The Los Angeles Chargers start with the ball to open their final home game of 2018 against the Baltimore Ravens. The team is out in the all Navy uniforms, which just look fantastic, especially during a night game.
First play of offense Philip Rivers takes a shot down the sideline to Mike Williams, who is coming off his best game as a pro last Thursday, but Rivers slightly underthrows it and Mike Will cant win the jump ball. Ravens CB Brandon Carr come down with an interception. Not a great start, although, we saw how basically this same scenario played out last week.
Ravens take the field and go straight to their powerful running game with a 44 yard run up the middle from Gus Edwards to get down into the redzone. The Chargers defense however, as they have done time and time again this season, buckled down and stuffed the Ravens to force the FG. Great plays from Melvin Gordon to hit Lamar Jackson in the backfield for no gain on 2nd down and Michael Davis with a great PBU in the Endzone to deny the touchdown and force the FG on 3rd down.
Chargers take their second possession on their 25 yard line after a touchback. Melvin Gordon gets a carry and takes it for 5 yards. The next 2 plays Rivers had pretty good protection on back to back pass attempts, however the Ravens secondary had everything locked up and the Bolts cant get the 1st down. INT followed by a 3 and out is not how they needed to start this game.
Lamar Jackson quickly gets the Ravens into Chargers territory after the punt with a nice pass to his TE while Joey Bosa and Derwin James were closing in. Jackson then fumbled the ball attempting to keep it on a read option, and is quickly sacked for a 9 yard loss by Adrian Phillips. It’s Jackson’s 7th game in a row with a fumble. Uchenna Nwosu forces a FG attempt with a big time tackle for no gain on 3rd and long. Justin Tucker, who is normally automatic even from 50+ had a bad plant which caused him to pull the 53 yard attempt wiiide left.
The next Chargers possession did not go well. Rivers had back to back deep completions negated by penalties. The first was a deep pass to Keenan Allen and Allen was called for offensive PI with a push off, but on the replay the defender just fell, there was almost no contact. Awful call. Rivers comes right back with a deep throw and an AMAZING catch by Mike Williams, but it too was negated by a penalty on KA again for an illegal shift. This call was legitimate as KA hadn’t calmed down from the previous bad call and never set himself. Rivers is fired up now and I’m not sure it’s in a good way.
Lamar Jackson breaks out for his first big gain of the night to get the ball quickly back into Chargers territory again. Both big runs so far tonight have been on Jahleel Addae. He has been awful already tonight and the 1st quarter isn’t even over. He is taking bad angles, he is looking timid, and missing tackles. They need to think about putting Rayshawn Jenkins in there because Addae isn’t just not getting it done, he’s a liability.
Meanwhile it looks like the Pro-Bowl selection for Adrian Phillips has him fired up. He is playing out of his mind tonight. He has 2 TFL on Lamar already and is playing lights out.
End of the 1st, Ravens 3 - Chargers 0
Lamar Jackson is showing a ton of poise under pressure. The Chargers are generating consistent pressure with only 4 rushers and his guys keep finding ways to get open underneath. He drives the Ravens down inside the 10 again. Gus Bradley’s defense finds a way again to stop the Ravens at the goal line. The defense is able to force a 4th and 2 from the 2 yard line, the Ravens offense stays on the field and Lamar overthows Michael Crabtree, who was called for offensive PI anyway, Chargers ball on their own 2.
Rivers is able to get the Chargers off their own goal line and push out past the 30, however another 1st down is negated by a penalty, this time holding on Russel Okung. Another punt. Every player on offense looks frustrated and pissed. I hope they’re able to use that emotion positively and clean up these mistakes.
The Chargers defense is looking strong and hyped despite being on the field for over 80% of the 1st half so far. They are getting pressure and hitting Lamar, they are doing fairly well in the run game with one major exception. Jahleel Addae. They Chargers had forced 3rd and 12 at the 39, the Ravens hand the ball off again and once again it’s a big gain because Jahleel Addae does the wrong thing. He over pursued the runner and gave the TE the easiest block of his life to give the RB enough yardage for the 1st. Thankfully the rest of the defense is able to do their job again and force another FG attempt, this time good again for Justin Tucker. Ravens up 6-0.
