Baltimore Ravens

Instant analysis from Ravens’ 23-20 loss to Buffalo Bills

Here’s what the Baltimore Sun sports staff had to say immediately after the Ravens’ 23-20 loss to the Buffalo Bills in Sunday’s Week 4 game at M&T Bank Stadium:

Jonas Shaffer, reporter: The Ravens had every opportunity in the first half to put this game away. They couldn’t. Against a Bills team with superior talent — and, on Sunday, a superior quarterback — that was always going to court disaster. Now they’ll have to put the ugliness of the second half behind them as they prepare for a hugely important game against the Bengals. Yes, it’s at home, but that hasn’t mattered much lately.


Childs Walker, reporter: John Harbaugh is going to face a lot of second guessing after he went for it on fourth-and-goal instead of asking Justin Tucker to kick an easy field goal to put the Ravens up 23-20 deep in the fourth quarter. But Harbaugh had reason to believe his defense would struggle to keep Buffalo from scoring again, and Lamar Jackson overlooked an open Devin Duvernay on the fourth-down play. It was close to a 50-50 call, and Harbaugh went aggressive, which is his wont.

This will go down as another agonizing home loss for a team that could be 4-0. The Ravens set themselves up for a fall in the second quarter when they failed to finish a drive in the end zone after Odafe Oweh’s forced fumble gave them a short field and when Patrick Queen dropped a potential interception that would have kept Buffalo off the scoreboard in the two-minute drill. They blew another chance in the third quarter when wide receiver Rashod Bateman dropped a third-down pass that would have extended a crucial drive. Bateman did not play the rest of the way.


Give the Bills credit as well. Josh Allen is every bit as difficult to bottle up as Jackson, and they’re never out of a game for that reason.

Mike Preston, columnist: This loss is on John Harbaugh. When you have the best kicker in the history of the NFL, please let him win the game. I don’t want to hear about analytics, philosophies or anything else. Just kick the damn field goal and put pressure on the other team’s offense to win the game. End of conversation.

Ryan McFadden, reporter: The Ravens started fast, with the offense driving down the field and the defense creating two turnovers. But the Bills settled in, especially on defense, as they held the Ravens to 41 total yards in the third quarter while outscoring them 10-0. Even though the Ravens once again blew a double-digit lead at home, the questionable roughing the passer call on Brandon Stephens during the final minutes of the game really sucked the life out of M&T Bank Stadium.

C.J. Doon, editor: The margins are thin in the NFL. Had Bills safety Jordan Poyer been called for pass interference on third-and-5 with two minutes left in the first half, would the Ravens be celebrating a convincing win over perhaps the NFL’s best team? Instead, no flag was thrown, and Josh Allen led a touchdown drive in the final minutes that cut Baltimore’s lead to 20-10 at halftime. The Ravens would not score another point, as the Bills came all the way back for a stunning win. Another second-half collapse by Baltimore and a curious decision to go for it on fourth-and-goal with 4:15 left raises uncomfortable questions for coach John Harbaugh.

Tim Schwartz, editor: Four games is enough of a sample size to know what a team’s DNA is, and the Ravens are exactly who we thought they were. They create turnovers. They have Lamar Jackson doing things only he can do, even without a true No. 1 wide receiver. And they are perfecting the art of the second-half collapse.

Coach John Harbaugh likely won’t outwardly say he regrets going for it on fourth-and-goal at the 2-yard line late in the game with the game tied at 20, but you know he’s gotta be kicking himself. It was a bad decision. That’s Josh Allen on the other side! The roughing the passer penalty on the Bills’ ensuing drive to set up the game-winning field goal was questionable at best, but Allen had been complaining about some late-ish hits all game. He was bound to get one called his way.

The Ravens are 2-2 and have let two huge leads slip away in both losses. There’s solace in the fact they are leading the NFL’s best teams, but this ain’t Cleveland. You play to win the game, and they’re not getting it done.