If we've learned one thing about the Ravens this season, it's that you should never turn off any game they're playing in because there's a good chance they're going to blow a big lead.
For the second time in three weeks, the Ravens looked to have a win wrapped up, and for the second time in three weeks, they let that win slip away. In Week 2, the Ravens blew a 21-point lead in the fourth quarter against the Dolphins. This time around, the Ravens blew a 17-point lead in a wild 23-20 loss to the Bills.
It's hard to say which loss stings more, but it might be the latest one because of how it went down. With 4:16 left to play, the Ravens were facing a fourth-and-goal at Buffalo's 2-yard line, and at that point, they had a chance to attempt a field goal. However, John Harbaugh decided to go for the touchdown and the decision ended up backfiring in a big way: Lamar Jackson threw an interception.
The Ravens go for it on 4th and Goal... Poyer picks it!!— NFL (@NFL) October 2, 2022
📺: #BUFvsBAL on CBS
📱: Stream on NFL+ https://t.co/cByfmcze7G pic.twitter.com/iNoCsDgF8G
It was an interesting play call considering the Ravens offense had struggled for most of the second half. Also, the Ravens had failed to score on the one-yard line and the four-yard line on the two plays prior to their fourth-down attempt.
Overall, the Ravens offense pulled a disappearing act over the final two-and-a-half quarters. After taking a 20-3 lead with 3:39 left in the second quarter, Baltimore wouldn't score again.
If Harbaugh had chosen to kick the field goal, then the Ravens would have held a 23-20 lead with roughly four minutes left and although that doesn't guarantee that Baltimore would have won, you feel a lot better about your chances of winning if you have the lead with under four minutes left to play.
"I felt like it gave us the best chance to win the game," Harbaugh said following the game about his decision to go for it. "I was very confident in our defense's ability to stop them down there with the ball at the 2-yard line, so we have them backed up if we don't get it."
Unlike the loss to the Dolphins, there was definitely some visible frustration from the Ravens late in this game. Things got so bad that Marcus Peters actually went after Harbaugh to exchange words with him.
Marcus Peters and HC John Harbaugh exchanged some words on the sideline before Buffalo's game-winning FG. CBS showed a small part of it.pic.twitter.com/FgDLvvPSk3— Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) October 2, 2022
It's easy to understand why the Ravens were frustrated: Their offense fell apart in the second half and their defense couldn't stop the Bills over the game's final two quarters.
Over the course of their franchise history, the Ravens are now 101-5 in any game where they've led by at least 17 points. The ugly part is that two of those five losses have come over the past three weeks.
Alright, let's get to the grades for every game from Week 4. If you're looking for a deeper dive on Cincinnati's 27-15 win over Miami that was played on Thursday, be sure to click here.
Buffalo 23-20 over Baltimore
|Hopefully the Bills wrote down whatever Sean McDermott said to the team at halftime, because whatever it was, it worked. The Bills were able to pull off the stunning comeback because they dominated every phase of the game in the second half. With Ravens shutting down the pass, Josh Allen was more than happy to keep plays alive by running the ball during a second half where he finished with 53 yards on the ground (He had 70 in the game). Allen also threw for 108 yards in the second half, including a 20-yarder to Dawson Knox that helped set up Tyler Bass' eventual game-winning field goal. The only thing more impressive than the Bills offense in the second half was their defense. Jordan Poyer picked off Lamar Jackson in the end zone on a fourth-down play late in the game, which was one of two picks for Buffalo in the second half. The Bills also limited the Ravens to just 127 yards of offense over the final two quarters.|
|The Ravens are going to be asking themselves a lot of questions after this loss. After dominating for most of the first half, the Ravens looked like they forgot how to play football. Offensively, they couldn't move the ball in the second half (They totaled just 127 yards) and it definitely didn't help that Lamar Jackson threw two interceptions. On the defensive side of the ball, things weren't much better for the Ravens in the second half as they surrendered nearly 200 yards of offense to the Bills. This is the type of loss that's going to sting for a while because the Ravens know they were good enough to win.|
Bills-Ravens grades by John Breech (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
Minnesota 28-25 over New Orleans in London
