Lamar Jackson, Ravens can't handle pressure in shocking loss to Dolphins

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Quarterback Lamar Jackson had the worst regular-season game of his four-year career because the Baltimore Ravens couldn’t handle the pressure.

In a 22-10 upset loss to the Miami Dolphins, Jackson faced 24 defensive back blitzes -- the most any defense has sent at him and the most DB blitzes any quarterback has faced since 2015. This was the fewest points Baltimore has scored in Jackson’s 46-game career (previous low was 17 points), and it came against a two-win Dolphins team that had the NFL’s 30th-ranked defense.

Jackson had carried the injury-filled Ravens for most of the season, but he couldn’t perform his usual late-game magic because he repeatedly faced unblocked Dolphins blitzing. He was sacked four times and was limited to 277 total yards (238 passing and 39 rushing).

On one fourth quarter pass, the Dolphins blitzed four defensive backs, the most on a single blitz all season. Jackson slamming the ball in frustration became a familiar sight as drive after drive ended in a punt.

"We got to do a better job,” Jackson said after the game. "We got to do a better job fixing that and getting that handled.”

At one point, a frustrated Jackson could be seen yelling on the sidelines.

“I was hot. We weren’t scoring no points," he added. "Our defense played a great game. I feel our defense played lights out. We just weren’t getting it done on offense. That’s why I was mad. If you were on offense, you’d be mad, too."

The Ravens (6-3) now lead the AFC North by a half-game, and the pressure is really on Baltimore. After next Sunday’s game at the Chicago Bears, the Ravens’ last seven games are against teams who currently have winning records.

With the Ravens entering as 8.5-point favorites, this marked the biggest upset loss with Jackson at quarterback.

"Bottom line, this falls squarely on me as a head coach," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said of the loss. "We were not prepared the way we needed to be prepared. Our schemes were not up to snuff. We weren’t prepared to execute the way we needed to."

Describe the game in two words: Absolute stunner. The Ravens faced a Dolphins team they had beaten by an average of 40.3 points over their last three meetings. Miami also came in ranked 30th in offense and 30th on defense.

Pivotal play: Early in the fourth quarter, wide receiver Sammy Watkins had the ball stripped and Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard returned the fumble 49 yards for a touchdown. This was a brutal first game back for Watkins, who missed the past three with a hamstring injury. The Ravens’ turnovers (12 this season) finally caught up to them.

Troubling trend: Slow starts. The Ravens outgained the Dolphins, 93-11, in the first quarter and they only had a field goal to show for it. That’s been an ongoing problem for Baltimore, which has scored one first-quarter touchdown in its last seven games. Earlier this week, Jackson said he “had no clue” why the Ravens are starting so slow. Baltimore obviously found no answers in Miami.

Biggest hole in the game plan: Too conservative on offense. The Ravens seemed content on going with short passes -- wide receiver screens were the play selection of choice -- on third and long. Then, when faced with second-and-17 in the third quarter, Baltimore handed the ball off to Le'Veon Bell, who was averaging 2.9 yards per carry entering this game.

Eye-popping stat: Kicker Justin Tucker missed wide right on a 48-yard field goal in the first quarter. How unlikely is that? This is the second time in the last eight seasons that Tucker has missed multiple kicks from inside the 50 in the same season. Tucker failed to hit a 49-yarder in Week 3 in Detroit.