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Arrowheadlines: Numbers back Ravens’ decision to go for win

Chiefs headlines for Tuesday, September 21.

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Baltimore Ravens Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The latest

Week 2’s biggest decisions: Ravens’ fourth-down call pays off; Giants too cautious? | NFL.com

FOURTH QUARTER: With 1:05 remaining and the Ravens (leading 36-35) facing a fourth-and-1 from their own 43-yard line, Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson rushes for 2 yards.

According to the Next Gen Stats Decision Guide, the Ravens’ decision to go for it here was unequivocally the optimal call, by a difference of 24 percentage points in win-probability value. Converting meant the Ravens would win. If they hadn’t converted? Their win probability would have dropped to 33 percent. And if they’d punted the ball back to the Chiefs, the Ravens’ chance of winning would have been roughly 58 percent, assuming Patrick Mahomes and Co. would have gotten the ball back with under one minute left from deep inside their own territory.

But that only explains the outcomes. We also have to take into account how likely it was that Jackson and the Baltimore offense were going to convert on fourth-and-1 (the distance was 1.1 yards, to be exact, according to our ball-tracking data). In that situation, against the Chiefs’ defense, the Ravens had a 75 percent chance of gaining enough yardage for a first down. Taking this into account, the expected win probability of going for it was 82 percent. The difference between 82 percent (the value of going for it) and 58 percent (the value of punting) represents the difference in win-probability value of the two decisions. In the end, the numbers say it was a no-brainer. Jackson’s run kept the ball out of Mahomes’ hands.

NFL Week 2 grades from around the league | YardBarker

Chiefs putting too much on Patrick Mahomes’ shoulders

The Chiefs (1-1) allowed their most rushing yards since September 2013, and the Ravens ground troops’ 251 yards certainly marked the lead reason Patrick Mahomes is now 11-1 in September starts. The Ravens outrushed the Chiefs 251-62. Kansas City’s top-heavy blueprint would have probably worked had Clyde Edwards-Helaire not fumbled on a would-be game-winning drive. The Chiefs have never truly replaced Kareem Hunt; their Edwards-Helaire luxury pick has not helped Mahomes sufficiently. And Kansas City’s defense has required two Mahomes bailout efforts this season. The NFL’s best player needs more help.

CHIEFS GRADE: C-plus | NEXT: vs. Chargers (Sun.)

NFL Week 2 grades: Saints get an ‘F’ for ugly loss to Panthers, Titans earn ‘A’ after valiant comeback win | CBS Sports

C

Chiefs

They started off great but couldn’t capitalize on two Lamar Jackson interceptions, the first of which was a pick-six. Tyreek Hill was bottled up throughout the evening, the defense couldn’t stop the run, and Clyde Edwards-Helaire put the ball on the ground at the worst possible time. The fumble by the running back capped a Kansas City collapse that saw the Chiefs turn the ball over on two of their final three possessions.

6 winners and 8 losers from Week 2 in the NFL | SB Nation

Winner: Lamar Jackson

Sunday Night Football was the perfect epitome of why Jackson is, and will be, the most polarizing player in the league this season. It’s partly because his play, by nature, drifts between the poles. It’s always been a case where if you evaluate him purely as a passer you see, honestly, a fairly average quarterback. A large part of this is lack of weapons, sure, but it also paints an incomplete picture.

So many players would have folded in the second half against the Chiefs, down 28-17 with Patrick Mahomes cooking. It’s a familiar refrain we’ve heard for years, but Jackson wasn’t having any of it. He rebounded with a 42-yard touchdown pass, then when Kansas City answered he ran in a score, then another — and kept running for over 100 yards and two touchdowns on the day.

In totality he had a positive touchdown/turnover ratio, and contributed 346 yards of the team’s 481 yards. That is wholly impressive, even if the passing picture alone doesn’t show it.

The First Read, Week 3: Raiders are for real; Cowboys’ defense good enough? | NFL.com

THREE DOWN

Rank

Kansas City Chiefs

DEFENSE

So much for the theory that the Chiefs’ defense would improve once All-Pro safety Tyrann Mathieu and defensive end Frank Clark returned to the field. Mathieu did his part with two interceptions, including a pick-six, in the 36-35 loss to Baltimore, but that shouldn’t ease the sting of this defeat. The Chiefs now have given up 65 points and 938 total yards in their first two games. Mahomes and the Kansas City offense always will be capable of magical feats, but we’ve seen this movie before. It was 2018, when a porous defense killed the Chiefs’ hopes of reaching the Super Bowl in Mahomes’ first year as a starter.

