The worst loss in Ravens history came at the hands of arguably the NFL’s most futile franchise. And for the Jacksonville Jaguars you likely won’t find a more statistically impressive victory.
This was not your standard 44-7 drubbing.
The Ravens narrowly avoided their first shutout loss since 2002, but tied the team record for largest loss, a 37-point shutout to the Steelers in 1997.
Jacksonville, meanwhile, have not blanked an opponent since a 41-point victory over the Jets in 2006. They came only minutes away from doing so on Sunday.
While it might be easy to blame playing in London, or the focus on protests before the game or even the Ravens’ various injuries, it doesn’t take away from the fact that a Jaguars team with Blake Bortles at quarterback torched the NFL’s hottest defense.
Bortles tossed four touchdowns for the first time since 2015 with three of them going to Marcedes Lewis, a tight end who had caught three touchdown passes total in his last three seasons. It wasn’t like these were lucky throws, either. Bortles flashed the talent that made him a coveted prospect coming out of college in 2014.
Which is how the Jaguars ended up with a 23-0 halftime lead.
Joe Flacco, meanwhile, was benched for Ryan Mallett late in the game after going eight-for-18 passing with 28 yards and two interceptions.
Mallett surpassed that yardage total after just six completed passes and added a touchdown to Benjamin Watson to avoid the shutout late in the fourth quarter.
After defeating the Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Bengals rather convncingly in the first two weeks of the season, this was the last thing expected of a Ravens team sitting atop the AFC North at 2-0. Despite the offensive woes of Flacco early in the year, the defense had forced 10 turnovers and looked formidable as usual.
None of that was on display in London.
Instead the Ravens more or less stood by as Jacksonville added to the “pretender” narrative in Baltimore and pulled out a statement game. In a weak AFC South, it’s the type of performance that will have many teams wondering what to expect when they line up against the Jags. The woeful Bortles the NFL has come to know and love and the London Bortles who lights up defenses couldn’t be more different than the point total on Sunday. Both are equally fun and confusing in their own way but if the Jags get more of the latter, the rebuild in Jacksonville could ramp up rather quickly.
A thrashing over the Ravens to open Week 3 is certainly a good place to get things going in that direction.
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