|The Vikings definitely weren't perfect in London -- they struggled in the red zone, Kirk Cousins threw an interception, there was a missed extra point and even a few dropped passes -- but in the end, they came up with big plays on both sides of the ball whenever they need them. One of the biggest came from Kirk Cousins, who hit Justin Jefferson with a 39-yard pass to help set up Greg Joseph's go-ahead field goal in the fourth quarter. The Saints simply had no answers for Jefferson, who caught 10 passes for 147 yards. The Vikings also forced two turnovers -- one on defense and one on special teams -- and they were able to convert that into six points, which ended up making a huge difference in a game that went down to the wire. The Vikings also might want to send a thank you note to the right upright at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium for knocking down Wil Lutz's field-goal attempt on the final play of the game.|
|The Saints didn't have Michael Thomas or Alvin Kamara and they were down to their backup QB, but despite those issues, they still almost walked out of London with an upset win. Although the offense got off to a slow start with Andy Dalton, the "Red Rifle" responded by throwing for 183 yards in the second half in a game where he threw for 236. The Saints played well enough to win, but they were killed by two fumbles. One came from Dalton at the end of the first half and one came by Deonte Harty on a punt return in the third quarter. The Vikings ended up getting six points (two field goals) off those turnovers. Despite the mistakes, Wil Lutz almost saved the day. After hitting a 60-yard field goal with 1:51 left, Lutz missed a 61-yarder by inches on the final play of the game.|
Vikings-Saints grades by John Breech (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
Atlanta 23-20 over Cleveland
|Browns coach Kevin Stefanski is probably going to be second-guessing himself after making several questionable decisions in this game. The first one came on the Browns' opening possession when he decided to go for it on fourth-and-goal from Atlanta's four-yard line. The Browns got stopped and came away with zero points. The Browns also made the inexplicable decision to throw the ball eight times over nine plays on their final offensive possession. The passes came even though the Browns had Nick Chubb, who averaged 6.02 yards per carry against a Falcons defense that couldn't slow him down. This is a game the Browns could have won if they could have gotten out of their own way.|
|The Falcons offense isn't flashy, but it definitely produces. For the second straight week, the Falcons won a game by steamrolling their opponent on the ground. The Browns simply had no answers for a Falcons running attack that totaled 202 yards and two touchdowns (The Falcons had four running backs who finished with at least 20 yards). Marcus Mariota wasn't asked to throw often, but when he did, he came through. Mariota only completed seven passes, but all seven went for at least 10 yards on a day where he averaged 19.9 yards per completion. Defensively, the Falcons came up with two big turnovers, including a fumble recovery in the first quarter that set up Atlanta's first touchdown. In an NFC South that's not exactly strong this year, the Falcons could surprise some people by staying in the division race for most of the season.|
Browns-Falcons grades by John Breech (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
Dallas 25-10 over Washington
|When your starting quarterback gets outplayed by the other team's backup quarterback, you're probably going to lose and that's exactly what happened to the Commanders. Although Carson Wentz made a few good throws, he mostly struggled in this game. Wentz was erratic and he never seemed to get into any rhythm, which might have had to do with the pressure he was facing on nearly every play from the Cowboys. If your offense can't score points, it's almost impossible to win in the NFL, and the Commanders simply couldn't figure out how to move the ball on the Cowboys' defense.|
|Since Dak Prescott went out, the Cowboys' formula for winning games has been pretty simple: Play great defense and don't make any ugly mistakes on offense. They used the formula once again on Sunday and it worked to perfection. The defense did its job by forcing two turnovers and sacking Carson Wentz two times. Offensively, Cooper Rush wasn't great, but he got the job done. Rush only completed 15 of 27 passes, but two of those went for touchdowns, including a 30-yard score to CeeDee Lamb on the first play of the fourth quarter that basically iced the game. Rush is now 4-0 in his career as a starter and it's starting to feel like he's never going to lose.|
Commanders-Cowboys grades by John Breech (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
Seattle 48-45 over Detroit
