Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the new era of the Baltimore Ravens. Gone are the days of a boring offense that wins off of the leg of AutomaTuck. Gone are the days of a tired defense, who have been on the field for 37 minutes. Say hello to an offense that has the ability to drop damn near 60 points on a secondary that, while they didn’t play like it, is actually quite talented. The Ravens went down to Hard Rock Stadium, wreaked more havoc than Hurricane Dorian (incidentally, our heartfelt thoughts and concerns are with those suffered from Dorian’s wrath), and showed the world that they were not to be trifled with. Not everything went right, but it sure felt like it did.
This is the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. Let’s get into it.
There was enough good in Sunday’s game that this portion will be the majority of the article. Let’s start with Lamar Jackson (17/20, 324 yards, 5 TDs, 0 INTs, 158.3 passer rating), who not only tied the franchise record for most touchdowns in a half (5), but also broke his career highs in yards, completion percentage, and touchdowns thrown in a game. His stat line was ‘not bad for a running back’ but what really impressed, was the growth he showed. He stood in the pocket when necessary, and delivered accurate passes to all levels of the field. He showed a better understanding of what the defense was showing him, and how to attack the soft spots. Above all, he showed that he understood when it was time for a laser pass, and when he had to put some touch on it, as evidenced by the touchdown passes to Willie Snead and Myles Boykin. The kid has grown tremendously, and is starting to make a believer out of the naysayers and wait-and-see’rs.
The entire offensive line (not you, Matt Skura) had themselves a day, paving the way for a run game (led by the new Baltimore addition, Mark Ingram who went 14-for-107, 7.6YPC, 2 TDs) that racked up 265 yards on 46 carries – a 5.7 YPC as a group. (Only six of those yards were from Jackson.What a terrible running back.) Bradley Bozeman got the start at the left guard position and played admirably, showing good power and quickness off the snap. As for pass blocking, they only allowed one sack, and just a few pressures – although Jackson being Jackson, he managed to extend the play and escape pressure with ease. If the line doesn’t sustain any injuries, they’re in good shape for the season – even if it’s a skewed analysis due to level of competition.
Mark Andrews picked up where he left off in 2018, plus some, as he caught eight passes for 108 yards (13.5 YPR) and a score. His rapport with Jackson is a beautiful thing, and if Sunday was any indication, he’s in for a huge season. Because he’s a Baltimore skill position player, he’s been slept on, but he has a real chance to be mentioned with the Top 3 at the end of the season. He has a knack for finding the soft spot in coverage and sitting in it like a five-year veteran.
Miles Boykin may have only had one catch, but he made it worth it, scoring a five-yard touchdown. His stat line isn’t what’s impressive. The fact that he recognized Lamar was throwing him open, stopped, and came back to the ball is what’s impressive. I know this is hard to believe, but based on the early eye test, Baltimore may have drafted two receivers that are actually worth something.
Greg Roman looks like he understands the strengths of the offense, and calls plays accordingly. If Baltimore has an offensive coordinator that can be effective, it’ll be a breath of fresh air. It’s early, of course, but with all the Lamar Jackson hype after Week 1, I think a bit of credit should go to the maestro of the offense.
This is the most difficult GBU article that I’ve ever had to write, because I have to nitpick to find something bad about the game. As such, here it is…
Lamar Jackson is said to be a running back, but if he is, he’s a terrible one. I mean come on, 6 yards on three carries? A 2.0 YPC isn’t going to cut it. Do better.
There was nothing ugly about the game. However, there was something ugly about the fans.
If you blame Jimmy Smith for his injury, you are a terrible human being. It was not his fault. I had a mini-rant at the beginning of this week’s Neutral Zone Infraction podcast, but I want to make it even more clear. The game of football at the NFL level is lightning fast. You simply cannot expect a player that’s locked up with a blocker to see something out of his peripheral and react instantly to protect himself. Peanut smashed into the side of his knee with his helmet at full speed. That isn’t Jimmy’s fault, regardless of how injury prone he’s been over the years. If you truly believe that Jimmy could’ve prevented it, or that it’s somehow his fault, you need to stop, re-evaluate what you know about the game, and maybe smack yourself across the face. Hard.
This fan base is so finicky and mercurial, and while I can handle it most of the time, in this case, people are being ridiculous.
The McKayla Maroney
Guys.. we have a Baltimore wide receiver taking the most prestigious award that a NFL player can receive. Marquise ‘Fetus’ Brown, the Ravens’ 2019 first round pick, is our player of the week – yes, I understand that Lamar was phenomenal, but he couldn’t have had that stat line without the fastest guy on the field. Brown put up the most yards in a debut game of any receiver since Anquan Boldin back in the days of dial-up internet, and he did it in style.
Four catches on five targets.
One hundred and fourty-seven yards.
Fourteen ankles snatched.
Brown showed us all why he was the first wideout off the board in the draft. From stutter stepping a defensive back onto his face, to simply burning them like the California brush, Brown showed that he could play at all levels of the offense, and hinted at being a much more complete receiver than many originally thought. He may not be ‘just a deep threat’ but instead, a pivotal part of an offense that, when clicking, should be able to absolutely hammerlock NFL defenses.
Sound off, Flockers. Anything I missed? Anything you don’t agree with? Let me know in the comments, or on my Twitter. I’ll see you later in the week, with the season’s first Chicken Box Saturday, but until then, head over to iTunes and listen to the newest episode of the most average Ravens podcast on the planet, Neutral Zone Infraction.