The Ravens are 6-2 and we are flying high in Baltimore! The offense is scoring at a league-leading pace, the defense is joining in the end zone celebrations as well, and we’ve got a 6-pack of stats that should keep you riding high all week as we get ready for Round 2 with the Bengals.
“In the first 8 weeks of any season during the John Harbaugh regime (2008- present) no Ravens team has scored more than the 2019 Ravens (251 points scored).”
In fact, the next closest team was the 2014 Ravens, who scored 217 points through their first eight games, which is still 34 fewer points than this current Ravens squad. In terms of defensive points allowed, the Ravens are actually on the wrong side of Harbs tenure, having given up 176 points through eight games- tied for the 2nd worst (in 2015 they gave up 215 points through eight games, which is atrocious). Still, the defense in 2019 has allowed 23 points or less in six out of eight games, and they’ve turned it on of late, having given up just 16 points to a high-powered Seahawks offense, and 20 to a very good Patriots offense (mind you, 10 of those 20 came on drives of less than 20 yards due to turnovers).
“Baltimore is averaging 3:32 per offensive drive, more than any team in the NFL by a 17-second margin.”
Comparatively, the NFL average is 2:47 per drive, which may seem close, but expanded over half a season’s worth of offensive drives (average 83 drives) it is actually a fairly wide margin. Keep me in mind, the Ravens have the 3rd fewest offensive drives at this juncture, and they’re 19th in average time of possession per game, so longer drives are a great thing when you take into consideration how successful the Ravens have been with the top-ranked offense in the NFL (According to NFL Outsiders, the Ravens have a .782 drive success rate, which is tops in the NFL).
“Lamar Jackson picks up a first down on 35.3% of his rushes.”
It is just insane to think about the fact that one out of every three carries by Lamar Jackson results in a first down. Lamar currently has the 8th most rushing first downs in the entire NFL behind Chris Carson, Zeke Elliott, Dalvin Cook, Marlon Mack, Carlos Hyde, Josh Jacobs, and Leonard Fournette, and ahead of big names like Christian McCaffrey, Aaron Jones, Nick Chubb, and Todd Gurley. But all of these aforementioned names? They average a first down run on 25% of carries, give or take a percentage point. Lamar is flying high above them…
Oh, and guess who has the 2nd highest first down run rate of all ball carriers with 100+ touches?
That would be Mark Ingram at 27.2% (34 out of 114 carries).
“The Ravens have just four lost fumbles – the 5th fewest in the NFL.”
To date, those four lost fumbles belong to Mark Ingram (2), Mark Andrews (1), and Cyrus Jones (1). Lamar Jackson has… well, zero. As a matter of fact, 15 NFL quarterbacks to date have at least one lost fumble in the 2019 season, and the Ravens starter is nowhere on the list to be found.
He does have four fumbles (again, none lost), but those four came courtesy of botched snaps or handoffs in the RPO, as we haven’t seen a strip while taking off or in the backfield, nor have we seen an unforced fumbled while running as we saw a few times last year.
*knocks on all of the woods*
For a signal caller with a major fumbling issue in 2018 to make a complete 180 at this juncture, is truly something special.
“The Ravens are currently running the ball on 55% of their offensive plays, which is the 2nd highest under John Harbaugh, and the highest run-rate by the Ravens since 2008.”
Coming into the 2019 season, the expectation was that the Ravens had put together the pieces to be able to run, run and run some more. They could beat you with speed on the edge, power up the middle, and the ever-elusive Lamar Jackson adding a whole new dimension to an NFL rushing attack. Take a quick look at the numbers, and we’ll see that the Ravens haven’t rushed for more than 50% of total offensive plays since Joe Flacco‘s rookie year in 2008 when Baltimore ran the ball on 58% of offensive plays.
But how does it stack up to the current NFL landscape?
On average, teams in 2019 are running on only 44% of total offensive plays – nearly 10% less than the Ravens. The only team with a higher run rate is the 49ers (58%), with the Vikes (53.4%) the only other team with 50%+ plays via rushing attempt.
“The Ravens have defensive touchdowns in back-to-back games – something they haven’t done since Week 12/13 last season, and Week 3/4 in 2011 before that.”
When we think Ravens, we tend to think defense (historically speaking), and the last thing I’d think after last week’s Marlon Humphrey scoop-and-score was that it was only the 2nd time the Ravens have had back-to-back games with a defensive score since before the Super Bowl year.
But it’s surprisingly true.
Last season in Week 12, Matt Judon sacked Derek Carr as he fumbled, with Terrell Suggs picking it up and hauling 43 yards to pay dirt. The following week, Matt Ryan was strip/sacked by Peanut Onwausor, with Tavon Young taking it to the house.
Back in 2011 in Week 3, Sam Bradford of the Rams was sacked by Ray Lewis, with Haloti Ngata picking up the loose ball and rumbling into the end zone for six. The following week, Mark Sanchez was sacked by Ed Reed and Jameel McClain took the fumble in from six yards out, and one more for good measure in this game, as Ngata sacked Sanchez to force a fumble once again, with Jarret Johnson scooping this one and taking it home for a touchdown… oh, and maybe a Lardarius Webb 78 yard pick-6 to complete a blowout of the Jets.
Both seasons ended in playoff berths for Baltimore – here’s hoping for more of the same in 2019 after a Marcus Peters pick-6 was followed by a Marlon Humphrey scoop-and score the following week.