Another week, another tough game to swallow. That’s two really hard losses to watch in a row, and it doesn’t get any easier with a Thursday night rematch with the 10-0 Pittsburgh Steelers looming.
It’s easy to get down on yourselves, but you just have to show up to practice, get ready and get back out there. It sounds simplistic, but that’s the reality of the NFL. No time to hang your heads, folks.
It’s hard to truly breakdown the issues with this offense and that’s mostly because there’s just too many little things that lead to the dysfunction we’re seeing. On one play it’ll be a bad throw, on the next it’s a drop on a good throw, then it’s bad blocking on the offensive line and it goes on, and on, and on.
This type of inconsistency is tough to fix. As a unit, they just look out of sorts compared to the well-oiled machine that marched the field last year.
As much as we can say ‘defenses have figured them out,’ I’m not sure that truly grasps what we’re seeing. The defense has no impact on some of the penalties or plays where the offense doesn’t seem on the same page with the play call, which we now see week in and week out.
Dysfunctional is the best word to describe it. The talent is there, but the execution is not.
Jackson on Jackson: C-
Throwing Andrews open.
I'll note the personnel here. Ravens have both Ricard and a 6th OL (Skura). These are heavy run tells. So they run PA, and hit an easy TD.
— KingMoose (@Yoshi2052) November 22, 2020
However, it came with too many warts to be comfortable with. The main issue in this game seemed to be getting the ball out on time. He had Andrews and Hollywood Brown open for touchdowns, but didn’t get the ball out soon enough and it led to contested catches on what should have been easy grabs.
Lamar is late. Once he held the ball too long (let the safety recover), Dez is open in the flat. Pull the trigger on time or take the easy gain (#Ravens scored anyway because Lamar hit Andrews on the 5 verts play).
— KingMoose (@Yoshi2052) November 22, 2020
This one in particular strings. We’ve been waiting for Brown to get the deep ball going and it looks like his speed worked. If that ball is thrown on time, Brown just simply runs onto it. It came out late and the DB was able to catch up with the end zone boundary acting as a blockade.
Simply put, Jackson needs to play better. The potential is there, but the execution isn’t right now.
Running back: B+
Well, it’s officially time to unleash J.K. Dobbins. One quick glance would make you think it was a prime Ray Rice in that number 27 jersey. Dobbins is explosive, runs with precision, has great vision and the contact balance grabs yards that just aren’t there. I think it’s time to start Dobbins and use Gus Edwards as the change-of-pace hammer that can also churn out some yards.
I love Mark Ingram and he did a ton for this squad, but at this point you have to get your best guy on the field and, right now, that’s Dobbins.
Wide Receiver and Tight End: B-
As I mentioned, this is a tough one with the complexity of the offense. Brown had a really bad drop, which plays a role, but this was the first game in a while where guys were getting open. Not on every play and that bumps the grade down, but on enough to make big plays. Andrews had one of his best games of the year and if Lamar hits him over the middle after that poor spot cost the team an important first down, that’s probably the ball game. Alas, this was another instance where Lamar hesitated (you can see him clutch before the throw).
Dez Bryant also made a very positive impact and I personally felt at the end of Q4 before Justin Tucker tied the game, they should have went to him for a red zone look. He’s not the fastest guy in the world, but he’s till 6’3 and you know he’ll fight for the ball. Throw it to his back shoulder where only he can get it on that 3rd down. If its not caught and thrown safely, well you’re in the same position, but at least you shot your shot.
Overall, I think Matt Wise sums up the WR’s on a broader scale.
There's no question.
The elephants, as far as getting production out of your weapons, in the room are Brown & Boykin.
When Bryant outproduces both of them combined, there's an issue.
— Matt Wise (@TheMattWise) November 23, 2020
The Ravens need more from Brown and Miles Boykin. Zero catches between the two and no targets for Boykin when both are in Year 2 is just not good any way you look at it.
Offensive Line: C+
If there was one area of improvement, it was the offensive line. Patrick Mekari at C seemed to make a bigger impact in the run game and the Ravens were able to move some bodies. In pass protection, the real issues continues to be RT, where Will Holden and D.J. Fluker struggled in different ways. I think Holden played better, especially in the pass game, but he also made a costly false start penalty. Mekari’s snaps were better, but on the drive-killing false start on Dez in the final minute, it looked like Patrick was a beat ahead of the entire rest of the team (Jackson wasn’t expecting the ball yet).
