I’m not even going to try to sugarcoat it: last night was a rough game for our Ravens. But hey, I try to be a positive guy, and I’m sure you don’t want to spend your lunch break reading about calls to fire Greg Roman or cut Sammy Watkins, both of which are colossally stupid ideas.
There will be plenty of time to talk about playcalling and big plays with 10 days before Baltimore’s next game, so let’s focus on the (precious few) positives from last night’s game, and many more from the Ravens this season.
Let’s start with rookie wideout Rashod Bateman, who had another solid game on Thursday night, finishing with six catches for 80 yards and a team-high 77.2 offensive grade from PFF.
Rashod Bateman vs Dolphins
🔹 8 targets
🔹 6 catches
🔹 80 yards
Is the rookie WR breaking out? 👀 pic.twitter.com/4dTmEWhyhI
— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) November 12, 2021
He’s averaging 60 yards per game this season, and I still think we’re only seeing the tip of the iceberg from him. He’s looked great over the middle on a variety of digs, slants and crossers, but he made a great catch down the sideline yesterday as well. Bateman destroyed his man off the line and Lamar put a throw right on the money to secure a big chunk of yardage. Bateman’s hands going both across the middle and towards the sideline are going to be key against future blitz packages like the Dolphins showed last night.
We will 🤞🏽 https://t.co/VHyYWVrUJC
— Rashod Bateman (@R_bateman2) November 12, 2021
If he delivers on his promise to get better, the Ravens are going to have two WR1s on their hands.
Justin Houston now has 100 sacks in his career 👏
He is one of four active players to reach that mark. pic.twitter.com/XCY0LiZWiZ
— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) November 12, 2021
Houston finally got his 100th sack, which he’s been tortuously close to multiple times ever since reaching 99.5 against the Colts. Campbell was up to his usual game-wrecking, while Bynes and Queen again played a solid game anchoring the middle of the defense. Tavon Young looked great before his injury; I’m just hoping that he’s not hurt too bad.
Which brings me to my next point: injuries! Yes, Young left the game and didn’t return, but he was questionable to return and hopefully his injury isn’t major. Chris Westry finally came back from his Week 1 injury and looked solid in coverage. He could be a big boost to this secondary, especially if he can help them give up fewer big plays.
THIS. IS. THURSDAY. NIGHT. FOOTBALL. pic.twitter.com/c4ErIaObev
— Ian Hartitz (@Ihartitz) November 12, 2021
Returns are on the horizon for other players. Nick Boyle could be a key addition to this offense, especially against the blitz, and Derek Wolfe will bring more consistency to an interior defensive line that put up two solid games in a row this week. Latavius Murray and Patrick Mekari will probably be late November additions, and I’d still love to see more of rookies Ben Cleveland and Daelin Hayes this season.
Ravens rookie third-round guard Ben Cleveland is working out on the field. He's been designated to return from IR, but wasn't activated in time to play tonight. He's moving around well, suggesting he could be an option for the Bears game in 10 days.
— Jeff Zrebiec (@jeffzrebiec) November 11, 2021
With that, I’ll leave you to the rest of your Friday. But be sure to do something nice for yourself this weekend; we all deserve it after last night.