Week 12 SNF Recap

Written by: William Petersen

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To wrap up a holiday weekend full of good company, food, and football games, week 12’s  Sunday Night Football matchup pitted the Baltimore Ravens against the Los Angeles Chargers for an interdivisional bout between two star young quarterbacks. The Ravens came into SoFi Field tied with the defending Super Bowl Champions the Kansas City Chiefs for the best record in the AFC at 8-3. The Ravens will now sit atop the AFC alone after grinding out a gritty 20-10 win in primetime. Lamar Jackson continues his MVP season after finding a way to win a low scoring affair finishing; 18/32 for 177 yards, a throwing touchdown, and 11 rushes for 37 yards. Jackson did not have to take over the game with his legs like in games past this season and after losing J.K. Dobbins in week 1 many people wondered how reliable the Ravens backfield would be for them down the stretch. This running attack by committee is working wonders for John Harbaugh’s offense after rushing for almost 200 yards tonight on the ground with five different rushers. Undrafted Free Agent Keaton Mitchell led the Baltimore backfield with 9 carries for 64 yards while Gus Edwards finally failed to get into the endzone, ending his five game streak and finishing the game with 8 carries for 26 yards and 1 receptions for 11 yards. Baltimore’s multifaceted rushing attack was capped off by a 37 yard touchdown rush from rookie wideout Zay Flowers to ice the Chargers’ and Brandon Staley’s chances of being their head coach come the end of the season.

Zay Flowers will be the talk of the crab shacks in Baltimore Monday morning after recording his first career multi-touchdown game. The Boston College rookie recorded 5 receptions for 25 yards as well as the one rush for 37 yards and the game deciding touchdown. Ravens fans will adamantly express that they knew Flowers would be a star after word was spread about his production in training camp, but I loved seeing John Harbaugh get crafty in a crucial late game situation with a guy that you used the 22nd overall pick on in the 2023 Draft. Harbaugh has always been a players coach and after the season that this team has been putting together, it is hard to argue that this Ravens squad is a serious Super Bowl Contender. The Ravens are now 9-3, 5-1 on the road, and have only put up less than 20 points once this season so far. Lamar Jackson continues to be a frontrunner for the MVP accumulating a stat line of; 228/334, a 65% completion rate with 13 passing touchdowns, 3 interceptions, and 574 rushing yards with 5 rushing touchdowns. Jackson also had a record setting night eclipsing the 5,000 yard rushing milestone in the shortest amount of games in 82. The Ravens now look to a bye next week then will return to M&T Bank Stadium for a showdown with a Los Angeles Rams squad that is trying to salvage a wildcard season. Look for the Ravens to roll in and beat up Matt Stafford and an inconsistent Rams team quite handily.

The Chargers season continues to be one of major disappointment after losing another primetime game in ugly fashion. LA now sits at 4-7 at the bottom of the AFC West and should see major front office and coaching changes within the next few weeks after head coach Brandon Staley has failed to produce wins for this franchise. After blowing a 20 point halftime lead in the AFC Wildcard last season, Staley’s shortcomings have only accumulated and the stinting of Justin Herbert’s growth is becoming even more apparent. Herbert finished the game 29/44 for 177 yards passing, a touchdown, and an interception. Herbert tried to will his team to a victory but the Chargers lack of a run game, rushing for a total of 86 yards as a team, forced Herbert to throw the ball over 40 times against a solid Ravens secondary. The one brightside for the Chargers is veteran wideout Keenan Allen continues to have a career season after hauling in 14 catches for 106 yards. Allen now has 97 catches for 1,175 yards and 7 touchdowns in 2023 averaging 11.5 yards per catch. Unfortunately this stellar effort might be too little too late for the Chargers as a whole given their chances to make the playoffs are slim to none. LA could have a “get right” game next week as they travel to the 2-9 New England Patriots who are having an equal if not worse season as the Chargers. I expect Herbert to have a solid bounce back game and the Chargers to win, but you never know with Bill Belichick and that Patriots defense.