do the little things right. We can’t keep shooting ourselves in the foot, myself included, and both sides of the ball I’m sure, even on special teams.”

Eberflus said a focus this week for the whole team as the Bears prepare for the 3-1 Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium will be putting together a full game after Sunday’s first-half miscues.

“We just have to be consistent all the way through,” Eberflus said. “That’s going to be something we’re going to preach this week and do a better job of. Apparently we’re doing some good things in this second half, but we have to play 60 minutes in this league.”

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3 killed as plane crashed into home near Duluth airport

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Three People Died When A Small Plane Crashed Into A Home On The 5100 Block Of Arrowhead Road In Hermantown On Saturday Night. (Dan Williamson / Duluth News Tribune)
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Three Twin Cities area residents were killed late Saturday night when the small airplane they were flying in crashed into a home and yard just south of Duluth International Airport.

Hermantown officials said Sunday afternoon that Alyssa Schmidt, 32, of St. Paul, and her brother, Matthew Schmidt, 31, of Burnsville, Minn., were passengers in the plane, while Tyler Fretland, 32, of Burnsville, was the pilot. All three died in the crash.

Two occupants in the house, Jason and Crystal Hoffman, were not injured in the crash that happened Saturday just minutes before midnight.

Three people died when a small plane crashed into a home on the 5100 block of Arrowhead Road in Hermantown on Saturday night. (Dan Williamson / Duluth News Tribune)

“I’m still not sure what to think. It doesn’t seem real, at all. We’re just lucky. The loss of life is heartbreaking. At the same time we’re grateful for making it through this,” Jason Hoffman said, recalling the crash on Sunday morning.

According to Hermantown Communications Director Joe Wicklund, the Hermantown Police Department was notified by the airport’s control tower that a small airplane had left radar and was believed to have crashed. The control tower advised the last location on radar was 1 to 1.5 miles south of the airport.

Police and fire departments from surrounding agencies responded to the area and located the wreckage of a Cessna 172 airplane in the 5100 block of Arrowhead Road. The airplane hit the second floor before coming to rest in the backyard of the property.

The plane took out much of the second floor of the home at 5154 Arrowhead Road. Pieces of the plane, and damaged vehicles that were parked in the yard, were strewn across the backyard. The largest intact piece of the Cessna appeared to be the tail section. Wicklund said the occupants of the small brick house were upstairs when the crash occurred and were unscathed.

“I remember waking up to a very loud explosion and my wife screaming,” Hoffman said. “The first thing I thought was that the furnace exploded.”

It wasn’t until he fumbled through the darkness and dust to get a flashlight that Hoffman noticed an airplane wheel next to his bed and realized it was a crash.

Jason Hoffman Stands On The Other Side Of Caution Tape From His Home. Both Hoffman And His Wife Crystal Were Home At The Time Of The Crash. (Dan Williamson / Duluth News Tribune)
Jason Hoffman stands on the other side of caution tape from his home. Both Hoffman and his wife Crystal were home at the time of the crash. (Dan Williamson / Duluth News Tribune)

Neighbors quickly responded to the scene and warned the Hoffmans not to move yet as there were live power lines around the home. The couple found their cat unharmed in the basement and eventually left the home when the dust and rubble became overpowering.

The crash apparently caused extensive power outages in the area but Minnesota Power reported no customers without power at 8 a.m. Sunday.

Hoffman believes the house may be a total loss. He and his wife have lived there for seven years since moving from Worthington, Minn.

“This was actually the first house we saw when we came into town. My wife and I said to each other, we need to live there, and ended up buying it, amazingly,” Hoffman said. “It was kind of like a storybook tale that we found it and fell in love with it so quickly.”

The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board are performing an investigation, authorities said. Additional information will be released in concert with the NTSB.

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Mike Preston: Forget analytics. Ravens coach John Harbaugh was wrong to go for it on fourth down vs. Bills. | COMMENTARY

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Mike Preston: Forget Analytics. Ravens Coach John Harbaugh Was Wrong To Go For It On Fourth Down Vs. Bills. | Commentary
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The Ravens have the most prolific kicker in the history of the National Football League and still sometimes refuse to use him in possible game-winning situations.

We’ve seen this before. Twice, in fact, just last season in losses to the Green Bay Packers and the Pittsburgh Steelers, setbacks that helped the Ravens lose six straight seasons to fall from the top seed in the AFC to out of playoff contention altogether.