It’s tough to wonder what this OL would look like right now if Ronnie Stanley was healthy and Brown was at his RT spot. The Bozeman-Mekari-Powers interior combined with those two could be pretty solid.
It was a tale of two halves for the defense. In the first half, they were able to clamp down on Derrick Henry and contain him, but in the second half – and especially the fourth quarter and OT – he just seemed to get better and better.
It’s tough without Brandon Williams and Calais Campbell, especially with how well Derek Wolfe played, but the Titans had enough injuries on their offensive line that we should have been able to get more penetration.
The real issue down the stretch was tackling. Watching A.J. Brown (another Year 2 WR, btw) run through four guys is just humiliating.
Defensive Line: B
Wolfe was a beast in this game. He made numerous plays and seemed to be penetrating almost every play. If Campbell and Williams are out there, I think Henry does even less which forces longer 3rd downs for the Titans. That’s really the key to beating them. Tannehill operates really well on 3rd and short/mid with his ability to use his legs, which I find very underrated. He’s not fast, but he’s smart with when he chooses to use them.
I expected a bit more pass rush from the interior with Roger Saffold out and Ben Jones also exiting the game, but that’s usually how it goes and not having Campbell certainly hurts that aspect.
Patrick Queen had a bit of a bounce back game. He still had some rough pass coverages, but in the run game he was a lot more decisive with his reads. Malik Harrison also stood out and sniffed out a screen with a pro-caliber read that would make Terrell Suggs proud.
Harrison with a fantastic play. Tackles Henry while fighting off block from Jones. #Ravens were vulnerable to the screen here (2 lead blockers and a lot of open space), but a great individual effort snuffed it out. Bowser intercepted Tannehill 2 plays later.#RavensFlock pic.twitter.com/oK9GXUrAiJ
— KingMoose (@Yoshi2052) November 23, 2020
Harrison continues to get better every week and his instincts are starting to shine. Both Queen and Harrison need to get better in pass coverage, but that’s usually the biggest learning curve for any rookie LB and it’s highlighted even more so when you have two on the field together for enough snaps.
Defensive Backs: D+
It felt like Marcus Peters and Chuck Clark were getting picked on in this game. Clark, in particular struggled to cover Anthony Firkser who was picking up first downs on basic in-route’s over the middle of the field.
The real story with the DBs was tackling though. Several first downs were gained from missed tackles, and of course, the Brown TD came off missed tackles from four Ravens. I won’t show a clip as I don’t want to traumatize anyone any further.
Special Teams: B+
Another week, another stout performance from the Wolf Pack.
The only blemish on this one was the punt fake that worked for the Titans. I went back and re-watched it and I really have to hand it to them. Logan Woodside threw a perfect ball, but the release by the Titans gunner was pretty much perfect. He sold it enough to get Levine to flip his hips, but even in that Levine came back and made it a contested catch. Credit the Titans on the execution; good throw, good contested catch. Easy to be frustrated with the Ravens, but Levine played it well; the Titans just played it better.
The real thing that sticks out with the play calling was the overtime approach on offense.
Not a good look.
— Cole Jackson (@ColeJacksonRSR) November 22, 2020
That’s just too generic and set up a 3rd and long for the Ravens. They ran the ball on first down way too often in this one and it bit them in the overtime, as the Titans stepped up. The play-action on 2nd down really is what frustrated me. It fooled no one and it just has no value add in that situation.
You know when you are playing Madden, call an all-out blitz, and know as soon as you see that run fake that you’re gonna have a sack? Yeah, that.
Greg Roman’s pass scheme did look better. Guys were getting open, which is what fans wanted. However, passes weren’t made.
I think today is a good look at some of the play design questions.
I can think of 3 throws (Holly, Andrews both shoukd have been TD + Andrews deep gain in the MOF in Q4)
The big thing about those 3 is the scheme got them open.
Lamar just missed.
— Cole Jackson (@ColeJacksonRSR) November 23, 2020
I didn’t have a huge issue with the defensive game plan. I think Wink Martindale called a good game, but again it comes down to execution. If guys make some of these tackles then we’re in a lot better shape. I’m not sure you can really point to the play calling as the reason why the Titans made plays. Guys were in a position to make plays.
As for Coach Harbaugh, I absolutely loved seeing some fire and him stick up for his guys at the start of the game during the center of field kafuffle.
I have to go to Derek Wolfe in this game. I thought he played his best game as a Raven and it was the definition of stepping up as he did it with Campbell and Williams out. Honorable mention goes to Mark Andrews.