Michael “Money” Badgley sure did live up to his nickname today. Had it not been for a mistake by the holder, Donnie Jones, Badgley, an undrafted rookie out of Miami, would have been five for five on field goals including a 53-yard bomb late in the first quarter. Accounting for the Chargers first 12 points, the young buck out-dueled veteran and All-Pro kicker, Justin Tucker.

However, Beyond the kicking game, the Chargers offense stalled at times in the first half and accounted for just 150 yards, Yet, their slow start was nothing compared to the Ravens offense. Finishing with just 55 total yards, the Lamar Jackson-led squad failed to advance to Chargers territory and forfeited two different possessions to turnovers. Had it not been for Baltimore’s airtight defense, this one could have gotten very ugly, very quick.

1st Half Score: Chargers- 12, Ravens- 0

As for the second half, the game seemed to offer more of the same. Second Team All-Pro returner, Desmond King opened the half with a 73-yard kick return to set the Chargers up in field goal range. Yet, the Chargers came away with no points. As I mentioned, holder Donnie Jones had some struggles with the snap and the field goal attempt was blocked. Then, following a defensive stop, Chargers’ tight end, Virgil Green, fumbled deep in their own territory, granting the Ravens their first points of the game. But with just one quarter left to play, Chargers’ running back, Melvin Gordon, found himself as the first of the game to reap the awards of his adventure to the end zone. Something Derek Watt probably should have felt plays before. The Ravens then found the end zone twice and attempted to make a spirited comeback, but it was too little too late.

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Final Score: Chargers- 23, Ravens- 17

My Preview Prediction: Chargers- 24, Ravens- 14

Key Storylines

  • Lamar Jackson looked uneasy and uncomfortable for most of the game. He took seven sacks and lost a combined 55 yards. Also, until the fourth quarter, Jackson had thrown for -2 passing yards, resulting in many fans pleading for a Joe Flacco return.
  • The Chargers defense was dominant. Utilizing an unorthodox formation in which safeties Jahleel Addae, Derwin James, and Adrian Philips lined up at linebacker and were causing havoc in the run game, being one of the main reasons Lamar was sacked seven times.
  • The performers of the day: Adrian Philips, Melvin Ingram, Michael Crabtree. Philips, an All-Pro special teams player, finished the game with five tackles, three passes defended, one interception, and one fumble recovery. Had it not been for him, two of the Chargers field goals likely would not have been possible. Ingram, a veteran defensive end, totaled seven tackles, two sacks, and one forced fumble. Instrumental in the halting of Jackson’s mobility, Ingram will likely continue to be a centerpiece of the Chargers defense as this playoff run continues. And Crabtree, a former NFC Champion, finished with only two receptions. However, both receptions were touchdowns and without them, the Ravens would have been embarrassed on their home field, in front of over 60,000 people

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