This was one of those Monday Night Football games that seemed like a head-scratcher. Why would ESPN pit a perennial contender like the Baltimore Ravens against an unpopular struggling team like the Jacksonville Jaguars? Experts predicted an ugly game with an easy Ravens victory.
Well, this game couldn't have been much uglier. For this underdog Jaguars team to win it needed an ugly game where it shut down the Ravens offense and the offense protected quarterback Blaine Gabbert by successfully running the ball. The Jaguars can consider that done with Monday's 12-7 victory over the Ravens.
The Ravens contributed greatly to the game's ugliness. They set a franchise low with an abysmal 16 yards of total offense in the first quarter and they failed to get a first down till midway through the third quarter. Had it not been for a late touchdown, the Ravens would easily have been shutout Monday.
As is so common with Ravens teams, the defense kept them in the game. Although it allowed the Jaguars to run down the clock, it ultimately prevented them from scoring a touchdown. Instead, clutch-kicker Josh Scobee connected on all four field goals, three of which were beyond 50 yards.
For the Ravens, this game reeks on all levels and causes serious doubt as to whether or not the Ravens are among the AFC's best. Now they go from being tied for best record in the conference to second in an extremely competitive division. If they're going to beat the Arizona Cardinals next week, they're going to have to improve in several areas.