|If Sunday was your first time watching Geno Smith, you might have turned off the game thinking he was the best quarterback in the NFL. The Seahawks QB was nearly perfect in the first half against the Lions (he went 12 for 14 for 170 yards and two touchdowns), and he was almost as good in the second half (He threw for 160 more yards). Not only was Smith cooking, but so was Rashaad Penny, who rushed for 151 yards and two touchdowns on just 17 carries. Although the Seahawks defense surrendered 45 points, the offense was so good that it didn't matter. Also, the defense actually chipped in on the scoring with a pick-six by Tariq Woolen in the second half. The Seahawks are starting to look like a pesky team that might be able to make some noise in the NFC West.|
|If you can't force the other team to punt, you usually don't win in the NFL and the Lions didn't force a single punt on Sunday. The Lions defense simply had no answers for a Seahawks team that piled up 555 yards of offense. The yardage total was the second-most the Lions have given up in a game over the past 25 years. Offensively, the Lions did put up 45 points, but they also made way too many mistakes, including a Jared Goff pick-six on the first play of the second half that gave Seattle a 31-15 lead.|
Seahawks-Lions grades by John Breech (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
Tennessee 24-17 over Indianapolis
|The Titans jumped out to a 24-3 lead whiling playing a nearly perfect first half and then they hung on for dear life after that. Tennessee's nearly flawless first half included 99 rushing yards and a touchdown from Derrick Henry plus 103 passing yards and two touchdowns from Ryan Tannehill. The Titans scored on each of their first four possessions during a first half where they were able to move the ball at will. The Titans almost blew this win in the second half, but the defense came up with several big plays. The Colts drove inside of Tennessee's 25-yard line on each of their final two drives, but they came away with zero points, thanks to a Titans defense that buckled down. The Titans were overlooked in the AFC South to start the season, but they might now be the front-runner in the division.|
|If you like watching NFL teams shoot themselves in the foot, then you're going to want to watch the Colts this season, because they seem to do it every week. Matt Ryan turned the ball over twice in the first half -- with a fumble and an interception -- and the worst part for Indy is that the Titans were able to get 14 points off those turnovers. By the time the Colts were able to get anything going offensively, they were already trailing 24-3. Basically, they dug a first-half hole that was so deep, there was no way of getting out of it. To add insult to injury, the Colts actually turned this into a game in the second half, but then they shot themselves in the foot again with a lost fumble by Jonathan Taylor on a fourth-quarter drive that reached Tennessee's 24-yard line. It was an ugly loss for a team that keeps making ugly mistakes.|
Titans-Colts grades by John Breech (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
L.A. Chargers 34-24 over Houston
|The Chargers almost let a 21-0 lead melt away in this game, but Justin Herbert and Austin Ekeler made sure that didn't happen. Ekeler totaled three touchdowns against the Texans, including a 14-yard catch with just 2:28 left to play that basically iced the win by giving Los Angeles a 34-24 lead. With so many players banged up for the Chargers, they needed their stars to make plays and that's what happened in this game. Herbert threw for 340 yards and two touchdowns while Ekeler totaled 109 yards and three touchdowns. The defense wasn't great for L.A., but it did come up with two interceptions that were instrumental in the win.|
|The Texans tripped over their own feet coming out of the gate to start the game with an interception, a punt and a missed field goal on their first three possessions. The Texans' firs- half mistakes allowed the Chargers to quickly build a 21-0 lead that Houston wasn't able to recover from. One bright spot for the Texans was rookie running back Dameon Pierce, who rushed for 131 yards and a TD on just 14 carries.|
Chargers-Texans grades by John Breech (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
N.Y. Giants 20-12 over Chicago
|Justin Fields reached a season-high in passing yards with his first six passing attempts, and Darnell Mooney reappeared with four catches for 94 yards. Still, this Bears team has too many problems. They didn't score a touchdown all game, and went 0-3 in the red zone. The play-calling was very questionable and the defense was slow to make adjustments. Chicago had several chances to orchestrate a game-winning or game-tying drive in the second half, but mustered just three points in the final two quarters.|
