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Bounce Back in BMore Phil Hoffmann/Baltimore Ravens

Report Card Bounce Back in BMore

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It was a crucial ‘get right’ game for the Ravens. An inferior opponent coming to town with some obvious limitations. While the defense didn’t dominate in this one, the offense absolutely did. 

They completed step 1 in the Bounce Back Plan (I should trademark that) and now it’s onto the Cleveland Browns for a massive MNF matchup. Before that let’s check in on each units performance. 

Offense

Overall: A-

A big piece of context here is the fact that the Cowboys do not have a good defense; specifically they have the worst rush defense in the league.

However, you need to dominate those units and that’s what the Ravens did. They pulled off several splash plays that they converted for six points, including a 37-yard rushing TD from Lamar Jackson, 38-yard pass TD to Miles Boykin and a 20-yard TD to Marquise Brown. Combine those with absolute domination on the ground, and I’ll say it’s a darn good performance even if the opposing unit is weak.

Jackson on Jackson: B

I think Lamar Jackson is going to take a little bit of heat here, but let’s be clear about one thing. Jackson only missed a handful of throws in this contest. The issue, however, is that when he missed, he missed bad. That said, when he made throws, he threw dimes. It’s the inconsistency that we can all agree we do not want to see.

However, I have found Lamar tentative to scramble leading up to this contest and he had no issues in this one. As per @Yoshi2052, Lamar had five scrambles in this contest, four of which went for first downs and three of those were 3rd down conversions. In other words, he did what he had to do to secure a win and he had the splash 37-yard counter bash run for a TD. He also gets bonus points for waving the punt team off on 4th down before taking that one to the house.

Was it perfect? No.

Can he improve? Yup.

But he made the splash plays that he needed to make. Good, not great game for me coming off the COVID list with minimal practice.

Running back: A

I think the only thing holding me back from an A+ here is the fact that were was only one RB TD (I mean we have to leave room for a BIG game, right?). This was what we all wanted from the RB group though. We wanted a fresh rotation that would just continually gash teams.

Classic example of dominating a bad unit, but that’s a great sign for me. Gus Edwards and J.K. Dobbins both pulled off large chunk runs and even Mark Ingram got his in the 4th quarter. I feel very good about this group moving forward.

Wide Receiver and Tight End: B-

Cue the dramatic emotional adjustment on Hollywood Brown. It was a rough start to the game for Brown who tipped up an INT attempt on a not-great throw, but I think he could have made a better effort on the ball. He also failed to get his feet down on a sideline route. However, he heard the smack talk and curled off a deep toe drag TD catch that was reminiscent of his miraculous toe drag swag against the NYJ last year on Thursday Night Football. Hopefully that’s the beginning of Lamar and Hollywood rekindling their connection.

Getting Mark Andrews back is crucial, as his presence in the middle of the field was sorely missing. Big shout out to Miles Boykin who got some YAC and scored on an easy broken coverage, but hey make the plays that are given to you.

Offensive Line: A-

The Ravens came out with another new starting offensive line combination with Patrick Mekari in at C and Tyre Phillips at RT. D.J. Fluker did take snaps at RT in this one too. However, it was a solid performance from the line. They protected Lamar well and while he did have to create on his own, he also worked off blocks being made by the line. The Cowboys were held without a sack and they didn’t have a QB hit either.

The run blocking was the story here. It’s been tough to get push at the LOS, but they beat up on an inferior opponent. Ben Powers is really settling into a starting role and looks like the player we all believed he could be. He may not give up that RG spot. Mekari and Bradley Bozeman worked well on a number of plays and Orlando Brown Jr. and Fluker (when in) made some impact blocks.

After Dobbins’ TD, Brown Jr. went up to the camera and said “easy money.” You ain’t lying Zeus Jr: 7.9 yards per carry for 294 yards on the ground is the definition of easy money.

Defense

Overall: C

A C after only allowing 17 points seems a little harsh, but it all lines up with expectations. I really expected the team to exploit a miserable offensive line and use some deceptive blitzes to get to Andy Dalton early and often.

