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A Pre-Weekend Palate Cleanser

Justin Houston OTL2
original photo: Shawn Hubbard/Baltimore Ravens
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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.

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.

If he delivers on his promise to get better, the Ravens are going to have two WR1s on their hands.

Despite the big play, the defense played a pretty solid game last night, especially these five guys: Justin Houston, Calais Campbell, Josh Bynes, Patrick Queen and Tavon Young.

 

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.

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.

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.

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