Ask your doctor if your heart is healthy enough to be a Ravens fan. That phrase must’ve run through my head at least thirteen times during this game. My blood pressure was through the roof. I had to go back and correct my spelling on a solid 63.7% of my tweets. But somehow, the Baltimore Ravens pulled it out. With another game, comes another edition of the Good, Bad, and the Ugly. Let’s go ahead and get into it.
Marquise Brown looks like a complete receiver. Yes, he disappeared in the middle of the game, but still managed eight receptions for 86 yards (although 41 one of those came on a beautiful pass from Lamar Jackson that sealed the game) on all levels of the field. From the tip-toe catch on the sideline, to the deep reception, ‘Fetus’ showed that he can be effective in all aspects of the passing game. For the second week in a row, he played through contact, which was one of my biggest concerns after the Ravens drafted him this year. If he continues his progression arc (I almost don’t want to jinx it) then the Ravens have finally hit on a first-round receiver.
Lamar Jackson might be the best throwing running back in the league. I’ve dubbed him the quarterunningback, as of today. While the performance wasn’t as flawless as Week 1, that’s okay. He still completed 24-of-37 attempts for 272 yards, two touchdowns, no interceptions, and no fumbles. Do the Ravens have a quarterback and a wide receiver? I’m leaning towards yes. He showed poise in the pocket, similar to last week, but also showed the same escapability and running ability (16 carries, 120 yards, 7.5 YPC) that he showed in the back half of 2018. It’s a lethal combination when used correctly, and Greg Roman looks like he knows how to use it so far.
Marlon Humphrey and Brandon Carr are good. If not for those two, this would’ve been an entirely different game. That’s it. That’s the whole explanation. (Except this: CORNERBACK SACK BABY!!!!!) I love the CB Blitz from the slot. It might be my favorite defensive play call of all time.
More to talk about in this section than I would like, but that’s the nature of a young team that’s still working things out.
The offensive line did a complete 180 compared to Week 1. Bradley Bozeman got pushed around a lot today, but that’s to be expected. His natural position is center, and they’re making him play guard. He holds up admirably most times, but you need to expect some growing pains, especially since he’s gotten such limited playing time up until grabbing hold of the starting position. Orlando Brown needs to clean up his penalties and play more disciplined football. Matt Skura did his best to make a liar out of me (I said he would be better this season due to improvement at the LG position). All-in-all, however, Terrell Suggs and Co. (referring to the OLBs) were held in check nicely, with the only sack coming from Kiko Alonso, Jr… excuse me, Cassius Marsh, Sr. He horse-collared Lamar in an attempt to stop him from escaping, then celebrated with a ninja-kick, followed immediately by a 15-yard penalty.
The fact that I had to yell ‘Turn your expletive head and pick off the expletive ball, you expletive!!’ more than once this game is sad. You’re supposed to be the best secondary in football. Act like it. Marlon Humphrey had a great game. Brandon Carr had a decent game. Earl Thomas was avoided like the plague, and for good reason. Everybody else was absolutely miserable. Anthony Averett gave up a couple of big gains. I’m not sure why Tony Jefferson was in coverage, but that seems like it should never happen again. Maurice Canady actually stuck to his guy pretty well, but couldn’t break up the passes. But the constant trend, through all of these guys, was that they didn’t turn their heads and look for the ball. I counted four different passes that could’ve been picks, if they had simply played the ball. ‘We’re going to force more turnovers’ they said. When?! The Earl can’t carry you the entire season, especially when he’s being avoided. Figure it out, or Patty Mahomes is going to have an absolute field day in Week 3. A more in-depth rant will be available on the Week 2 episode of the Neutral Zone Infraction podcast, titled ‘Turn Your Expletive Head’.
Disciplined football needs to return to Baltimore. It felt like every time I turned my head, the Ravens were getting another penalty. Maybe this is an overreaction due to the absolutely horrible referees, because they didn’t commit many penalties in Week 1, but more than one drive was stalled after a positive play was brought back for a mindless mistake. Brown, Jr. was the biggest offender that I could tell, bringing back painful memories of Michael ‘False Start’ Oher. The only thing I hate worse than undisciplined football, is bad defensive back play, and this game had both, so I had a wonderful time.
Can we please talk about finishing drives? There were three drives where Justin Tucker had to trot out on the field, casually boot it through the uprights, and then saunter his swaggy self back to the sidelines. It brought back horrible memories of a faltering offense, especially after that Week 1 fireworks display, and the early shots across the bow this week. Be it penalties, incorrect playcalls, or simply not executing the play, this young offense needs to get better at finishing drives. Picking up the 3rd and 4th downs in short yardage situations to keep the momentum rolling is huge when it comes to being a successful, competitive football team, and while they excelled in Week 1, they were.. not great.. in Week 2. They have to be more consistent about converting and finishing as the season wears on, otherwise, against better teams, the offense will sputter and stall out more often than not.
That being said, if the biggest concern is that the very young, still learning, still becoming cohesive offense struggles a bit when it comes to finishing? The Ravens are in a good spot. I’m still intrigued and excited by this offense, but you all know that I have to put something in this section under penalty of death or whatever.
The Claudia Feliciano
Yes, I changed the celebrity again. No, I don’t care if you don’t like it. Yes, this one is staying. Probably. Maybe. We’ll see.
Mark Andrews is this week’s winner.. again? I don’t remember who I selected last week, but let’s face facts. Andrews grabbing eight passes for 112 yards and a score, with a 14.0 YPC average is seriously impressive. He’s on the fast track to being a Top 3 tight end in the league this year, and shows no signs of slowing down. He went eight-for-eight and over 100 yards in Week 1 as well, and if I’m not mistaken (I might be, I’ve had a lot of whiskey today) he has a 100% catch percentage through two weeks. He’s quickly emerged as Lamar’s security blanket, favorite target, whatever you want to call him. He has a knack for making big plays, finding the soft spot in the defense, sitting in it, and making them pay. Whether he’s just naturally wide open, or he’s snagging a pass between two defenders, any time Andrews has the ball, you can tell that he’s a special player. That’s why he’s the winner of this week’s award.
Sound off, Ravens fans. What did I miss? What do you not agree with? Let me know in the comments, or on my Twitter (@ChibsRSR). As always, remember to follow all of the Russell Street Report members, and keep the site bookmarked for all your unbiased, unhinged Ravens analysis and opinions.