Then came Sunday.

Faced with a fourth-and-goal at the 2-yard line with 4:15 remaining and the score tied at 20, Ravens coach John Harbaugh decided to go for it. Under pressure, star quarterback Lamar Jackson underthrew receiver Devin Duvernay in the right corner of the end zone, and the pass was intercepted by safety Jordan Poyer.

The Bills then went on a 12-play, 77-yard drive that ended with a 21-yard field goal by Tyler Bass as time expired for a 23-20 Buffalo victory before a disappointed home crowd of 70,494. Afterward, Harbaugh gave several reasons for his decision to not send out Tucker for the 19-yard field goal attempt, but they are no longer acceptable.

I’m tired of hearing about analytics. I’m tired of hearing about an aggressive philosophy. The best chance for this team to win Sunday was for Tucker to kick the field goal and use the crowd as the 12th man to put even more pressure on the Bills and quarterback Josh Allen. Instead, we got more logic, and the Ravens lost their fifth straight home game by a total of 12 points.

Harbaugh defended his decision after the game.

“Well, I felt like it gave us the best chance to win the game because seven [points], the worst that happens is if they go down the field and score — and I think we’ll get them stopped — but if they go down the field and score a touchdown, the worst thing that can happen is you’re in overtime,” he said. “But you kick a field goal there, now it’s not a three-down game anymore, it’s a four-down game. You’re putting them out there, you’re putting your defense at a disadvantage because they’ve got four downs to convert all the way down the field and a chance to again score seven, and then you lose the game on a touchdown.

“So, then the worst thing … The other thing you think you’re going to get the ball at the two-yard line, so I’m very confident in the defense’s ability to stop them down there with the ball on the two-yard line, so we have them backed up if we didn’t get it. It didn’t turn out that way, unfortunately, and we lost the game. So, hindsight, you could take the points, but if you look at it analytically, understand why we did it.”

Sorry, you send out Mr. Automatic and you get the home crowd razzed. Because of the rain, wind and soggy field, almost anything can happen, and the Bills were down to two wide receivers, so you at least have some chance to win. After Jackson’s interception, the crowd started filing out of M&T Bank Stadium because all Buffalo needed was a field goal to win.

The underlying statement of this decision is that Harbaugh has no confidence in his defense. You can’t blame him. The Ravens are ranked No. 32 overall — dead last — in the NFL allowing 353.3 passing yards per game. They gave up four fourth-quarter touchdowns to Miami two weeks ago in a similar meltdown.

But Jackson wasn’t having a good day Sunday, and he seems to struggle in wet and cold conditions. He rushed 11 times for 73 yards but completed only 20 of 29 passes for 144 yards and finished with a rating of 63.

The biggest difference between Jackson and Allen is that Allen has cut down on the number of boneheaded plays while Jackson still forces enough passes to leave you scratching your head.

He had three yesterday, once rolling to his right and then throwing back across his body to the left side of the field to receiver Rashod Bateman in the third quarter for no gain. He also threw one to tight end Mark Andrews down the left sideline, which should have been intercepted, too, but Duvernay caught the carom for a 21-yard reception midway through the second quarter.

Sometimes it’s better to take a sack or throw it away than toss up a jump ball. That’s what Jackson did with the pass to Duvernay.

On the fourth-down try, Jackson had running back Mike Davis open on a slant on the left side and missed him. And then he was late throwing to Duvernay, who was initially wide open.

That’s where Harbaugh has to have a better feel for the game. His defense is terrible, but Jackson was rattled by the pressure Buffalo was bringing in the second half.

Didn’t we see this last year, too?

“It definitely affected him. You could see he wasn’t as calm and cool sitting back there looking around. It definitely got to him, and it definitely worked,” Bills linebacker Matt Milano said of the pressure against Jackson.

So, Harbaugh and the Ravens should have trotted out Mr. Dependable, Tucker, and put the points on the board.

After the game, the Ravens came to Harbaugh’s defense, but what else did you expect? Who is going to disagree with his decision, except for someone like cornerback Marcus Peters? He was irate on the sideline, slammed his helmet down and had to be restrained from going after Harbaugh. Could it have been because of something else?

Either way, we can attribute that to emotion and competitiveness, but privately these poor decisions start to negatively affect players. During the turn of the century, opposing teams used to fear playing in Baltimore because of the deafening crowd noise and its top-ranked defense. But that’s gone now.

