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Ravens Climb to (3-1) at Quarter Pole

Judon
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Expectations are high for the 2020 Baltimore Ravens and as such, an expected win against a down-trodden franchise without a name fails to serve up much excitement. But the Ravens did check the box next to Washington and boarded their bus home with a 31-17 win. The win enables John Harbaugh’s troops to keep pace with the (3-1) Cleveland Browns and remain a half-game off the pace set by the Steelers (3-0) in the AFC North.

The Ravens will now prepare to host the Cincinnati Bengals as 14-point favorites. But before we turn our attention towards Joe Burrow & Co., let’s assess yesterday’s performance from a team that isn’t quite as good as they were down the stretch in 2019, but certainly better than the team we reviewed at the quarter pole last season, where they sat at (2-2).

THE GOOD

Lamar Jackson makes a “WOW” play at least once per game and Sunday was no exception when he rambled for 50 yards for an electrifying score. He also delivered two very nice balls into the waiting hands of Mark Andrews for touchdowns, the big TE’s third and fourth of the campaign. Lamar looked a little frenetic early on and lacked a patience in the pocket. He also overshot Marquise Brown and Myles Boykin on consecutive plays when deep ball opportunities presented themselves…Marquise had 4 catches for 86 yards but it could have been a lot more…the left side of the Ravens offensive front was solid. Orlando Brown, Jr.’s effort was efficient save for the false start and Bradley Bozeman turned in solid effort, particularly as the lead blocker on Lamar’s 50 yard scamper…Pat Ricard had a destructive lead block on Mark Ingram’s 1-yard scoring run.

Patrick Queen was excellent around the line of scrimmage supporting the run. He led the Ravens with 12 tackles, 3 for losses. His play in coverage still needs work however. He also got caught in the wash on a couple of screens…Calais Campbell chipped in with two more passes defensed. He did miss Derek Wolfe a bit who eats up blockers and helps put Calais in one-on-one opportunities…Tyus Bowser was active off the edge, contributing two tackles for loss, one on a screen and another on a backside run…Marlon Humphrey had yet another strip and finished plays with efficient tackling to negate YAC…DeShon Elliott was also a vicious tackler twice dropping receivers short of the sticks to force punts.

Special teams were solid all around. Justin Tucker was perfect and he successfully dropped in a couple of kickoffs at the 3-yard line as if he was Phil Mickelson with a pitching wedge. The kicks pinned the Redskins inside the 20…Sam Koch netted 48 yards on 3 punts while averaging 47 yards on the punts. That’s an indication that coverage was outstanding. Koch also flashed his high school QB skills when he connected with Boykin on a 15 yard completion off a fake punt. Making the successful fake even more impressive was the timing on Koch’s throw which was in the air before the receiver’s break in. Koch is now 7-for-7 passing during his NFL career…James Proche did a really nice job securing the onsides kick following the Redskins last TD.

THE BAD

D.J. Fluker had two holding calls…Tyre Phillips looked lost at times in run blocking and was overpowered at other times in pass pro…The Ravens have lost a bit of their offensive identity as part of an to expand their passing game. The running backs lack defined roles and you have to wonder if one was called on to be the featured back if the rushing attack could develop a better rhythm.

Pernell McPhee has struggled to shed blocks all season. Yesterday was no different and he’s morphing into a complete non-factor…Jimmy Smith’s role is developing but the results aren’t all that great thus far. He’s struggling to stay with tight ends and yields a step or two creating an open window for opposing QBs…Marcus Peters shies away from tackling but yesterday that didn’t keep him from tugging on opponents before the ball was thrown. He was flagged twice early in the game for holding.

THE UGLY

Dwayne Haskins threw for a season-high 314 yards against a secondary that played soft and one that allowed far too many yards after the catch. According to PFF.com, 67% of Haskins’ passing yards were the result of YAC. A good portion of those YAC totals can be credited to the Redskins efficient screen plays – or is that the Ravens poor defense of them? … The communication between Lamar and Boykin needs to be cleaned up. That INT towards the end of the first half should never have happened and the brunt of the blame falls on the second-year former Golden Domer…Oh, and that RGIII pass late in the fourth.

THE MO GABA

He’s been getting close in previous games but not quite landing home. On Sunday, Matt Judon took down Dwayne Haskins twice and disrupted his comfort zone on several other occasions. Hopefully this game will represent a building block and he can be as menacing against the Bengals rookie signal caller Joe Burrow on Sunday at The Bank. Yesterday, Judon played like the franchise tag player he is.

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