Five in a row, boys and girls. The Baltimore Ravens have won five regular season games in a row, something that they haven’t done since 2006. Amid fan fears that they would become complacent after a huge victory over the Patriots, the Ravens absolutely decimated the Bengals. As always, it wasn’t a perfect win, and in this article, we’ll explore what went right (a lot), what went wrong (some), and what went really wrong (one thing).
Let’s just go ahead and throw the entire offense in this category, because there wasn’t a single weakness on display. Baltimore started off aggressively, with Lamar Jackson bombing a 47-yard pass to rookie Marquise Brown on the first play. Brown unfortunately tripped, only gaining two yards after the catch. If he hadn’t tripped, the Ravens would’ve scored on the first play of the game. It was over from there, with the offense amassing a total of 379 total yards with five scores. The rushing attack broke free for 136 yards and a score. The tight end law firm of Boyle, Andrews, and Hurst caught 12-of-13 targets for 151 yards and two scores (both by Andrews). They even rolled out the ‘Heisman Package,’ a triple-speed option play that involved Mark Ingram, Robert Griffin, and of course Lamar Jackson that resulted in a first down by Griffin.
And let’s not forget the defense. They outscored the Bengals by themselves (14-13) thanks to another Marcus Peters pick-six (89 yards), and a 33-yard fumble return by… Tyus Bowser? Weird. Matthew Judon had more snaps in the Bengals’ backfield than Joe Mixon did. Jaylon Ferguson showed speed and heart all day, chasing Ryan Finley from the pocket and registering a couple of tackles. The re-imagined secondary showed why they’re worthy of the title ‘best in the league,’ allowing a whopping 167 yards on 30 attempts.
There was one thing wrong with the defense, though…
The Bengals out-rushed the Ravens on Sunday. Mixon had 114 of those yards (edited from an earlier version that stated Cincinnati had nearly six yards per carry). The Ravens had the second-ranked run defense coming into this game, so what happened?
Michael Pierce got injured on the first defensive series of the game for Baltimore. Look back at the games where Brandon Williams was out – the run defense was atrocious. Same thing happened on Sunday. The Ravens have to find an option behind the big boys, especially if these dings-and-dents are going to keep happening to Williams or Pierce. The entire game changes when you can’t stop the run – at least against good teams. The fact that the Bengals got 150+ on the ground should speak volumes as to the need for better run-stop without those two.
Judon did have three tackles for loss, which is nice to see, but all-in-all the linebackers struggled against the run on Sunday. With opponents coming up that could very well be playing with a lead, and running the ball, Pierce needs to come back – or the defense needs to figure it out.
Honestly, I’m just mad that the Ravens didn’t score at least fifty points on the Bengals.
Other than that, nothing to report.
The Marie Avgeropoulos
One, I want you to know, I changed the celebrity this week just to see who could say her last name. Two, it’s recency bias.
You all know who’s going here. The MVP. The most electric player in the NFL. The quarterback who’s quickly becoming a meme every week, with his out-of-this-world plays.
This week was no different, with a 47-yard touchdown run that was straight out of Madden. Don’t believe me? Well first, you’ve been under a rock since Sunday if you haven’t seen this play, and if you have seen it, you haven’t seen it enough, so here it is:
Go ahead and make that a gif before the NFL strips it from YouTube because you can’t use our videos blah blah.
Here’s the thing, though. Lamar was better through the air than he was on the ground. He went 15-of-17. The two incompletions were a spike to stop the clock, and a drop. He got his second perfect passer rating this season, becoming just the second quarterback in history to ever do it. He threw for three scores. Two of those came within his first 11 passes, all of which were completed.
‘He can’t pass from the pocket’ they said. 70% of his passes completed on Sunday were from the pocket.
‘Defenses will figure him out’ they said. Week 10. He’s 13-3 as a starter in the regular season. Not a single regular season defense has ‘figured him out.’ Not even after the Chargers laid the ‘blueprint’ last year in the Wild Card.
Enough is enough. If a ‘wait-and-see’ guy like myself, who enjoyed all the running back jokes, can buy in on Lamar Jackson, anybody can. If you can’t, you’re one of three things.
- Come on. You know what I’m about to say.
That’s it for me, folks. Enjoy your victory week, and let’s move on to the Texans! Deshaun Watson. Lamar Jackson. Absolutely electric.
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