The talk of the week heading into Cincinatti was whether or not this was going to be a trap game.
I mean, let’s look at the factors:
– Coming off an emotional win, in primetime, against a rival and the top dog in the AFC.
– Playing a divisional rival, one that has given the Ravens a hard time in the past.
– An opponent coming off their bye week, which always helps with preparation.
So, yeah, I get it. It does look like a trap game.
Well, the trap that can catch Lamar Jackson has yet to be engineered. This team just has a different vibe about it and it begins and ends with their quarterback.
His play and his mentality, both before and after games, reminds me of a Ray Lewis quote.
“I’m pissed off for greatness. Because if you ain’t pissed off for greatness, that means you’re ok with being mediocre.”
Lamar Jackson is pissed off for greatness. Let’s break it down.
The offense fired on all cylinders today and looked like a complete unit.
I’m not going to fret too much on the RGIII interception. It was garbage time an the damage had been done. The Ravens’ starting unit was completely dominant and the Bengals had no answers.
Jackson on Jackson: A+
How many +’s can I put before it becomes obnoxious? Okay, we’ll leave it at 1.
There’s not a lot to say here; Lamar Jackson simply dominated the Bengals defense in the air and on the ground. This was another stat-padding performance that is adding to the historic season Lamar is putting together. He looked locked in from the first snap and put in another perfect day (he had a 158.3 passer rating, which is the highest possible).
And if we needed another reminder that Lamar is a video game:
LAMAR. JACKSON. @Lj_Era8 TO THE HOUSE ‼️‼️
— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) November 10, 2019
There’s no other way to say it: that was freaking unbelievable.
Running Backs: B
Before the Ravens went into clock-management mode, it was just an average day on the ground for the running back group. Mark Ingram did run with conviction once again and found pay dirt, but was under 4.0 YPC (before RGIII took over).
Going into the back end of the schedule, you have to feel extremely confident with this group. All three backs run hard and run decisively, which is huge for making the Read Option game work. If the Ravens can get Justice Hill out in space I think he could really start to perform as well.
Oh yeah, I always forget to give him a shoutout, but just a special note that Patrick Ricard is a bulldozer on both sides of the ball and it’s causing me jersey-purchasing angst…
Now i have to decide if I want a Nick Boyle or Patrick Ricard jersey next. #RavensFlock
— Cole Jackson (@ColeJacksonRSR) November 10, 2019
Wide Receivers: B+
Well hey, Marquise ‘Hollywood’ Brown is back!
Amid some concerns around where the deep ball went in the Ravens offense, Lamar came out and fired one to Brown on the first play of the game for 49 yards. He then went on to add a 20-yard TD, which is extremely encouraging to see.
The rest of the WR group wasn’t called on in this game until RGIII took over, but they didn’t need to be. Hollywood did the damage.
Tight Ends: A+
This tight end group is extremely special. Nick Boyle is beginning to emerge as a darn good pass catcher and is shedding the label of being just a blocker. The only thing I was disappointed with was that he didn’t get that touchdown on his 35-yard catch.
No worries though, Mark Andrews covered the touchdown aspect for the trio. Andrews needed this game bad. His usage was limited against the Patriots last week, mostly because their attack called for Boyle and Hayden Hurst, and he hadn’t had a big game in a few weeks. He proved he’s still Lamar’s safety blanket and added two scores to his totals this year.
Offensive Line: A-
This unit has really jelled throughout the season. Matt Skura and Bradley Bozeman are still the lesser pieces of the unit, but the difference is they’re not weak links anymore. Skura has really upped his play and Bozeman has been playing at a startable level. This is extremely encouraging given the issues they were suffering with the left side A and B gap early in the season.
These types of grades are so tough. On one hand, the Ravens starters got shredded on the ground after Michael Pierce came out of the game and that is, of course, not good.
That said, they forced turnovers and scored two defensive touchdowns and that part is, quite good.
I’m settling at a B+. Technically the defense outscored the Bengals offense 14-13, but I will knock off some marks for a rough day stopping the rushing game of the Bengals.
Defensive Line: B-
For the portion of this game, it seriously looked like the only player on the defensive line that was doing anything was Matt Judon.
A trend has started with the backup interior defensive line players that if the Ravens lose one of Michael Pierce or Brandon Williams, the entire run defense falls apart. Chris Wormley and Zach Sieler just aren’t doing enough when they’re in the game and Pat Ricard can only play so much when he’s playing both ways.
The pass rush was able to apply some pressure, but couldn’t get home on sacks regularly. Sieler missed on two sack attempts, for example. This group will have to make some adjustments if Pierce misses any time.
All that said, Judon deserves major props. He made several tackles for a loss and played hungry today.
The linebacker trio of Josh Bynes, L.J. Fort and Patrick Onwuasor continue to play some really solid football. When you consider that two are veteran additions and one was a UDFA it really does look like a bargain bin for the Ravens.
The defensive line struggled at the point of attack, which made it really hard for the LB’s to get strong penetration, but they played quite well considering that. Bynes, in particular, was all over the field and seemed to be involved on almost every play. A solid day for the bargain bin (and no, that is not an insult in any way, shape or form)!
Defensive Backs: A
The addition of Marcus Peters may be one of the best trades in the history of the Baltimore Ravens. To think we got a stud starting-caliber corner for the cost of a linebacker that lost his starting spot for poor play, is truly remarkable. Peters took home another pick-six and Earl Thomas scooped up a forced fumble as the DB’s continue to make plays.
Ryan Findley isn’t a very good measuring stick in his first NFL game, but he was held to 16-of-30. Despite some chunk yards, it was a strong day for the DB’s.
Special Teams: B+
My god, Justin Tucker was scaring the crap out of me with those bending PAT’s. He wasn’t called on for any FG’s and the Ravens only had one punt, one punt return and one kickoff return, so it was a pretty boring day if you are on the team to play special teams.
The analytics debate has been a fun one for Ravens fans. John Harbaugh employed it again on a 4th and 3 and Lamar hit Mark Andrews for four yards. Since the Kansas City game, a lot of opinions have changed, but regardless, it seems to work more often than not. Harbaugh also deserves credit for bringing the Ravens to Cincy ready to rock and dominate a lesser opponent.
Wink Martindale and Greg Roman called great games and the Ravens dominated.