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Week 16 Game Recap: Baltimore Ravens 22, Los Angeles Chargers 10


What you need to know

Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens continue to play their brand of football and remain competitive against some of the best teams in their conference. Lamar Jackson and the Ravens rushing attack once again led them to victory. Jackson continues to struggle with his consistency as a passer but the plays he does make in the passing game combined with his rushing have been enough. Jackson made an outstanding throw on his 68 yard touchdown pass to Mark Andrews but missed numerous open targets throughout the game. Andrews and Jackson finally connected on a deep touchdown after several near misses in previous weeks. Gus Edwards and Kenneth Dixon continue to play outstanding in their complimentary roles. John Brown was Jackson's favorite target at wide receiver but Jackson missed some easy throws to Brown.

Los Angeles Chargers

Melvin Gordon didn't put up eye-popping stats (nobody on the Chargers did), but he looked healthy while running the ball in his first game action since injuring his knee against Arizona. He saw fifteen offensive touches to just eight for Justin Jackson.

Philip Rivers picked a bad time to put up by far his worst game of the season, and one of the worst of his career. He turned the ball over on his first and last pass attempts of the game, and in-between he was unable to find the end zone and was sacked four times. It was definitely a game to forget for a player who came into the game as a potential MVP candidate.

Keenan Allen didn't look like his hip was bothering him at all. He failed to gain much separation, but that was more due to the stout Baltimore defense than anything. Allen had a team-high 58 yards and looked like his usual self health-wise.

Baltimore Ravens

QB Lamar Jackson, 62 offensive snaps, Pass: 12 - 22 - 204 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 13 - 39 - 0
Lamar Jackson had an up and down game but played well enough to win. Jackson continues to struggle to find consistency as a passer. Jackson shows flashes of outstanding arm talent, awareness in the pocket, and play making ability but also misses what should be routine throws. Jackson delivered what should have been a touchdown to Michael Crabtree on a back shoulder throw but Crabtree could not make the catch. The Ravens were forced to settle for a field goal following the incompletion. Another miscue on a read option play between Jackson and Gus Edwards set the Ravens back and forced a long field goal attempt on their second possession. Jackson ran a quarterback draw on 3rd and short and burst into the open field for a 27 yard showing his quickness and speed. Another drive that should have produced points came up empty after a failed play on 4th and goal from the 2 yard line. The Ravens elected to throw on the play and Jackson could not find an open receiver. Jackson's best throw of the first half was a dime to Michael Crabtree through a tiny hole over the middle for 20 yards. After falling behind for the first time in the game Jackson responded with a huge score. Jackson threw a perfect strike to Mark Andrews who took the pass to the house for a 68 yard touchdown. Jackson hit Andrews perfectly in stride 30 yard downfield.

RB Gus Edwards, 23 offensive snaps, Rush: 14 - 92 - 0, Rec: 1 - 13 - 0 (1 targets)
Gus Edwards split work with Kenneth Dixon and played very well. Edwards continues to implement his no nonsense style with great success. Edwards should continue to dominate the early down and short yardage work. Edwards making a catch is promising and is hopefully a sign of how he will be used in the future. Edwards ran through a huge hole up the middle of the Chargers defense on the Ravens first offensive play for 44 yards. Edwards showed off his speed on his longest run of the season. Edwards caught a check down from Jackson and got up field for 13 yards.

RB Kenneth Dixon, 29 offensive snaps, Rush: 8 - 28 - 0, Rec: 2 - 20 - 0 (3 targets)
Kenneth Dixon played very well in a complimentary role outside of losing a fumble. Dixon caught a check down in the flat for 8 yards. Dixon slipped two tackles along the sideline after catching a check down and picked up 11 yards and a first down. On 3rd and 12 Dixon followed outstanding blocking at the second level and exploded up field for 19 yards. Dixon was stripped on the first play of the second half and the Chargers recovered. Dixon was wrapped up and was fighting for additional yardage when he fumbled.

WR John Brown, 34 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 27 - 0 (6 targets)
John Brown made his first catch running a slant for 10 yards. Brown gained 17 yards running a crossing route over the middle. Jackson missed Brown when he was open on multiple occasions.

WR Michael Crabtree, 43 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 20 - 0 (4 targets)
Michael Crabtree played one of his worst games of the season against the Chargers. Crabtree had a potential 6 yard touchdown knocked out of his hands on a back shoulder throw from Lamar Jackson. Crabtree made a nice catch running a deep in breaking route for 20 yards. Crabtree had a potential 12 yard catch knocked out of his hands by Casey Hayward. Crabtree drew a 9 yard pass interference penalty running a slant.

