Can the Mark & Marq Bunch Be Stopped? Shawn Hubbard/Baltimore Ravens

Street Talk Can the Mark & Marq Bunch Be Stopped?

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The rising tide of Lamar Jackson’s record-setting day as a passer lifted all boats for the Ravens receivers. Pretty much everyone had a great day. Here are the stats from the Indy game:

Nine targeted players, a season high. Four players had 4+ targets; six had 3+.  For a receiving stats nerd, this box score is a joy.  The QB is throwing to all his eligible receivers, challenging the defense on every level. The big three are super productive, at over 11 yards-per-target, with Devin Duvernay expanding his role to fill in for Sammy Watkins after he left the game. Marquise Brown’s and Mark Andrews’ days are unbelievable.

Two players who got their first targets of the season on Monday were the RBs Devonta Freeman and Latavius Murray. Freeman was a big surprise to me. He’d gotten some criticism for how he looked through the first four games, but he was excellent out of the backfield Monday night, making many chain-moving plays in the Ravens comeback. He was a very productive receiving back for the Falcons back in 2015-17 (around the Kyle Shanahan era there). He led the league in combined TDs (rushing & receiving) in 2015. He looks like he can be a great asset as a 3rd-down & 2-minute back.

Ty’Son Williams also made a couple nice plays as a receiver.

Absent above is Project Pat Ricard.  He played a season-low 16 snaps on offense. The Ravens were behind all game; once they went to the hurry-up, there was no room on the field for a fullback.

There always seems to be some excuse for Lamar’s critics to devalue his accomplishments. Tuesday & Wednesday I was seeing on Twitter that Lamar only started passing well after Indy lost a couple Defensive Backs to injury during the game. If you see that, don’t fall for it, because it’s wrong. 

On Monday night the Ravens punted on their first four possessions of the game. Starting with their possession at the 4:20 mark in the second quarter, they went spread and had Lamar throw them back into the game  From that possession at Q2 4:20, through the end of the 3rd quarter, Lamar went:

15 of 17 (88%) for 206 yards (12.1 yds-per) with one 1 TD, for a passer rating of 136.8

That span was three drives:

  1. The first-half FG;
  2. The first 3rd-quarter possession where the Ravens drove from their own 9 to the Indy 1, before Lamar fumbled at the goal line; and
  3. The first touchdown (to Hollywood)

The Ravens’ other rushers ran four times for 11 yards in that span. Point being, Lamar was already playing amazing ball before Indy started losing DBs.

Here are the Ravens season receiving stats:

Hollywood an Andrews are playing out of their minds.  They’re both in the NFL’s top ten for receiving yards; 8th & 10th respectively. Marquise is on pace for 1400+ yards, in a 16-game season.  (They’ll play 17 this year, but I’m still projecting through 16 games because I am a stick-in-the-mud.) Andrews is on pace for almost 1300. Watkins is/was on pace for 900+, but he’s been held out of practice so far this week (hamstring). He may miss time.

James Proche has been hyper-efficient in a low-volume role. I think he’d have more targets in a dink & dunk scheme. But defenses have been crowding the box against the Ravens, which reduces the space for a slot WR to operate. Greg Roman has been calling more of a big-play passing offense, which means the speed guys get more work.

Remember, the NFL average yards-per-target last year was 7.55.  So everyone below that number in the chart would be “below average” in receiving efficiency. But Running Backs are always lower than Wide Receivers in that stat, so don’t hold them to the same standard.

Lamar is 5th in the NFL in passing yards; 4th in yards-per-attempt. He & Russell Wilson & Matt Stafford & Kyler Murray are the only QBs over 9.0 yards-per-attempt. Interestingly, the next two guys on the yards-per-attempt list are fellow AFC North QBs Joe Burrow & Baker Mayfield.

Next Up: Justin Herbert and the Chargers!  Joey Bosa and Derwin James figure to make the day interesting for the passing offense.

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About Jim ZipCode

Jim grew up with his dad taking him to a couple of Baltimore Colts games when he was a kid, and he caught the NFL bug watching the Epic in Miami. He suffered from heavy Mayflower van withdrawal symptoms, which were eased by the Terps basketball teams of the Gary Williams era. He's grateful to have the NFL back, and loves the Ravens. More from Jim ZipCode
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