Back then, the Ravens got kicker Matt Stover on the field to win games. Now, Justin Tucker is an afterthought.

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Wake Up and Smell This Amazing Deal on a Keurig K-Supreme Coffee Maker

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Wake Up And Smell This Amazing Deal On A Keurig K-Supreme Coffee Maker
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This article is sponsored by QVC. These items were selected at QVC because we love them and we thought you might like them at these prices. If you buy something from our links, E! makes a commission on your purchase. Prices are correct at time of publication. Items are sold by the retailer, not by E!.

The mornings are hard. They are restless. They are busy. And before too long daylight saving time returns (or does it go?), and suddenly the mornings are dark, too. So why complicate the task? If you still swear by your pourer, filter, or French press, know that you can move on. All the cool kids are using the Keurig K-Supreme these days, and it’s even on sale at QVC.

This deal on the Keurig K-Supreme is enough to make any morning all the brighter. Along with a machine that makes three sizes of hot or iced beverages, you’ll get 36(!) pods to start with, plus the reusable MyCup filter for just $100. Normally, the machine alone would get you closer to $160.

My favorite aspect of the machine is that it’s single serve, so I never feel like I’m making too much coffee that ends up wasted. Plus, it can accommodate travel mugs, making it a super convenient choice if you’re on the go in the morning.

So have fun! Make same-day jumping easy. Get the Keurig K-Supreme coffee maker from QVC before it runs out.

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After Ravens fall apart again in 23-20 loss to Bills, home misery goes from bad to worse

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After Ravens Fall Apart Again In 23-20 Loss To Bills, Home Misery Goes From Bad To Worse
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The Ravens have trailed for just 14 seconds of the 120 minutes they’ve played in Baltimore this season, but from that portrait of apparent superiority there emerges only stark realities: a historic collapse in their home opener, a second-half flop Sunday against the Super Bowl favorites, two would-be wins spoiled by defensive miscommunications and offensive breakdowns and generally bad vibes.

The Ravens never trailed in their 23-20 loss to the Buffalo Bills, not until kicker Tyler Bass knocked a 21-yard field goal through the uprights as time expired, but by the end of Sunday’s rain-soaked slopfest, Week 4 felt a lot like Week 2, a car crash in slow motion. Against the Miami Dolphins, the Ravens had squandered a 21-point fourth-quarter lead and lost in the final minute. Against the Bills, a 17-point first-half lead turned into mush, wasted at last by a late fourth-and-goal interception and a failed defensive stand.

As the Bills counted down the seconds Sunday until Bass could take his gimme kick just yards from the goal line, the Ravens’ implosion manifested in another blow-up. Cornerback Marcus Peters, who seemed to disagree openly with coach John Harbaugh’s decision to go for a goal-line touchdown on fourth-and-2 four minutes earlier, had to be restrained by pass game coordinator and secondary coach Chris Hewitt as he argued with Harbaugh coming off the field.

It was a confrontation that only highlighted the Ravens’ surprising struggles at home, where they have now lost a franchise-record five straight games dating to last season. An offense that can’t put away a game. A defense that’s struggling to communicate. A team that should probably be 4-0 but is instead 2-2, with the defending AFC North champion Cincinnati Bengals coming to Baltimore next.

“I think it’s very disappointing to us,” safety Chuck Clark said. “We were preaching at halftime, ‘We’ve been in this situation before, and we have to finish it out.’ So I think we know what we did and didn’t do. We have to finish.”

Lamar Jackson came close. Midway through the fourth quarter, the 20-3 lead that the Ravens’ opportunistic offense and suddenly sturdy defense had created was gone. But on the Ravens’ final drive of the game, their quarterback had them on the brink of another lead.

A 9-yard completion to wide receiver Devin Duvernay moved the Ravens to the Bills’ 1.  A busted run play, a 3-yard loss by running back J.K. Dobbins, bumped them back to the 4. After a short third-down scramble by Jackson to Buffalo’s 2, the Ravens kept kicker Justin Tucker on the sideline. As Harbaugh moved deeper and deeper into the red zone before the snap, Peters followed not far behind, gesturing. (Peters was not available to comment postgame, but Harbaugh said they were “on the same page.”)

The Ravens, whose fourth-down and late-game aggressiveness often backfired last season, didn’t change their plans. Two weeks after Miami stonewalled a crucial fourth-down run in the fourth quarter, Jackson dropped back to pass.

