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‘They got loud’: Bills fans changed the Ravens offense’s plans in a playoff loss

At some point Saturday night, it got so loud in Bills Stadium that the Ravens had to change plans. There were only 6,772 people braving the cold for an AFC divisional-round game, but enough of them were Buffalo Bills fans at full throat that it was hard for Patrick Mekari to hear.

The Ravens had started the game with a normal snap count. How loud could a stadium at less than 10% capacity get, really? But when their offense got to the line of scrimmage, quarterback Lamar Jackson’s cadence was difficult to make out, Mekari said. Midway through the second quarter, with the Ravens backed up near their own goal line, the team was called for two straight false-start penalties.

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“To the Bills fans’ credit, they got loud at times,” Mekari said. So the Ravens moved to a silent count, a presnap operation that relies on nonverbal cues to put the ball in play.

Mekari called it a “little bit of an adjustment.” The snapping mechanics with a silent count, he said, are different from those with a normal cadence, and the second-year center struggled. He had several errant snaps throughout the 17-3 loss, none more significant than the last of the third quarter.

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With the Ravens trailing 17-3 and starting over at their own 25-yard line, Mekari sent a pistol snap high and to the right of Jackson. Jackson picked up the bouncing ball inside his 10, threw the ball away and absorbed a crunching hit from defensive end Trent Murphy. Jackson left the game and was later diagnosed with a concussion. He did not return.

“That’s just something that I have to practice more during the week and get more of a feel for it,” Mekari said of the silent-count snaps. “I take full responsibility for that, of course. There’s no one else at fault, and I will be better at that.”

Left guard Bradley Bozeman said he couldn’t “couldn’t hear, really, anything” Saturday night.

“It was as loud as max capacity, in my opinion,” Bozeman said. “The Bills Mafia, I guess they came together and they cheered their butts off last night, and it was hard to hear. But we just have to do a better job preparing and going into those situations and having the tools necessary that we need to do to get the job done.”

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