As Lamar Jackson tried to orchestrate a game-winning drive against the Patriots on Sunday, the Baltimore Ravens quarterback was up against a lot more than just New England’s defense.
The reigning league MVP also had to navigate a torrential downpour at Gillette Stadium that intensified as the night progressed and hit its peak in the form of a wickedly windy outburst in the final minutes.
Baltimore came up well short, as the Patriots earned a 23-17 win. Afterward, Jackson admitted that inclement the weather played a role.
“The weather wasn’t on our side,” Jackson said. “Every time we was up, the rain just started pouring down even harder. It’s part of football. Things happen. We’re not going to always be perfect, but we’ve still got to find a way to pull through. We just didn’t tonight.”
Jackson made it clear it’s not an excuse, but he acknowledged that his connection with center Matt Skura was dramatically altered late in the game. The snapping difficulty made their lives tricky as Jackson frequently had to contort his body to corral the ball.
Mark Ingram couldn’t reel in an errant snap on fourth and 1 in the third quarter, and Jackson was unable to catch another erratic one late in the fourth that made it second and 26 and ultimately resulted in a punt.
“The ball was just wet,” Jackson said. “Couldn’t do nothing about it. (Skura) was trying to the best of his ability, and I was trying right there with him, but things happen, especially in conditions like this.”
“It’s part of football.” pic.twitter.com/WXYpxn2Aap
— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) November 16, 2020
Ravens coach John Harbaugh and wide receiver Willie Snead echoed Jackson’s point that the weather directly affected the snaps. Snead added that the rain is uncontrollable, and the Ravens simply had to adjust and execute at a higher level to have a chance.
“A couple things didn’t go our way, unfortunately,” Snead said. “The weather played a big part, but we’ve got to overcome those things, and we’ve got to be better.”
The Patriots didn’t seem to mind the rain quite as much given the outcome and their head coach’s penchant for appreciating hard-earned and defensive-minded football games. Bill Belichick called it “a little rain there at the end,” adding that the Patriots simulate that situation at practice throughout the course of the season.
He noted that the most difficult part was Jake Bailey handling the ball on punts and field goals, and he said in general, center David Andrews and quarterback Cam Newton handled the situation appropriately.
“Some of the Ravens had some trouble with that, but I thought overall we executed those pretty well, which was good,” Belichick said.
Newton pointed out that the Patriots had a couple of “close calls” with trying to gather the snap. He said “obviously it was a factor” for the Ravens, adding that it affected “a throw or two” for him. Newton said being in manageable situations helped as well.
“Having the mentality to stay mentally tough throughout that whole tsunami it felt like, we just wanted to make sure that we do great things while we have the football, protecting the football, making great decisions,” Newton said.
The weather elicited some comical tweets as well.
crafty Bill Belichick turning up a big dial that says RAIN all the way to 10 as the opponent tries to run a 2-minute drill
— Rodger Sherman (@rodger) November 16, 2020
and just like that the weather cleared up pic.twitter.com/DwTyz9r9B3
— Doug Kyed (@DougKyed) November 16, 2020
Rain on me. pic.twitter.com/PeEXvb87JP
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) November 16, 2020
This is Belichick’s #Christmas.
— CHRIS TORELLO (@TorelloSports) November 16, 2020
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