TE Mark Andrews, 20 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 83 - 1 (2 targets)
Mark Andrews continues to be the target Lamar Jackson looks to with the most confidence. Andrews made his first catch over the middle for 15 yards on 3rd and 9. Andrews was practically uncovered on the play. Andrews ran a deep over route and out ran the entire Chargers secondary on his way to a 68 yard touchdown. Andrews had a nice stiff arm on the play as well.

TE Hayden Hurst, 17 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 18 - 0 (2 targets)
Hayden Hurst made a nice adjustment to catch a pass thrown at his knees on the run for an 18 yard gain.


Los Angeles Chargers

QB Philip Rivers, 63 offensive snaps, Pass: 23 - 37 - 181 - 0 TD / 2 INT, Rush: 1 - 1 - 0
Rivers entered the game with an NFL-best 27 straight games with a passing touchdown, and had thrown at least TWO touchdowns in all but one game this season. He wouldn't come close to finding the end zone in this one, as he turned in his worst fantasy performance of the year at a very inopportune time for his owners. His afternoon started off as badly as possible when he was intercepted on his first pass attempt of the game. He was looking deep down the sideline to Mike Williams in blanket coverage. It ended up as a jump ball, but the defender simply made a great play on it. On a later possession, Rivers had 28- and 27-yard pass plays negated, both by penalties on Keenan Allen. The second pass play, to Mike Williams, was simply a perfect touch pass but it was all for naught. After getting almost nothing done the entire first half, they actually moved the ball fairly well just before the half (helped along by two Baltimore penalties, so it's not like the offense was really crushing it). The Ravens turned it over to open the second half, but the Chargers ran it three straight times to get into the end zone, so again there was no opportunity for Rivers to get a score. And after that score, the Baltimore defense really put the clamps on. They began sacking Rivers almost at will, getting to him four times in total. He couldn't even look downfield to his receivers because he had no time, which resulted in a ton of dumpoff passes to the running backs and tight ends (who accounted for 15 of his 23 completions). At one point late in the third quarter, they were getting out-gained in total yardage 329-104. Despite everything, the Chargers had the ball on the Baltimore 39-yard line with three minutes left to play and down by just six points. But Antonio Gates fumbled the ball away on a short reception over the middle, and it was run back the other way for a Baltimore touchdown. Following that, the Chargers had to go into desperation mode a little bit. And due to that, Rivers forced a pass into the end zone to Travis Benjamin with just over a minute remaining. The defender made a nice play on the ball, intercepting it and sealing the victory for the Ravens.

RB Melvin Gordon, 42 offensive snaps, Rush: 12 - 41 - 1, Rec: 3 - 13 - 0 (3 targets)
Considering the nature of his injury, Gordon looked extremly healthy if not totally effective. The stifling Baltimore defense really made him work for every yard, but he actually turned in a fairly decent performance considering the layoff he had and the quality of the opponent. He showed a nice stiff-arm and cut back moves against several defenders (on a bad playing surface) on a first half screen pass, and never really showed any ill effects from the knee injury suffered several weeks ago. He remained on the sideline late in the first half while the Chargers ran the two minute offense with Justin Jackson getting most of the work. But Gordon came back in with just under a minute remaining, so he was fine. Early in the second half following a Baltimore turnover, Gordon got three straight handoffs to punch the ball into the end zone. A strong run from the 17-yard line to the 4 set them up in goal to go offense. Another strong run falling forward put the ball just inside the 1-yard line. And finally, he took it in for the score from a yard out, going over the goal line with relative ease after some good blocking up front paved the way. The announcers mentioned at one point that Gordon was on the sideline with his helmet off and didn't appear to be 100%. He did ask out of the game on occasion, but whenever he was on the field he looked like his usual self. His first nine carries went for 43 yards, so the 3.4 YPC at the end is a little bit misleading as the Ravens tightened up even more late in the game.

