The NFL Regular Season is officially over. The Baltimore Ravens’ season is not over. It’s been a good amount of time since I could put those two sentences together, and I gotta tell you, it feels really good. Forget about the fact that I surmised that the season could be over, on October 28th, 2018 (I stand by my comments, by the way – if they don’t win the Super Bowl, it was all for naught.) Forget the fact that I wanted John Harbaugh gone (I still do, but I’ve accepted that he’ll be in Baltimore for at least one more year).
The Ravens are in the tournament. Anything can happen now.
I digress. The Ravens beat the Browns in the most Ravens way possible (see: heart attack, skin of teeth), and like I keep telling people, winning isn’t everything. There are good parts. Bad parts. Ugly parts. Chloe Benn… wait, that’s not right.
Kenneth Dixon and Co. The Ravens racked up almost 300 rushing yards on Sunday. Two-hundred-ninety-six. Kenneth Dixon was an absolute stud, racking up 117 on just 12 carries. That’s a 9.8 YPC average, for those keeping track. Lamar Jackson went 90 yards on 20 carries. Gus Edwards chipped in 76 yards on 12 carries. Even Ty Montgomery had a healthy 6.5 YPC average, albeit on just two carries.
The run game travels well, and plays well in cold weather – both of which come with postseason play. With the Ravens averaging around 230 YPG on the ground, they have one very important part of the winning postseason formula very much under control.
Justin Tucker. A week after he missed two long field goals, Justin Tucker knocked through all four of his attempts against the Browns (38, 35, 44, and 23 yards out), as well as both of his extra point attempts. AutomaTuck continues to show the world that it is an absolute joke that he wasn’t voted to the Pro Bowl.
Jimmy Smith. Have I mentioned that Jimmy is one of my favorite Ravens? He has been, for a long time (probably my DB bias kicking in), and Sunday did nothing to dissuade me of that feeling. He allowed one catch, for one yard – on seven targets. He also had a pass breakup in those seven targets. Oh, that’s not good enough for you? How about not one, but two interceptions?! I’ll admit – I thought, after the rough outing he had earlier in the season, maybe Jimmy didn’t have it anymore. But he is back, baby!
Orlando Brown, Jr. Another game, another week with no sacks allowed. Although Lando won’t take credit for no sacks, due to a hold, it’s not on the stat sheet, so we’ll accept this for him. That makes four years since Zeus, Jr. has allowed a sack. To remind people: he was a third round pick. Can you say ‘steal’?
However, as mentioned before, even in a crucial win, over an AFC North foe, everything wasn’t all good. And so, we move onto…
Turnovers. Look, you can all argue with me, all you want to, about how fumbles aren’t really fumbles if they’re recovered. I’d agree with you, but then we would both be wrong. It’s a loss of downs, if it’s not past the first down marker, and it can drastically shift momentum.
Lamar Jackson has twelve fumbles on the season. He had two in the game against the Browns. This has to stop. Preferably by the time the Chargers come to town on Sunday. These problems can absolutely destroy momentum, drives, and ultimately the game.
I mean, you knew I had to put something here. Regardless of what some people may think, winning doesn’t cover up deficiencies. It wasn’t a perfect game by any means. And so…
Humphrey gave up multiple big gains – a 42-yard catch by TE David Njoku, a 38-yard pass to wideout Antonio Callaway, a 19-yard sideline catch by none other than Breshad Perriman, and gave up a third-and-8 to Rashaad Higgins for 11 yards. He ended up surrendering 143 yards on just seven receptions. Add in a holding penalty, and it’s safe to say that it was a rough outing for the second-year CB who was named media MVP the week before. Good thing he didn’t accept that, huh?
Tavon had similar struggles. He gave up two of the three passing touchdowns – a 28-yarder by Perriman, and a 48-yarder by fellow wideout Jarvis Landry. He capped that off by allowing a 16-yard gain by Landry late in the game.
This type of outing can not happen again. The playoffs are upon us, and those types of plays will seal the game, and not in Baltimore’s favor.
The Chloe Bennett.
This will shock people. All season, I’ve lamented the coverage ability of this particular player. I’ve ragged on him, to the point where he’s actually responded. I’ve said that he doesn’t deserve a top-money contract due to his one-dimensional play.
Then he goes and puts together a four-hurry game, as well as a game-sealing interception to claim the AFC North title, and a playoff spot.
Obviously I’m speaking of C.J. Mosley. His football IQ was apparent, as he leapt to make a heads up play, tipping the fourth down pass to himself, and collecting the interception with just over a minute left to play in the game. I do not agree with his decision to get up and run, but that’s just nitpicking, I think.
I have at least one more of these articles left, for the 2018-2019 NFL season. It brings me joy to say that, because it means that the postseason belongs to the Ravens, as long as they take what they want, and give nothing back.
Hail the Kings of the North.