With their 20-19 win over the Colts in Indianapolis, the Ravens advanced to (3-0) during the 2018 preseason. The win was their 11th straight fake game victory. That said, the pretend affair was hardly a sight for sore eyes. The game featured just 550 yards of combined offense, 21 penalties for 185 yards, 5 fumbles and two interceptions. It was however, soothing therapy for the sleepless.
Despite reminding us of Checkdown Joe at times, Flacco made a few very good plays on his way to a 7 of 9 performance for 72 yards and a score. He stood tall in the pocket, reading through his progressions behind some impressive support from his offensive line, and hit Michael Crabtree on the first play of the second quarter down the left sideline for a gain of 29, using his arm strength to penetrate an opening in the Colts Cover-2. A small aside, really like how Flacco has changed his cadence. Attention to these details will make him a better player…Lamar Jackson performed as expected. His throws were often inaccurate, missing some opportunities but he was successful in the red zone using his speed and elusiveness, eventually hitting Chris Moore for a 7-yard score. Jackson didn’t force any throws and didn’t make any meaningful mistakes…Robert Griffin, III wasn’t asked to do much but when he had to make a play, he did, as evidenced by his scamper around the left end to set up the game-clinching 4th-and-1 conversion. He also delivered the night’s best pass, a laser to Jordan Lasley on the run that the butter-fingered rookie dropped for what would have been an easy touchdown.
Kenneth Dixon had a nice outing, running effectively between the tackles for 32 yards on 6 carries…John Brown showed excellent concentration to snag a tipped ball in the back of the end zone and then the presence of mind to toe tap to complete the touchdown catch. Hey Andy Benoit – Brown is NOT another version of Mike Wallace! … Orlando Brown, Jr. continues to get a ton of snaps at right tackle and he performed admirably, particularly on a Gus Thompson run to the right when he cut the linebacker at the second level, paving the way to a 10-yard pick up.
Terrell Suggs’ conditioning was on full display when he swatted away a chip block by Colts’ TE Jack Doyle and forcefully brought down Andrew Luck from behind for a sack. His youthful exuberance was properly noted by ESPN play-by-play announcer Joe Tessitore who referred to Suggs as “The Benjamin Button of edge rushers”…The Ravens young pass rushers were also productive, particularly Tim Williams who registered another sack, 5 tackles and 2 QB hurries…Tyus Bowser flashed after a sluggish start to his preseason. He added a sack and a couple of hurries as did Za’Darius Smith…Michael Pierce was stout at the point of attack and Brent Urban successfully knifed through the Colts O-Line to disrupt a couple of plays…Zach Sieler continues to make a statement to be part of the team’s 53-man squad. He should be. He has uncommon athleticism for someone his size. He’s quite simply a better player than Carl Davis.
Who is the inside backer that will play beside C.J. Mosley on September 9 when the Ravens host the Bills? When training camp began, the answer to this question was a mystery. But the mystery is now closer to a resolution – the solved mystery might be named Kenny Young who has been stacking positive outings. He already seems more adept in coverage than Mosley. Young led the team with 7 tackles…Another busy defender on MNF was S Chuck Clark. He was caught in a mismatch when defending WR Chester Rogers who hauled in a slant then added some YAC for a 28-yard gain. But that play aside, Clark continued to exhibit a nose for the football. Given Tony Jefferson’s absence, Clark is gaining valuable experience with the 1’s that will bode well for him in the future…Anthony Levine, Sr., the Ravens Swiss Army Knife, stayed with his man, did not overcommit and demonstrated excellent concentration on the tip and interception of Luck deep in the Ravens red zone during the first quarter.
Anthony Averett was tested on three consecutive plays inside the Ravens 5-yard line. He supported Bowser on a run to the left to drop Jordan Wilkins for a loss of one then successfully defended a slant and fade during a goal line sequence that ended with a turnover on downs by the Colts…Stanley Jean-Baptiste competed well and has been the victim during two consecutive games due to flawless execution by the opposing offense. He’s been a consistent battler during camp…Tavon Young had a textbook PD covering Rogers on a third-down pass from Luck during the Colts first possession.
Alex Lewis’ false start following the offense’s intent to go no huddle, completely disrupted the flow…The Ravens interior offensive line depth is rather weak. Collectively they were a sieve again v. Colts…CB Darious Williams was an extreme long shot to make the 53 and could be a practice squad candidate, but his PI in the end zone did little to help his cause…Mosley remains a work-in-progress as a cover LB…Lasley’s drops continue while Jaleel Scott does nothing. Lasley contributes on special teams and has been far more noticeable as a receiver than Scott throughout camp. It would be a stretch to think that the Ravens could cut both their 4th and 5th round picks. Neither is doing much to persuade the coaching staff.
The Ravens offense was highly ineffective on third-down, limited to just 2 conversions on 13 attempts… potential loss of Ronnie Stanley for a game or two with a strained knee…Special teams were anything but special. The punt returners (Tim White and Janarion Grant) both fumbled resulting in turnovers; the punt team allowed a blocked punt with 2:35 to go in the game and the team holding on to a 20-13 lead. That’s inexcusable…Rosburg’s group also had a few penalties to boot…Jimmy Smith’s possible suspension for violating the league’s personal conduct policy is quite unsettling. It’s possible that the allegations against Smith are an attempt to extort money given his custody battle in the court system. But with the talented corner, it’s always something. He just can’t be counted on and it’s unlikely that he’ll be a Raven in 2019. Then, the Ravens can save $9.5M in real money and cap space by parting ways with their undependable defender.
Underachievers are a dime a dozen.