Anyone hoping for a continuation of the Ravens winning streak into Week 3, will be disappointed by the final score of 7 – 44. The Jaguars completely dominated the game, giving the Ravens their first defeat of 2017. The Ravens went without any points up until the fourth quarter, showing none of the promise that they seemed to have at the start of the season.If you’re going to be following either of these teams throughout the rest of the year, then you will definitely benefit from some insights and analysis of the game.
Ravens vs. Jaguars: What Went Wrong for the Ravens in London?
The ravens started the year with two wins, beating Cincinnati 20 – 0 in their Week 1 game, and then winning 24 – 10 against Cleveland in their second game. The team were probably looking at the Jacksonville game as another potential win, but the final score was anything but respectable for the Baltimore team.It’s quite possible that the Ravens underestimated the Jaguars. Jacksonville lost their previous game against the Tennessee Titans, finishing 16 – 37. However, they did win against Houston in their opening game, and the 29 – 7 score board was almost as impressive as what they were able to do this weekend.A lot of things went right for the Jaguars this past weekend. Quarterback Blake Bortles was playing as good as we’ve ever seen him. His passes were accurate and four of them led to touchdowns. The team were relentless with the pressure that they were putting on the Ravens, and it seemed that the Ravens had no answer for the first three quarters of the game. Wide receiver Allen Hurns received one of those touchdown passes, putting the Jaguars up to a 20 – 0 lead by the end of the second quarter. He spoke about the pressure that they were able to create, saying that “The main thig we talked about coming in at halftime, was not letting up. The team had put pressure [on the Baltimore Ravens], as far as an offensive standpoint, so call what we’re going to call – not just being lackadaisical and calling all runs. Keep Pushing the gas.” This game, played in London, U.K., was the worst defeat that the Ravens have had since 1997. Baltimore players didn’t have much to offer in terms of analyzing what went wrong. Linebacker Terrell Suggs was frank when talking to the media, saying that “You can be 100 percent honest about it; they did a good job executing today. They outplayed us. You’ve got to take your hat off to the Jacksonville Jaguars. But it’s only one game. We’ve just got to make it up. It happened. It’s very unfortunate. We did a lot of uncharacteristic things.”The fact is that the Ravens failed to make any real ground in the game. When they were in possession of the ball, they only went past the midfield for three plays. Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco said that travel to the U.K. couldn’t be blamed for their lack of performance. He told the media that “We all felt different at times, but by the time game day came around, but the time 2:30 came around, we felt pretty good. The other team [Jacksonville Jaguars] was going through the same exact thing, so that’s just part of this game.”One problem for the Ravens was that they were not able to overcome the defense of the Jaguars. The Jacksonville team were able to smother the offense of the Ravens, and it was hugely effective. The execution looked clinical, and it must have been extremely demoralizing for the Ravens, especially as they watched the scoreboard go up throughout the first, second, and third quarter, without a single point from Baltimore. It’s hard to say whether the Ravens crumbled, or if the Jaguars were just so much better on the day. Look at the stats as an example. The Ravens couldn’t get more than 8 yards from any of their 14 receptions. Jalen Ramsey, cornerback for the Jaguars, felt that the lack of respect shown for the defense was a motivator in the game. After the game, he told the media that “For sure, it motivated us a little bit. We kind of internally motivate ourselves. We don’t really worry about the external things too much. But to say that didn’t motivate us, it did.” Joe Flacco was crowded throughout the who game, rendering him and his offensive line, completely ineffective. It would have been hugely frustrating for the Ravens, but it was an incredibly interesting game to watch. If the Jaguars could perform like this during every weekend, then we’d easily be calling them one of the best teams in the league right now.Linebacker Telvin Smith believes that experience has a lot to do with it, which could suggest to us that the Jaguars are only going to get better as the season progresses. He told reporters “I would say it just goes to guys understanding the system, and again, playing. The more you play in a system on the field together with the same guys around you, the camaraderie, the love for each other is only going to go up. It’s only going to get stronger, and that’s what you’re seeing.”
What Does This Mean for Both Teams Going Forward?
If this game was a guaranteed indicator of performance for the rest of the season, then we’d be calling the Jaguars to win the Super Bowl. Of course, that’s not quite how it works in football, and things can change significantly from week to week.While it’s possible that the Ravens were simply having an off week, the reality is that this wasn’t the first time that we’ve seen the Jaguars play like this in 2017. Their first game saw them winning by a 22-point margin over Houston, and they’ve only gotten better since then. For the Ravens, we don’t think this loss is going to be representative of their season. However, in the case of the Jaguars, this could be a good sign of what’s to come. Considering they’ve already had two one-sided victories this year, we believe they could be shaping up to be a surprise power team in 2017.