Monday night marks Round 3 of Mahomes vs. Lamar, with Mahomes taking the first two rounds if you go by things like final score.
Frankly, Jackson didn’t play well in either of the matchups with the Chiefs, at least not relative to his usual level of performance. Both times, he didn’t do enough with his arm—in the 2018 matchup it was defense and a big special teams play that kept the Ravens in it, and in last year’s meeting the Chiefs held a two-possession lead for most of the second half, leading to a lot of empty calorie numbers for the Ravens offense.
There are still some lingering questions about the Ravens’ offensive line; they looked better in Houston than they did in the opener against Cleveland, but there’s little to like about rookie Tyre Phillips replacing future-Hall-of-Famer-who-was-still-playing-at-Hall-of-Fame-level Marshal Yanda at right guard.
However, the difference this time could be Jackson himself, and the fact that he continues to improve at an exponential rate as a passer. His presence in the pocket and touch as a passer continue to be outstanding. While he’s taken few cracks at the kind of outside-the-numbers throws that he struggled with last year, he’s playing with a wider base in the pocket that should provide better velocity on those throws. (It might ultimately come down to better understanding the timing of those throws as he attempts more of them.) The Ravens, of course, will continue to feature him in the run game because he’s special with the ball in his hands and it would be foolish not to. However, if you were to travel the infinite timelines of the multiverse until you find the reality where everything is exactly the same as it is here except Lamar Jackson is currently dealing with a sprained MCL, I think the Ravens still have a functional offense, and possibly a very good one.
Chiefs at Ravens
Time: Monday, 8:15 p.m. ET (ESPN), stream on fuboTV (Try for free)
Open: Ravens -3, O/U 52
Current: Ravens -3.5, O/U 54.5
Pete Prisco Chiefs
Jason La Canfora Chiefs
Will Brinson Chiefs
Jared Dubin Ravens
Ryan Wilson Ravens
John Breech Chiefs
Dave Richard Ravens
Jamey Eisenberg Ravens
Baltimore will have 250 immediate family members of players, coaches and front office staff at MT&T Bank Stadium in preparation for having fans later in the season.
“This is an important step for us as we continue working toward the possibility of welcoming a larger number of fans at some point this season,” Ravens president Dick Cass said in a statement. “Ultimately, we all want to do what’s in the best interest of our community. We appreciate the guidance that Governor [Larry] Hogan and Mayor [Bernard “Jack”] Young have provided.”
4. Who on the Ravens’ roster, beside Lamar Jackson, are you most worried about on Monday?
I wouldn’t necessarily say I am worried about him specifically on Monday, but I’m certainly gutted to see Patrick Queen playing for a team we will consider rivals for the next few years. A lot of Chiefs fans (myself included) was hoping that Queen would have fell to Kansas City back in April. This will especially hit home when the Chiefs linebackers inevitably miss a number of tackles on Monday night.
Wilson’s five passing touchdowns in Sunday’s 38-31 win over the Dallas Cowboys gave him 14 on the year, breaking Patrick Mahomes’ record of 13 set in 2018. It also made Wilson the first player in NFL history to throw for four or more touchdowns in each of his team’s first three games.
“Russ is just on it,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said after their victory Sunday. “You are just watching a great football player do what he does best.”
Around the NFL
Wentz was a respectable 29-of-47 for 225 yards, but he threw two interceptions against one touchdown. For the third time in three games in 2020, the Eagles lost the turnover battle. And head coach Doug Pederson shouldered the blame for 11 penalties the team withstood.
But beyond the box score, Wentz was once again bad on deep balls. He went 1-for-7 on throws of more than 20 yards in the air. And on throws of more than just 10 yards, he was 2-for-11 with one touchdown and an interception.
Wentz has consistently tried the deep ball this season despite finding little success. As a passer, he hurt his team more through two weeks than any other quarterback not named Kirk Cousins. He improved slightly Sunday but was still outdueled by rookie Joe Burrow, and his completion percentage was 4.1% below expected.
It didn’t take long for the Bears to make an in-game QB switch from Mitchell Trubisky to Nick Foles. The only question now is how long will Foles hold onto the job after leading Chicago to a wild come-from-behind win Sunday in Atlanta.
Foles threw three touchdown passes in the second half to rally the Bears to a 30-26 win after trailing by 16 points in the second half. The journeyman replaced Trubisky in the third quarter against the Falcons following an interception.
“Sometimes there’s a gut feeling on when to do it, and that seemed like the right time,” Bears coach Matt Nagy told reporters afterward.
The team’s decision to reopen to fans was made possible following the executive order signed by Governor Ron DeSantis which moved Florida into the last phase of the state’s reopening plan.
Bucs season pass members with continuous membership since 1998 or earlier will have the initial opportunity to purchase a limited amount of tickets beginning Oct. 1, which will be for the team’s Week 4 matchup against the Los Angeles Chargers.
In their next home game on Oct. 18 against the Green Bay Packers, seating at Raymond James Stadium will be approximately 25 percent of capacity.
Atlanta Falcons cornerback A.J. Terrell has tested positive for COVID-19 and is being placed on the reserve/COVID list, the team announced Saturday.
Terrell, a rookie first-round draft pick by the Falcons, is the first player to be placed on the COVID-19 virus since the beginning of the 2020 season. Players can be placed on the list if they test positive for COVID-19 or if they’ve been exposed to someone who tested positive.
NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reports that Terrell’s positive test came back overnight and as a result he was not at the Falcons’ Saturday walk-through. Terrell has been declared out for Sunday’s home game against the Chicago Bears. Cornerbacks Delrick Abrams and Tyler Hall were elevated from the practice squad to the 53-man roster in a corresponding move.
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
After scoring just six points in the first half, the Chiefs began to help their tackles with chip blocks from their running backs and tight ends — but the quarterback also made a small adjustment, utilizing the hard count to get Los Angeles pass rushers out of rhythm.
It worked. During the fourth quarter and overtime, three separate Chargers defensive linemen drew offsides flags from Mahomes’ hard count — and it wasn’t a coincidence that the Chiefs scored 14 of their 23 points after the third quarter.
“We work on changing up the snap count all throughout training camp,” Mahomes told reporters on Thursday. “There are some rough days where you get a lot of false starts, but it always makes you better whenever the season comes along. I have the unique advantage of having a unique voice that’s able to get those guys to jump offside, so I try to utilize that as much as possible.”
A tweet to make you think
Patrick Mahomes needs 75 pass yards to become the fastest player in the NFL history to reach 10,000 career pass yards (this will be his 34th career game). Kurt Warner (36 games) is currently the fastest.— James Palmer (@JamesPalmerTV) September 25, 2020