The Chargers get the ball back with under 3 minutes left in the 1st half. Rivers and Co are able to drive down the field, aided in large part due to 2 15 yard penalties on back to back plays, both by Ravens Safety Tony Jefferson. The drive fizzled out at the Ravens 20 yard line and set up Michael Badgley for a 38 yard FG. 6-3 Ravens, 40 seconds left.
Ravens aren’t able to do much with the ball with 40 seconds and 1 time out. They get far enough for Justin Tucker to attempt a 65 yard FG, however he doesnt get enough of it and it falls short. Derwin James returns the short kick, however he isn’t able to score.
Halftime, Ravens 6 - Chargers 3
Ravens get the ball coming out of halftime and the Chargers defense comes up HUGE to force a fumble deep in Ravens territory and more importantly they are able to recover it!
The Chargers on a very short field ride Melvin Gordon into the end zone on a couple of carries. A game that was getting dominated by the Ravens is now suddenly a 10-6 Chargers lead. Here. We. Go.
And just like that the Ravens’ MVP today, Jahleel Addae, strikes again. Getting beat deep over the middle by a TE for a 68 yard TD pass. Ravens re-take the lead, 13-10.
Los Angeles is forced to punt yet again after another drive is stalled by a penalty. This offense can’t get out of it’s own way today. Just absolutely nothing working today.
Baltimore drives down the field, aided by a Michael Davis pass interference penalty. However they are able to continue bending without breaking and force a 56 yard FG attempt from Justin Tucker, which he nails, of course. 16-10 Ravens.
Someone please tell the Chargers that making things more difficult for themselves doesn’t make the win more impressive. Once again a penalty early in the drive set up a 3rd and long that wasn’t manageable. Another punt, and this one was bad from Donnie Jones barely passing the 50 and bouncing the wrong way.
The Chargers defense is doing everything they can to keep the Chargers in this game. They are able to lock down the Ravens offense and force a quick punt to get the ball back to Rivers and Co.
End of the 3rd Ravens 16 - Chargers 10
The 4th quarter seemingly went better for the Chargers. The offense started converting some 3rd downs, drove down the field fairly well, but they just couldn’t get it done at the end of these drives. The Ravens really dialed up the pass rush and Michael Schofield was getting beat, which was made worse by Melvin Gordon having problems picking guys up. Rivers was hit a lot.
The Chargers D was another story. The D dialed it up big time. With the offense not scoring any points, the defense forced 2 3 and outs in a row to give the ball back to rivers with 3:12 and 2 TO’s left.
Dezmond King returned the Ravens punt to the Ravens 39 yard line and put the Chargers in great position to go take the lead. 3:00 left.
Much like the rest of the game, the Chargers start this drive off with a penalty. Back to the 49 yard line. Awful.
Rivers throws it over the middle to Antonio Gates, Gates trying to extend the play for the 1st down gets the ball punched out for a fumble which the Ravens are able to take all the way back for a touchdown. Baltimore tries to go for 2 to make it a 14 point game, but the Chargers D continues to perform and shuts it down. 22 - 10 Ravens with about 2:30 left in the game. Chargers have 2 time outs.
Chargers drive into Ravens territory on passes to Keenan Allen. Things got shaky after they got past the 50. Rivers had 2 passes in a row that weren’t within 5 yards of receivers. The Chargers’ hopes of a comeback end on a 2nd Rivers INT. Rivers aired it out deep to Travis Benjamin who got out manned in the end zone for the ball. Thats basically the game.
Ravens get a 1st down on a big run and assume victory formation.
I really hope the Chargers are able to take this as a wake up call, because this game was bad on offense. The Defense looked great outside of Jahleel Addae who is a real achilles heel for this team right now. Special teams wasn’t bad. The Chargers had better hope that the Steelers can keep pace with the Ravens and take the division, because if the Chargers have to go to Baltimore they might wind up being 1 and done in the playoffs. This Ravens defense is something special.