By David McDonnell
The Baltimore Ravens came to Tampa Bay and rushed for over 200 second-half yards to beat the Buccaneers 27-22 on Thursday Night Football, as Tom Brady lost his third consecutive game for the first time since 2002.
The home side started with high energy in the contest and scored the first touchdown when Leonard Fournette finished off a 75 yard first quarter drive.
For most of the first half, the Bucs defence was putting constant pressure on the Baltimore attack, including a great sack on Lemar Jackson by the man-mountain that is Vita Vea, when he rushed past his Iowa Hawk-eye college teammate Tyler Linderbaum.
Tampa defensive-end Pat O’Connor managed to keep the score to 3-10 at halftime, when he blocked a late field goal. In hindsight, that was as good as it got for the Bucs.
Baltimore lost tight-end Mark Andrews to injury and then seemed to double down on their running game. It stopped the Bucs defence from rushing Lemar and Linderbaum was very effective in getting into the second phase and targeting Devin White, thus making him redundant on defence.
After establishing the run game. Lemar started to do his thing and ran proceeding from there out. There was a mix of quarterback runs, play-action and run and pass option plays (RPOs). After a five minute drive, Lamar threw to Kenyon Drake on a screen-pass and he ran into the endzone to tie the game.
On their next drive, Lemar then found replacement tight-end Isaiah Likely at the back of the endzone for the first touchdown of his rookie career. Throwing on the run with a quick release and accurate pass for a terrific touchdown is another example of how much Jackson’s passing game has grown this season.
When Devin Duvernay ran in from 15 yards to make it a two score game, the Ravens never looked likely to surrender this lead.
A couple of Ryan Succop kicks and a very late touchdown by Julio Jones added respectability to the scoreline, as the Bucs have now lost five of their last six games and are no longer top of the NFC South.