|Saquon Barkley continued to build on his impressive 2022 campaign, as he rushed 31 times for 146 yards. He is a huge reason why the Giants are sitting at 3-1. Daniel Jones passed for just 71 yards, but he rushed for 68 yards and scored the only two touchdowns of the game with his legs. It's interesting, because the Giants had to go wildcat in the second half after Jones suffered an ankle injury and Tyrod Taylor was knocked out with a concussion. Even with Barkley at quarterback, I felt more confident in the Giants' offense than the Bears' offense.|
Bears-Giants grades by Jordan Dajani (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
N.Y. Jets 24-20 over Pittsburgh
|The Jets came up with the big plays when they needed them most, including in the game's final moments. Michael Carter had a momentum-changing interception in the fourth quarter that came after Kenny Pickett hit George Pickens for a 26-yard gain that put the ball on the Jets' 31-yard line. New York capitalized on the pick after Wilson made several clutch throws to set up Breece Hall's game-winning score. The Jets received a solid game from Wilson, who threw for 252 yards and a TD in his regular-season debut.|
|Turnovers plagued the Steelers, who threw four interceptions with three of those coming from Kenny Pickett, though he did initially give the team a spark after entering the game in the second half. Pickett's second interception set up the Jets' game-winning score with under a minute left. While they were good for most of the game, the Steelers' defense gave up two touchdowns in the fourth quarter. They also recorded just one sack of Zach Wilson despite putting consistent pressure on the Jets' second-year quarter.|
Jets-Steelers grades by Bryan DeArdo (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
Philadelphia 29-21 over Jacksonville
|The five giveaways didn't help Jacksonville, especially since they failed to take care of the football on an afternoon where that was necessary. Trevor Lawrence had four of those fumbles -- losing all of them -- and an interception to stagnate a Jaguars offense that had just 219 yards. Jacksonville also allowed 210 rushing yards after holding opponents to just 55 a game coming into this one. Still, the Jaguars did jump out to a 14-0 lead on the road and lost by eight in a game that got away from them in the second quarter. If the turnovers were cut in half, the Jaguars may have had the upset of the weekend. |
|This win wasn't perfect by any circumstances, but given the heavy rain and wind, the Eagles offense managed to do an admirable job. Philadelphia rushed for 210 yards against a Jaguars run defense that allowed just 55 yards a game with Miles Sanders earning a career-high 132 on the ground. Sanders ran angry in the heavy rain, showcasing how evolved he's becoming as a running back in a contract year. The defense also managed to get five takeaways, including four fumbles that led to three touchdowns and the final one sealing the deal. Philadelphia didn't have a pretty win, but the Eagles are 4-0 at the end of the day. |
Jaguars-Eagles grades by Jeff Kerr (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
Arizona 26-16 over Carolina
|When the Cardinals are winning games, it's usually because of Kyler Murray, but on Sunday, Arizona's defense did most of the dirty work. The Cardinals defense absolutely overpowered the Panthers and made a statement on Carolina's first possession by stopping Christian McCaffrey cold on a fourth-and-1 play. The Cardinals defense also forced three turnovers while sacking Baker Mayfield twice. As for Murray, he helped turn a tight game into a blowout with three second-half touchdowns -- two passing, one rushing. The Cards were able to overcome several big mistakes including a Murray pick-six and an 0-for-2 showing on fourth down.|
|Fans in Carolina were booing the Panthers offense in this game and most of those boos were likely directed at Mayfield. Not only did Mayfield lose a fumble in the game, but he also threw two interceptions and those three turnovers led to 10 points for Arizona. Mayfield also had an issue with his passes being batted down at the line of scrimmage (A total of four passes got knocked down). The Panthers offense has been struggling all year and it doesn't look like it has fixed very many of its problems over the past four weeks.|
Cardinals-Panthers grades by John Breech (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
Las Vegas 32-23 over Denver
|The Denver defensive line did alright getting pressure on Derek Carr on a few occasions and Russell Wilson threw a few nice passes, but this was an all-around bad game. Denver got dominated up front, turned it over, took more penalties, and potentially lost two important players (Javonte Williams and Randy Gregory) to injuries. Overall, not a great day for the Broncos. |