Devin Duvernay — by then the team’s top wide receiver, with Rashod Bateman relegated to the sideline after some drops and an apparent lower-body injury suffered in the third quarter — got open in the corner of the end zone. Jackson didn’t see him initially, only “a tall defensive lineman with his hands up,” he said later.

Jackson backpedaled and backpedaled until finally he threw off his back foot to Duvernay, still open behind tight end Mark Andrews. But the pass hung as it traveled 20-plus yards in the air, wobbling in the steady afternoon rain. It arrived a split-second too late. Safety Jordan Poyer beat Duvernay to the ball for his second interception of the game.

“If I would have seen him right off the bat, that would have been a touchdown,” said Jackson, who finished with 11 carries for 73 yards but struggled to pick apart a banged-up Bills secondary, finishing 20-for-29 for 144 yards and a touchdown.

Asked about the Ravens’ meek finish, best summed up by their scoreless second half, he said: “I feel like we just have to execute. I felt like we had some chances to keep drives alive on the field, but we just have to execute. We just have to do a better job, and that way, we will have success.”

Harbaugh said the decision to go for the touchdown was not about the defense’s ability to stop Bills quarterback Josh Allen and an explosive but inconsistent offense. “I felt like it gave us the best chance to win the game,” he said. One of the NFL’s most analytically inclined coaches, Harbaugh said he felt a field goal would encourage the Bills to go for it on fourth down on the following drive, which would give them “a chance to again score seven, and then you lose the game on a touchdown.”

Buffalo’s game-winning drive further exposed the cracks that began to show in Week 2. Needing a stop, the Ravens held off the Bills’ advance only twice — when left tackle Dion Dawins was called for a false-start penalty, and when inside linebacker Patrick Queen dropped running back Devin Singletary for a loss once Buffalo (3-1) was already inside Ravens territory.

Self-inflicted damage had undercut the Ravens’ strong start Sunday — overthrown passes, dropped catches and interceptions, untimely penalties — and it doomed them late. Buffalo moved into field-goal range after cornerback Brandon Stephens was penalized for roughing the passer because of what referee Jerome Boger said was “forcible contact” to the head and neck area.

With 1:50 remaining, the Bills called a first-down run for Singletary, who found a relatively light path from the 11-yard line to the end zone. Here, the communication miscues that plagued the Ravens against Miami resurfaced.

Harbaugh said the entire defense was told to let the Bills score, which would’ve given the Ravens’ offense time to respond. Oweh said the call was to either “strip the ball or let him score”; he went for the forced fumble, having gotten one earlier. But Singletary was tackled 8 yards downfield, costing the Ravens their last timeout.

After a short run by Allen (19-for-36 for 213 yards, one touchdown and an interception, plus 11 carries for 70 yards and a score), the Bills had another first down and the ball at the 1. After two kneel-downs, just three seconds remained, enough time for just one play: Bass’ game-winning kick. The Ravens, heads down, walked off the field with their second blown 17-point lead of the season. Over their previous 26 seasons, they’d won all but three games with such an advantage.

“It’s only Week 4,” Jackson said. “We’ve been in this situation before. I remember we got blown out by the [Cleveland] Browns in 2019 and we started the season the same way. I’m not peaking on this too soon. I’m not looking at this like we have had a disappointing season. Guys are just coming back healthy now, and I feel like we are going to hit our peak at the right time.”

A month into their season, the Ravens are still searching for something approaching a complete performance. They looked like world-beaters for stretches Sunday, their run game humming, their passing attack on time, their defense forcing turnovers, their home crowd buzzing.

Their eventual undoing was a reminder not only of whom they are missing — key starters like left tackle Ronnie Stanley and outside linebacker Tyus Bowser — but what they are striving for. They hadn’t trailed until the clock hit zero Sunday. Still, they’d left themselves too thin a margin for error. Now they would have to reckon with the consequences. Again.

“Obviously, we put ourselves in a great position to win that game,” Andrews said. “It’s unfortunate that it didn’t play out the way we wanted it to. As a team, all you can ask for is to be in those situations and have that opportunity. That’s what we had today. We didn’t get it done. We’ll be better.”

Week 5

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Sunday, 8:20 p.m.

TV: Chs. 11, 4

Radio: 97.9 FM, 101.5 FM, 1090 AM

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