My, what a difference a week can make.
After limiting Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos offense to just 219 total yards in Week 1, the Ravens defense turned in a polar opposite performance in yesterday’s 37-33 loss to the Oakland Raiders.
Dean Pees’ group allowed Derek Carr to slice and dice their revamped secondary for 351 passing yards and three touchdowns. Not exactly a good look for an organization who made priority signings this offseason to improve their defensive backfield.
While it wasn’t just the secondary’s poor performance that dug the Ravens into an 0-2 hole to start the season, here’s a look at how the Ravens corners and safeties fared.
The Ravens’ best corner turned in one of his most dismal performances of recent memory. Burned early by Raiders rookie wide receiver Amari Cooper for a 68-yard touchdown pass, Smith’s day didn’t improve much after, though he at least limited subsequent big plays. Targeted seven times by Carr, Smith allowed four receptions for 89 yards including Cooper’s early touchdown. Smith had just one pass defended and two costly missed tackles. He did however have the Ravens’ only sack of Carr after forcing the quarterback out of bounds.
Webby didn’t fare much better than Smith and was often beat handily by Raiders wideout Michael Crabtree, who recorded four catches for 82 yards and one touchdown against the veteran corner. Overall, Webb was targeted 10 times allowing five receptions. Bit hard by the injury bug over the years, Webb remains a shell of the player the Ravens had such high hopes for. Webb could see less time on the field when Rashaan Melvin returns from his hamstring injury.
One of the Ravens’ offseason signings was horrid against the Raiders offense in coverage. Picked on by Carr, the former New England Patriot allowed six receptions on six targets by five different receivers. The first-year Raven allowed 56 receiving yards and a touchdown. After being used in pass rushing situations against the Broncos, Pees opted to keep Arrington in coverage this week, with disastrous results.
The “Thrill” turned in the best performance of the day for the Ravens secondary, however his questionable holding penalty on a game-sealing interception gave the Raiders new life, providing them the chance to score the winning touchdown on the next play.
Hill allowed just two receptions for 27 yards on six targets and provided the Ravens with their only turnover of the day.
Hill’s battery mate in the defensive backfield performed poorly as well. Missed tackles (2) and his lack of support defending against the run hurt multiple times on Sunday afternoon. Lewis fared much better in coverage allowing two receptions on five targets for a mere 12 yards.
With an upcoming match-up at home against the Bengals, the defense cannot afford another letdown like the one that took place in Oakland Sunday afternoon. With Marvin Lewis‘ offensive weapons including the ever dangerous A.J. Green and the upstart Tyler Eifert, Pees needs to figure a way to pressure Andy Dalton despite the loss of veteran pass rusher Terrell Suggs.
If he doesn’t, expect the same torching of the Ravens secondary, and an even deeper hole to begin the season.
*stats via Pro Football Focus*
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