The Baltimore Ravens were in must win mode Sunday night against the two-time defending AFC champion Kansas City Chiefs. A loss here would have sent Lamar Jackson and Co. to 0-2 on the season, impacting their playoff odds in a big way.
After Jackson threw two interceptions in the first quarter and with Kansas City’s offense rolling, it looked like Baltimore was going to put up another stinker on national television.
That’s when the quarterback stepped up big time. Coupled with a major mistake from a Chiefs youngster, this was enough for the Ravens to pull off a shocking 36-35 win. Here’s a look at seven winners and losers from the Baltimore Ravens’ thrilling victory over Kansas City.
Winner: Tyrann Mathieu, safety, Kansas City Chiefs
Making his season debut after missing last week due to a bout with COVID-19, Honey Badger more than came to play for the two-time defending AFC champions on Sunday night. That included two interceptions of Lamar Jackson in the first quarter alone.
In a game that the Chiefs pretty much fumbled away, Mathieu was a standout for their defense. His pick-six of Jackson in the opening stanza should have changed the momentum of the game. Regardless, Mathieu more than lived up to his reputation as a ball-hawk in this one. He’s now recorded 12 interceptions in 32 games as a member of the Chiefs. That’s just insane.
Loser: Clyde Edwards-Helaire, running back, Kansas City Chiefs
To say that this second-year back is going to be in Andy Reid’s doghouse would be an understatement. With the Chiefs looking to kick the game-winning field goal and entering that territory late in the fourth quarter, CEH fumbled the ball. It was a brutal play, one that cost Kansas City the game.
This comes on the heels of an inconsistent rookie season from the former first-round pick from LSU. One now has to wonder if Darrel Williams or Jerrick McKinnon will see more action moving forward. Reid is an old-school head coach. He’s not going to accept a back losing a fumble in such an important situation.
Winner: Odafe Oweh, edge, Baltimore Ravens
Some were surprised when Baltimore drafted this Penn State product in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft. After all, Oweh did not record a single sack in his final season with the Nittany Lions. With that said, defensive coordinator Don Martindale indicated recently that it was just a matter of time before Oweh’s athleticism led to sacks.
We saw that first-hand in the rookie debut last week with him recording a sack and two quarterback hits against the Las Vegas Raiders. Oweh was more than up to the task against the Chiefs Sunday night, recording a quarterback hit and a tackle for loss. However, it was the fumble he forced on Chiefs running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire which led directly to a Baltimore upset home win. Not only that, Oweh recovered the very same fumble he forced. Talk about a game-changer.
Loser: Frank Clark, edge, Kansas City Chiefs
Making his 2021 season debut after an off-season filled with drama and appearances on police reports, Clark was looking to make an impact for his Chiefs. Simply put, they need this Pro Bowl pass rusher to get to the quarterback on a consistent basis.
Sure it’s hard getting to Lamar Jackson for a sack. Even then, Clark didn’t really do anything of substance in this one. He recorded just one tackle for loss without a quarterback hit or a sack. This helped Jackson rebound from two early-game interceptions to come out on top in his battle with Patrick Mahomes.
Winner: Travis Kelce, tight end, Kansas City Chiefs
The Kansas City Chiefs knew that they needed to get something from Kelce with the Baltimore Ravens’ defense zeroing in on Tyreek Hill (more on him later). That’s when this six-time Pro Bowler and future Hall of Famer decided to step up.
With the Chiefs looking for a big play following a Ravens touchdown to make it a one-score game in the third quarter, Kelce put up one of the best touchdowns of the young season. It included him breaking multiple tackles and bullying his way into the end zone for a 46-yard score. While it wasn’t enough for the Chiefs to come out on top, Kelce was still able to catch 7-of-8 targets for 109 yards in a narrow loss. Dude still has it.
Loser: Tyreek Hill, wide receiver, Kansas City Chiefs
We know that the Ravens were focused on stopping Hill. It was their game plan heading into Sunday night’s game. In no way does this mean Week 2 was the best time for the game-breaking wide receiver to put up one of the worst performances of his career.
Hill caught all of three passes for 14 yards while being targeted four times. He added 15 yards on one rush attempt. That’s a clear indication Hill wasn’t a huge part of Kansas City’s offense in what was a narrow loss. It also comes after the All-Pro pass-catcher put up nearly 200 total yards and two touchdowns in the season opener.
Winner: Lamar Jackson, quarterback, Baltimore Ravens
Talk about willing your team to victory. After an ugly late-game performance against the Raiders last week, Lamar Jackson and the Ravens were in must-win mode against the Chiefs. A loss here, and they would’ve fallen to 0-2. Only 30 teams since 1990 have earned a spot in the playoffs after starting 0-2.
Jackson started Sunday night’s game by throwing two first-quarter interceptions. It wasn’t looking good. Somehow, he was able to outplay Mahomes throughout the remainder of the game — tallying 346 total yards and three touchdowns. That included leading Baltimore on three touchdown-scoring drives in its final four possessions. Talk about coming up big.