NFL Week 3 early odds: Tom Brady a rare underdog, Saints ‘dogs against Patriots and rookie Mac Jones | CBS Sports

Chargers (1-1) at Chiefs (1-1)

Opening line: Chiefs -6.5

Kansas City is another team that’s surprisingly 0-2 ATS to begin 2021. A Clyde Edwards-Helaire’s late fumble allowed Baltimore to beat the Chiefs on Sunday night, but this is still one of the best offenses in the NFL and a legit title contender in the AFC. K.C. is also 4-1 ATS in their last five games following a straight-up loss. As for the Chargers, they were on the losing end of their Week 2 matchup with the Cowboys. That said, Justin Herbert continues to blossom into one of the elite quarterbacks in the NFL. He recorded his 10th 300-yard game and would’ve had an even bigger day through the air had penalties not erased two L.A. touchdowns. In all, the Chargers were flagged 12 times for 99 yards. With this opening under seven, I expect folks to flock to the Chiefs in hopes of a bounce-back at home.

NFL Week 2 betting roundup: Ravens’ comeback over Chiefs costs bettor $572K payday | Yahoo Sports

Late in the third quarter of Sunday night’s Kansas City Chiefs vs. Baltimore Ravens game, one bettor at BetMGM thought a huge payday was coming their way.

The bettor put down a whopping $250,000 on a two-leg parlay in the game and needed the Chiefs -4 and the over 53.5 points. The over hit when Patrick Mahomes found Travis Kelce for a 46-yard touchdown with 6:50 left in the third, making the score 35-24.

All that was left between this bettor and a $572,000 payday was the Chiefs holding onto that lead. But it wouldn’t come through.

Around the NFL

Chicago Bears say quarterback Andy Dalton remains their starter if healthy; early tests show no ACL tear | ESPN

However, five minutes after Nagy’s Monday morning’s news conference concluded, where Nagy cited “scheme” as the reason he could not divulge whether Dalton would remain the starting quarterback over rookie Justin Fields, the Bears sent a team official into the media room to announce that Dalton is, in fact, still the Bears’ starting quarterback, health permitting.

The team official stated that Nagy misunderstood the question.

“If Andy is healthy, is he your starter?” Nagy was asked when pressed about the subject in the news conference.

Said Nagy: “That’s something that I’m not going to get into with scheme.”

Packers RB Aaron Jones honors late father with 4 TDs in rout of Lions | NFL.com

The Pro Bowler scored four touchdowns in the Packers’ 35-17 dismantling of the Lions, becoming the first RB in the franchise’s storied history to score three receiving touchdowns and a rushing touchdown in a single game, per NFL Research.

The end zone was a resting place for Jones’ father, as well. Jones said afterward that he wore a chain with a football pendant containing his father’s ashes, but it fell off after his second touchdown. The grounds crew had yet to retrieve it at the time Jones conducted postgame interviews.

“He’d be happy,” Jones said of his dad. “He’d be like, if you lose it any way, lose it in the end zone.”

It’s where Jones has made a living for the past two-plus years. Only Derrick Henry (38 TDs) has reached pay dirt more often than Jones (34) since the beginning of the 2019 season. His Week 2 outburst enabled Green Bay fans and Jones fantasy owners alike to R-E-L-A-X.

Indianapolis Colts QB Carson Wentz has two sprained ankles, Frank Reich says | ESPN

Wentz’s more severe sprain occurred on his right ankle when he tried to scramble and was taken to the ground by Rams defensive lineman Aaron Donald with less than eight minutes left in the game. Wentz didn’t return after limping to the sideline and then throwing his helmet in frustration. Wentz sprained his left ankle earlier in the game, according to Reich.

The coach said he still had to meet with the team medical staff to get a better indication about Wentz’s ankles.

“I know Carson has a high threshold for pain,” Reich said. “When you have guy who is a pocket passer, it affects his game less than a guy who is a mobile quarterback. That’s not rocket science. My history with Carson is that he’s a pretty fast healer and he’s tough. If there’s any chance he can play with these ankle sprains, he’ll play. It’s an incredibly big game.”

In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride

Andy Reid roundup: 4 takeaways from the Chiefs head coach

Reid explained why safety Daniel Sorensen is getting more time on the field than Juan Thornhill.

According to the Sunday Night Football gamebook, safety Juan Thornhill played the least of those defenders with snaps against the Ravens, coming in at 11 plays. Veteran safety Daniel Sorensen player 100% of defensive snaps, or 76 plays.

“Juan and Dan, they do certain things the same and a couple things different,” said Reid. “It all kind of equals out, and Dan really had the better camp and so on. Maybe a little bit more consistency there, but we love Juan and where he’s getting himself back to where he was his rookie year. I don’t want to take anything way from the effort that he’s put forward to do that. They all get a chance to play. I think we’ll take it step by step here and can’t have enough of those guys that can play.”

Some figured Thornhill might get the nod next to Tyrann Mathieu in his return to the lineup after Thornhill had an excellent second half against the Cleveland Browns. Not to be, at least on Sunday night.

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