OVERREACTION, WEEK 1
Imagine being damn near every NFL analyst and sleeping on the Ravens in favor of the Days Of Our Yinz soap opera in Pittsburgh, or the 2019 Paper Champs in Cleveland…
Those analysts (looking at you, Nate Burleson and Geoff Schwartz) must feel like trash after the Ravens dropped a casual 59 points on Miami (courtesy of FIVE Lamar Jackson touchdown passes) while the Browns shit the bed at home versus the Titans and the Steelers got laughed out of Foxboro.
Imagine sleeping on a team so dominant that they had Dolphins players calling their agents and asking to get traded right after the game ended?
Hopefully those analysts are ready to eat crow, because the way I see it? The Ravens proved themselves to be the cream of the crop in the AFC North, and a legit Super Bowl contender. Don’t give me any of that “but it’s Miami!” garbage, because I’ll quickly throw the stout DB group in Miami right back at ya. Yes, I know they played like shit yesterday, but it’s not because they suck…
IT’S BECAUSE LAMAR. LIT. THEM. UP.
That’s right folks! MY QB1 was dropping dimes all over the field, hitting guys in stride, fitting the ball into tight windows… you name it, he did it.
And while the majority of us fans that have always been confident in Jackson’s ability to develop into a better passer over time kept receipts on the “hE’s A running BaCk” folks, I’m going to make an exclusive offer to those former naysayers, and give you a chance to repent for your stupid.
That’s right, folks! For a limited time, I’ll grant a reprieve for your idiocy if you admit you were wrong about Lamar Jackson as a passer, admit how stupid it was to call him a running back, and promise to stop being a fair-weather fan.*
*Offer expires prior to Game 2 kickoff, at which point failing to atone for your assholish ways results in a permanent space in the Ravens fair-weather fan zone.
Of course I’d like to take a page out of LJ’s book and make sure we credit the team in it’s entirety, not just our fearless leader under center. After all, somebody had to catch those dimes from LJ, right? Here’s what I saw on Sunday in the passing game:
— Hollywood Brown is going to have a better statistical season than his psychotic cousin, AB.
— Miles Boykin and LJ have better rapport than I’ve seen from a QB-WR tandem in Baltimore since 2012.
— Willie Snead is such a silent killer striking in the middle of the field.
— Mark Andrews is going to be a top-3 Tight End in the NFL.
— Hayden Hurst, despite being stuck behind Andrews, is still better than Miami’s 2nd year TE Mike Gesucki
And how about that running game, starting with Mark Ingram‘s “welcome to Baltimore” 49 yard carry…
Remember when fans wanted Le’Veon Bell and griped that Ingram was ‘too old’ and ‘a waste of money?’ Ingram carried the rock 14 times for 107 yards and a pair of touchdowns, while Bell (Jests) carried 17 times… for 60 yards. Even if you add in his receptions (six for 32 yards and a score), he still had fewer total yards, a lower yards per touch, and less scoring than Ingram.
Age is just a number. A better number is… well, the numbers I just gave you. Bell can suck it, we got the better back for a far better price and I wouldn’t trade Ingram for anything. Not even a oft-injured diva like Melvin Gordon.
And let’s not pretend Ingram is a lone wolf out there, with Gus Edwards (17 for 56), and Justice Hill (7 for 27) providing ample relief for Ingram to keep him fresh straight on through February! But honestly, the most impressive carry on the day came from our RB4.
No, that’s not Kenneth Dixon. He gone.
My RB4 is Anthony Levine Sr., and watching Co-Cap rattle off a 60 yard carry on a fake punt was epic. Honestly, what made it even more epic was faking the punt despite already having the Fins down by 32, and Harbs saying post-game “Well, it was there. That’s what we do.”
Admittedly, I’ve never been a Harbs guy but my opinion has turned so damn hard in two months. This right here? Running it up on Miami and absolutely skull dragging them instead of letting up?
Harbs has my heart.
But let’s not ignore the defense from Sunday either, where Earl Thomas and Marlon Humphrey pulled down a pair of picks and I gotta tell you… we’re going to need a nickname for this secondary very soon. Even with Jimmy Smith down and out, Anthony Averrett stepped in seamlessly and kept the DB group running smooth.
Crazy how unbelievably good the Ravens are at drafting defensive backs of late…
While the pass rush maybe didn’t have the sexiest of plays on a day full of picks, passing TDs and special teams standouts? Three sacks, six tackles for loss, and 12 quarterback hits for a group that so many fans – both Ravens fans and fans of football – believed would be downright awful is nothing to sneeze at.
But do you know what makes this 59-10 victory so much more satisfying for me?
The Ravens haven’t shown their hand just yet, and this was merely the tip of the iceberg for a team destined for greatness…