RB Justin Jackson, 21 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - -1 - 0, Rec: 7 - 47 - 0 (10 targets)
Despite Melvin Gordon's questionable status all week, he saw all but one of the running back carries in this game. Jackson lost a yard on his lone handoff. But despite the lack of activity in the running game, he saw a game high seven receptions out of the backfield. He mostly came in on third down packages, although Gordon remained out of the game for a long period of time at one point and Jackson saw extensive action. He displayed some nice open field moves on a couple of receptions, shaking defenders loose with terrific elusiveness. Jackson benefitted from the extra pressure Baltimore was able to put on Philip Rivers, because he had to constantly check it down quickly when defenders were bearing down on him. And despite catching the ball in front of the defense all game long and never catching anything longer than ten yards, he still managed nearly seven yards per grab which shows how good he was at beating defenders in tight spaces.

WR Keenan Allen, 59 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 58 - 0 (8 targets)
Considering the quality of the opponent, Allen hitting his usual floor can be seen as something of a positive. On a day when almost nothing went right for the Chargers offensively, Allen at least turned in a respectable effort. And perhaps most importantly, he looked completely healthy after missing most of last week's game with a hip injury. Allen and Rivers miscommunicated on his first target of the game, as Allen wasn't looking when the ball was thrown his way (it would have been stopped well short of the first down). Soon after, he hauled in a 27-yard reception deep down the sideline but it was negated by a dubious offensive pass interference penalty against Allen. Replays showed that he did put a hand on the defender, but the player slipped largely due to field conditions. Allen was still arguing the call and failed to get set prior to the next play, so he was flagged for an illegal motion penalty to negate a 28-yard pickup by Mike Williams. Allen also lost a first down catch on a third and 5 that was negated by a holding penalty. Allen wasn't able to get much done down the field for the majority of the game, hauling in some short crossing routes and slants that didn't really move the ball down the field much. Late in the game, he jumped for a key 17-yard catch in traffic to keep the drive alive which was by far his (and the Chargers') longest play of the game.

WR Mike Williams, 40 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 4 - 0, Rec: 1 - 7 - 0 (3 targets)
One week after a career game, Williams came crashing back to earth against the stout Ravens defense. Williams' day started off with an unfortunate result, as he was the target of a deep ball down the sideline on the first offensive play of the game. The pass was thrown into tight coverage and ended up getting intercepted. Later on, Williams hauled in what appeared to be a 28-yard gain over the middle on a perfect touch pass from Rivers. But an illegal motion penalty on Keenan Allen negated that grab. Later on, Williams had his defender beaten down the sideline but Rivers couldn't quite get it to him in stride. It may have been pass interference, but no call was made. Finally, Williams made a play that counted when he took a handoff up the right side for a 4-yard gain and got absolutely drilled at the end of it. Soon after, he finally made a catch that counted but it went for very minimal yardage.

WR Travis Benjamin, 21 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 6 - 0, Rec: 1 - 11 - 0 (3 targets)
Benjamin was arguably the second-most involved receiver in the Los Angeles passing game, despite getting just two touches. He took a swing pass along the right sideline in the first half, catching the ball in stride out of motion from the backfield, then burst past the defender to win the angle to the side. He had a surprisingly strong run up the right side in the second half for a 6-yard gain, but that was his last touch of the game. Late in the fourth quarter, he had a step on his defender down the seam, but he was running to the inside while the ball was thrown to the outside. And on the last gasp desperation drive by the Chargers, he was targeted on a deep ball in the end zone. He had one on one coverage, but the defender made a fantastic play on the ball to snag the interception.

WR Tyrell Williams, 58 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 12 - 0 (2 targets)
Williams caught just one pass, a shallow cross over the middle. He turned on the jets on his way up the field for a 12-yard gain, but otherwise was a complete non-factor on a day when the Baltimore defense really clamped down.

TE Antonio Gates, 42 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 21 - 0 (5 targets)
Gates had a couple of missed opportunities, and his miscue late in the fourth quarter was the death knell for the Chargers. He was targeted over the middle on a first half pass that would have put the ball just inside the 10-yard line. But despite being open, the throw was rushed a bit and the pass sailed high over his head. In the second half, he added two grabs - he was tripped up right away on one catch, and then picked up a first down on the very next play but was again taken down right away before he could get anything after the catch. Late in the fourth quarter with the Chargers driving for the potential game-winning score, Gates caught a pass and was fighting for extra yardage. Just before his knee touched down, a defender punched the ball loose and it was run back the other way for a Ravens touchdown to essentially end the game.

TE Virgil Green, 29 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 12 - 0 (2 targets)
Green caught just two passes for short gains. His second catch, coming early in the second quarter, was the first first down of the game for the Chargers. He was otherwise not featured in the offense, which is pretty standard for him.