Who’s Hot, Who’s Not
The Baltimore Ravens managed to be less impressive in Week 2 than they were in Week 1 yet still came away with a victory and regardless of how they arrived at 2-0, the record is set in stone. That being said, there were a number of things from the game against the Cleveland Browns that are positive takeaways (what a comeback!), as well as negative (being down 20-0 to the Browns).
Here are Baltimore’s Bulls and Bears.
It is great to see elite-level Dennis Pitta back in our lives. It has been quite a while. Pitta led all players with 12 targets, nine receptions, and led all Ravens with 102 receiving yards. Flacco looked his way early and often for the first time in roughly four years. Pitta missed all of 2015; he missed most of 2014 and 2013. Not since 2012 has he played in more than four games for the Ravens in a season, nor reached 100 yards in a game. In fact, he could surpass his production from each of the past three seasons by next week. This has to be an exciting and encouraging performance for Pitta and his coaches, as well as Flacco.
Smith isn’t the player he once was, but Week 2’s performance is highly encouraging considering how the vet was in Week 1. Flacco cut down on the volume of passes thrown in Smith’s direction, but the chances were much more valuable. Instead of eight mostly wasted targets, Smith caught just three passes but went for more than 21 yards per reception. Quality over quantity should be Smith’s M.O. moving forward as well.
The former backup linebacker continued his nice start to the 2016 season. It wasn’t clear whether Orr would even find a spot in the Ravens’ starting lineup just two weeks ago, and now he’s the team’s leading tackler. Orr brought down Browns players 10 times in Week 2, bringing his yearly total to 16 tackles. C.J. Mosley had a better game and is still the better player, but Baltimore fans like the way Orr is playing since it’s somewhat unexpected. Everyone knows Mosley is good; no one was as sure if Orr would find his niche.
In his first game of the season, Cleveland quarterback Josh McCown was under siege by the Ravens defense, and a large portion of that attack came from the stout and powerful Timmy Jernigan. Jernigan notched his second sack of the season in the game and hit McCown three other times. He also recorded two of the team’s eight tackles for loss.
It was a group effort. Devin Hester rebounded splendidly from his horrid Week 1 to have a great day returning kicks. He topped 100 total return yards on four attempts, breaking one kick return for 48 yards. Justin Tucker was his normal, exceptional self, going 5-for-5 on kicks, including a 52-yard field goal. Punter Sam Koch was productive as well, not to mention the blocked extra point that led to the Ravens’ first score of the day.
Seemingly nothing has gone right for Justin Forsett yet this season. Things began with his unexpected yet possibly scripted release and re-signing. The move didn’t really affect anything in terms of the running back depth chart, but it seemed to indicate that Forsett no longer had the standing on the team he once did and that hasn’t changed through two weeks of the season. Forsett was given a team-high 14 carries and also saw five targets in the passing game, but he did almost nothing with his chances. He averaged 2.6 yards per carry, which was even worse than Terrance West’s output, which wasn’t any good in its own right. The best thing going for Forsett at the moment is that West hasn’t proven himself worthy of the starting job either while other competitors are either inactive or injured.
Suggs is not yet playing at full capacity. He isn’t getting to the quarterback in a way we are accustomed to seeing, and the absence of Elvis Dumervil hardly helps the pass rush. His presence off the edge was needed, especially in the early going when Josh McCown converted third downs by air seemingly at will. Suggs is the lynchpin. If he starts getting more pressure, that leaks down to the other levels, allowing them to play more comfortably.