|This was a very good performance on both sides of the ball for Vegas, which got its first win of the season as a result. Maxx Crosby and Josh Jacobs were the big stars, though Davante Adam's stepped up as well and Amik Robertson came through with a big scoop-and-score on a fumble. Avoiding a potential 0-4 start here was huge. It was also huge for Josh McDaniels, who got his first NFL coaching win since November 2010. |
Broncos-Raiders grades by Jared Dubin (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
Green Bay 27-24 over New England in OT
|We're grading on a curve here a bit with the Patriots considering what their quarterback situation was in this game. After Brian Hoyer went down with a head injury, rookie Bailey Zappe was thrust into action and played well. He wasn't asked to do too much, but kept New England competitive. The Patriots defense stepped up and kept Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense in check in the first half and even saw rookie corner Jack Jones record a pick-six. That said, there were some head-scratching moments for Bill Belichick's team, particularly on the final drive of the game where New England defensive backs were playing off coverage, which Rodgers picked apart.|
|It was a bit of a weird game for Rodgers and the Packers. The quarterback completed just four passes in the first half for 44 yards plus an interception, and because of that, Green Bay found itself trailing a third-string quarterback by a field goal at the break. Over the final two quarters, however, the offense started to find its rhythm, Rodgers threw for two touchdowns and he eventually led the offense to a game-winning drive in overtime. Aaron Jones was a key cog in the running game, notching 110 yards on just 16 carries while wideout Allen Lazard continues to emerge as Rodgers' go-to pass-catcher, finishing with a team-high 116 yards. It wasn't an overall great performance by the Packers, but it does seem like they are starting to click on offense. Of course, props to veteran Mason Crosby for booting the chip-shot game-winner.|
Patriots-Packers grades by Tyler Sullivan (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
Kansas City 41-31 over Tampa Bay
|When Patrick Mahomes is at the top of his game, the Chiefs are nearly impossible to beat, and Mahomes was definitely at the top of his game on Sunday night. At times, it almost looked like Mahomes was toying with the Buccaneers on a night where he threw for 249 yards and three touchdowns. Mahomes was nearly perfect when targeting Travis Kelce, who caught nine passes for 92 yards and a TD. The Chiefs offense also got some help from a rushing attack that doesn't always produce. The Chiefs offense seems to be getting better every week, which should scare every other team in the NFL,|
|This game started off with the Buccaneers fumbling away the opening kickoff and then things only got uglier from there. Thanks to the fumble, the Buccaneers fell behind quickly and were forced to play catch up the rest of the night. Defensively, the Buccaneers got absolutely carved up by a Chiefs offense that only punted one time in the game. Offensively, the Buccaneers just didn't have the firepower to keep up with Kansas City despite having Chris Godwin and Mike Evans back in the lineup. The loss capped a long week for the Buccaneers, who were forced to evacuate Tampa Bay due to Hurricane Ian.|
Chiefs-Buccaneers grades by John Breech (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
San Francisco 24-9 over L.A. Rams
|The Rams have had a problem protecting Matthew Stafford this season, and that problem was on prominent display against the 49ers. Every time Stafford dropped back to pass, he seemed to have multiple 49ers defenders in his face on a night where he was sacked seven times. The Rams' other offensive problem is that they couldn't score in the red zone. The Rams came away with zero touchdowns in this game despite getting inside the 49ers' 10-yard line on two different drives. Basically, the Rams offense looked broken Monday night, and they now have just six days to fix it before their next game. |
|The 49ers had a lot of offensive problems through the first three weeks, but if Monday was any indication, they've appeared to solve most of them. The 49ers got back to their bread-and-butter, which is getting the ball to Deebo Samuel. The Rams couldn't figure out how to stop the 49ers receiver, who finished with six catches for 115 yards, including a 57-yard TD. The good news for the 49ers is that Jimmy Garoppolo and Kyle Shanahan finally look like they're on the same page. Defensively, the 49ers caused plenty of problems for Matthew Stafford. Not only did they sack him five times, but Talanoa Hufanga also came away with a fourth quarter pick-six that iced the win. |
Rams-49ers grades by John Breech (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)