The Baltimore Ravens held a seven-point lead with the ball in the fourth quarter before disaster struck. Lamar Jackson got knocked on his head, fumbling the ball and setting up the Las Vegas Raiders' at-the-time game-tying score.
The play turned a game the Ravens mostly controlled on its head, setting up a wild finish that would go to overtime. Another fumble on Baltimore's final possession of overtime led to a rousing 33-27 Las Vegas victory.
"That ticked me off," Jackson said of his fumbles, via the Baltimore Sun. "I hate any type of turnovers ... it happens in football."
Jackson still had moments of electricity, taking off and making something out of nothing, en route to 235 yards passing with a touchdown and 86 rushing yards on 12 carries. Still, at times -- like trying to switch hands with the pigskin in mid-air while being hit -- he seemed to try to do too much, as though all the Ravens' running back injuries have him believing it's on his legs to make plays.
Credit the Raiders' defensive line for a masterful game. Maxx Crosby (two sacks, five QB hits, six tackles) looks like a breakout candidate. Yannick Ngakoue was in for revenge before getting hurt (hamstring). Carl Nassib (sack) caused havoc. Johnathan Hankins, Quinton Jefferson and Darius Philon also ate up the middle keeping Jackson's lanes to a minimum.
The Ravens appear in the middle of an offensive transition (particularly after all the injuries suffered to their top three RBs), in which Jackson is less of a runner and more of a passer. With little preseason reps, it's understandable that any transition might be more difficult. At times Jackson looked like he wasn't sure if he should take off and run or continue with his progression. Those growing pains are to be expected, especially when he was getting swallowed up by pressure.
"If you're a quarterback, you're trying to go through your progressions, and guys [are] in your face, they're trying to get them a sack, it's going to be like that," Jackson said. "Sometimes you can't go through your reads. You've got to make something happen."
Jackson made some special plays, like the 28-yard scamper to set up a go-ahead field goal in the fourth quarter, or the bomb to Sammy Watkins on the previous drive. But there were still wobbly moments behind an offensive line that struggled to protect.
Luckily for Baltimore, the MNF loss on the road is just one of 17 games. So there is plenty of time to fix the issues on both sides of the ball that plagued them Monday. Unfortunately, next week's game offers no reprieve: Back-to-back AFC Champion Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday Night Football in Baltimore.
"We have to prepare for a great team, Sunday night in the bank," Jackson said. "We've got to make something happen."