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Shawn Hubbard/Baltimore Ravens
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Reading Time: 4 minutes

What. A. Win. 

Your Baltimore Ravens are a feel-good 5-2 headed into their bye week. Coming into this week, it was an overly optimistic fan, or a blatant homer that would say that the Ravens would escape Seattle with a win, but honestly, after that 30-16 drubbing, I feel like this team can beat anybody. You all know me for my realism-bordering-on-pessimism, but right now, I’m all in on the 2019 Baltimore Ravens.

Ladies, gentlemen, attack helicopters… this is The Good, Bad, and the Ugly. 

*whispers*

Let’s gooooo.

The Baltimore Ravens defeated the Seattle Seahawks by a score of 30-16 at CenturyLink Field on October 20, 2019 in Seattle, WA.
Photo Credit: Shawn Hubbard, Baltimore Ravens

The Good.

Let’s talk about the defense. And by the defense, I mean the secondary and inside linebackers. Yes, I know that Russell Wilson got hit eight times, though only one sack came of it (shoutout L.J. Fort). Even with that kind of production, the pass rush was lacking. Even with Jaylon Ferguson improving for yet another week, I wasn’t that happy with the rushers. 

How about Fort’s first half, though?! What a game he had. Six combined tackles, two TFLs, a QB hit, and a sack. 

Josh Bynes had himself a little bit of a game as well, outside of a terrible roughing call. He notched eight combined tackles, and one TFL.

But the secondary is where the Ravens made a statement against the current MVP frontrunner. Marlon Humphrey struggled early, causing me a great deal of angst, and I’ll admit, I said some hurtful things on the Twitter. He redeemed himself later, with a big TFL, then sealing the game with an 18-yard fumble recovery which eventually led to a score. Earl Thomas quietly had his best game as a member of the Ravens, but it won’t show up on the stat sheet. He was a monster in coverage, flying all over the field to help anybody who needed it, and shutting down the deep part of the field. Chuck Clark and Brandon Carr made contributions all over the field, with Carr reinforcing the idea that he’s the most reliable Raven on the defense, regardless of some fans inexplicably hating him.

But the real story is the first impression of Marcus Peters, who was acquired less than four days before game day. Wilson actively avoided Peters for most of the game, and for good reason. What started with a tackle, then continued with a pass defensed, turned into an interception returned 67-yards for a touchdown. After that, Wilson simply wouldn’t throw anywhere Peters happened to be, because Peters had his man locked up. The fact that he had just dropped into zone, which is his weakness, makes this that much sweeter. 

If the defense plays like this coming out of the bye, I feel really good about their chances against the Patriots.

The Bad.

Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but the Ravens have been struggling to finish drives with a touchdown. It was no different for a large part of the game on Sunday, when missed opportunities and unnecessary penalties resulted in AutomaTuck field goals instead of Mark & Mark touchdowns. Luckily an absolutely electric moment would change all this, but that’s to be talked about later. 

If the Ravens are a contender, or if they think they are a contender, they need to start ending drives with six instead of three. It worked on Sunday, but against teams like the Patriots, who don’t allow touchdowns, but score them often, the leg of Justin Tucker isn’t going to be enough to win. Not with how consistently inconsistent the defense has been through seven weeks. (Yes, I know I just praised them, but it wasn’t that long ago that they were letting up 500-yard games.)

Look, it was a hard-fought statement win in one of the most hostile environments in the NFL. That in itself makes it difficult to pile on with the sometimes nit-pick bad things. So this section will be short. In fact, it’s over. Onto the ugly.

The Baltimore Ravens defeated the Seattle Seahawks by a score of 30-16 at CenturyLink Field on October 20, 2019 in Seattle, WA.
Photo Credit: Shawn Hubbard, Baltimore Ravens

The Ugly.

Drippity Drop. Drink. I tweeted that six times on Sunday. 

Mark Andrews was the biggest reason for the repeated tweet, with four drops by himself, including a surefire touchdown. The other pass-catchers had a couple of drops as well, victimizing Jackson into a 9-for-20 stat line.

You can blame the rain. You can blame Andrews’ gloves. You can blame low passes. You can blame whatever you want, but the fact remains that if the ball hits a receiver in the hands, he has to catch it. Especially in a big game. 

For what seems like decades, the Ravens have been preaching ‘catch the ball’. For what seems like decades, they’ve had pass catchers who.. well.. aren’t catching passes. Which is their job. Yes, I’m aware that Andrews will be fine – I’ve said so myself – but the underlying point still remains the same. The Ravens need other guys to step up, like Miles Boykin dragging in two catches on two targets, for 55 yards. Otherwise, this offense will become very stagnant, very quickly, no matter how good the running game is, or how dynamic Lamar Jackson is. 

Speaking of Lamar Jackson…

The Mckayla Maroney.

I mean, obviously it’s Lamar Jackson. He was the best player on the field on Sunday, and it wasn’t even close. Stat sheet be damned, the kid put the team in his back. Seeing the leadership from the 22-year-old quarterback was in a word, inspiring. Whether he was yelling at Matt Skura for a bad snap, comforting him to get his confidence back up, or running roughshod over John Harbaugh, he showed an intangible that is absolutely necessary to be successful in the NFL.

Leadership.

I will leave you with this clip. Enjoy.

As always, follow all the great folks at Russell Street Report, and enjoy your bye week coming off of a victory, Flockers.

 

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