There was very little of that, as they went with a bland bend-but-dont break approach. Greg Zuerlein missing three kicks also aided the points against.

Defensive Line: C-

The Cowboys were on their 15th offensive line combination of the year last night, which included several players with limited experience and a UDFA RT who hasn’t been particularly good. This should have been a dominant performance and, while the Ravens players made some plays (I see you Derek Wolfe), it just wasn’t the performance I expected.

Calais Campbell didn’t look 100%, and it’s hard to blame him. He’s coming off an ankle injury and off of COVID as a person who also has asthma. Brandon Williams looked stout holding his ground and Wolfe made plays. The lack of depth is hurting the Ravens as rookies Justin Madubuike and Broderick Washington were inactive last night.

The key here is getting healthy. The Browns boast one of the best offensive lines in the league and this group needs to be healthy to counter their rushing game.

Linebackers: C+

I made it clear going into this one that I had high expectation for Yannick Ngakoue. I thought he could have some incredible production against Terrence Steele and Brandon Knight. He absolutely got pressure and he was close on a strip sack about three different times. However, he didn’t register a QB hit or a sack, so it’s a ‘close but no cigar’ situation in a matchup he should have dominated.

Patrick Queen and L.J. Fort were solid making plays on the ball, but the middle of the field got a soft at times and they struggled keeping linemen off them when the Cowboys ran zone. Queen did finally get an INT after multiple close calls this year, so that’s a bonus.

Defensive Backs: C

I’ve commented on the approach of the CBs a few times in recent weeks where they seem to be playing off man a little more than in the past. You have to wonder if it’s because they’re trying to navigate the injuries and they don’t mind giving up some yards to limit the big plays. It’s the old ‘bend but don’t break,’ and to their credit it has worked in the last two weeks.

That said, this group just has a higher potential than that. The Cowboys boast a trio of really solid WRs and Andy Dalton played a pretty good game, but the strength of this team is the DBs so 285 yards passing just stings. Most notably, Dalton had a pretty low yard per attempt, but that was due to the soft play. It looked to be by design, but it’s still not great to see.

Special Teams: C

The special teams have been boring lately for all the right reasons. They’ve been solid and the only takeaway has been some key big plays.

However, they had a few gaffes on Tuesday. Justin Tucker missed a 36-yard field goal and they allowed Tony Pollard to get loose on a kickoff return that got deep in the Ravens territory.

On the plus side, James Proche looks like a very solid punt returner.

Coaching: C+

John Harbaugh did a good job getting the guys ready, especially when they were still getting guys back from the COVID list. Jackson may have called the punt team off on the 4th down TD, but credit Harbaugh for not overriding his QB and letting him do his thing.

Overall, it was a weaker performance from both coordinators. Greg Roman missed quite a few opportunities to take some PA deep shots that would have married well with the run game. I’m all for dominating on the ground, but the Cowboys were stacking the box and as we saw from Boykin’s TD, we could have gotten in behind them.

Wink Martindale seemed okay with a conservative approach, which I do understand because they were playing an inferior opponent with some guys just returning to the team and injuries in the secondary, but I wanted more aggression.

Game Ball      

The game ball gets split between multiple guys and that’s the entire offensive line. I wanted to see them dominate and they did. Kudos for a big bounce back from the big boys up front.

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About Cole Jackson

Cole Jackson has been an avid follower of the Baltimore Ravens for over a decade. Born and raised in Brockville, Ontario, Canada, Cole’s love for the Ravens was born and bred in following the playing style of Ray Lewis, which he tried to emulate in his own football career, (ultimately failing to do so). Cole graduated from the University of Ottawa with a degree in Criminology before becoming a Policy Analyst with the federal government. Cole’s football career now involves being a columnist for RSR, yelling at others who are beating him in Madden and being a regular on the RSR forum where he is known as GreatWhiteNorthRaven. Cole has a knack for the team-building aspects of the Ravens, which includes player scouting, free agency and the draft. More from Cole Jackson
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