Subscribe to our newsletter

Tale of the Tape: Here’s How to Move the Ball without Bateman

Tale of the Tape Bucs
Share
Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Reading Time: 4 minutes

It may not feel like it, especially on the heels of losing Rashod Bateman for the season, but the Ravens offense had a pulse against the Buccaneers a week ago, at least for a half and largely due to a switch to the run game and a perfect 8/8 passing performance from Lamar Jackson.

I have enough analysis on Jackson alone for another article, so for now let’s focus on the playcalling and individual players who helped Baltimore flip the switch in Tampa Bay.

Without Bateman around, Greg Roman has just one reliable target who can consistently win his matchups/routes: Mark Andrews. Devin Duvernay is certainly a weapon, and a combination of Demarcus Robinson, Isaiah Likely and yes, even James Proche, can be tertiary threats.

None but Andrews is an elite receiving threat, though, so Roman will need to help his skill players out by scheming them open and forcing Jackson to take easy throws.

One way to do that is the good ol’ run-pass option, or RPO. Jackson is typically pretty sharp on RPOs, and his legs allow him to get out of trouble, too. It’s so easy to hit defenses for quick yards on early downs in the first half, which is when Roman dialed up this one.

Roman then started to go to his RPOs more often in the second half, to a ton of success. The threat of the Ravens’ run game is enough to pull in defenders and open up cleaner windows for Jackson and more space for his targets on the other end.

Jackson is becoming more comfortable with Duvernay, especially on these plays. He even finds him as the second read on the second play above.

Roman still gets a little predictable, but this is where Jackson’s legs are a Get-Out-Of-Jail-Free card. Jackson probably should have handed this off, anyway.

Jackson tries to make up for that mistake on the next play, but could have gone to Likely in the flat with Ricard leading the way and plenty of space.

Justice Hill doesn’t care, though! He continues an inspiring comeback season by shaking off four would-be tacklers on his way to pick up five to set up a 3rd-and-short.

I would also be extremely remiss to not shout-out Josh Oliver again, who is blocking – no, not just blocking, physically owning – a 270-pound defensive lineman on this play. Sheesh.

Roman will also need to continue unleashing Duvernay as a multi-threat offensive weapon. Let’s go back to the Browns game, when Duvernay spent most of the first half being used as a decoy motion man. Roman knew that Cleveland did their homework and would be looking for Duvernay on jet sweeps. So he (smartly) uses Duv as a decoy in the first half and the Browns key on him for positive run plays in the other direction. Good!

But Roman (mind-numbingly) never takes advantage of what he’s set up, as the Browns defense stops keying on Duvernay and instead stuffs the run game with Duvernay left as a useless decoy. Bad!

Fast-forward to Tampa Bay, and Roman deploys Duvernay similarly in the first half, with plenty of threatening motion but never actually calling his number. Then the Ravens come out in the second half, and Roman immediately goes to his playmaker.

The margins are tight on this screen – on every screen, really – but Jackson just gets it off to a waiting Duvernay with *checks notes* Patrick Ricard and Isaiah Likely leading the way. That’s 550 pounds of lead blockers against defensive backs. You tell me how that one goes.

But who needs a fullback and tight end lead blocking when you have Gus Edwards and Demarcus Robinson blocking their butts off? Edwards takes out Devin White and Mike Edwards in one block, while Robinson uses a filthy outside vertical release to take his defender way downfield before locking in his block.

In both plays, Duvernay accelerates so quickly that defenders can never get a good angle in pursuit; it’s what makes him such an effective returner. Roman has finally started to intentionally feature this in the Ravens offense, and it’s been one of their best go-to’s all year.

Roman keeps things a little tricky by calling a screen with Duvernay off the field and targeting Robinson instead. Again, Likely and Oliver are blocking mismatches for defensive backs and Robinson seems pretty comfortable in open space. Something to explore further, perhaps?

It also kind of looks like an RPO, but Kenyan Drake makes a really smart play. Many thought this looked like a miscommunication that just happened to turn out well watching live, but that’s not it. Drake sees, maybe even pre-snap, that the screen is the right read and trusts that Jackson will make it, maybe having also already recognized it. That considered, Drake knows he won’t be taking a handoff and instead tries to protect his QB and his throwing window. A savvy, veteran, heads-up play!

And finally, to cap off the Ravens’ 4th-quarter scoring drive that gave them a lead they would not relinquish, Roman goes back to the Duvernay (runs really) well one last time.

The Bucs defense, especially Antoine Winfield, is somewhat ready for it, but the Ravens execute too well. Stanley, Powers and Linderbaum all downblock with Zeitler pulling and looking for second-level work. Ricard gets upfield off the snap and combines with Likely – who drew his man inside – to light up Devin White. Hill avoids a block-in-the-back and Duvernay does the rest. He is able to maintain a high speed when he turns the corner to go upfield and his subtle cut at the 15 is really what secures the end zone.

I’ll have a lot more on Jackson specifically in the coming days, so I’ll just add a few clips with brief analysis on the run game.

Solid OL play, great blocking from skill players and the ball carrying threats of Jackson, Duvernay and Edwards plus effective running from Hill and Drake can absolutely carry this team to the playoffs. From there, well, that first name and his arm get a lot more important.

Tyler Huntley at practice
Injury Report

Injury Report: Ravens @ Steelers (Wednesday)

Ravens Did Not Participate: WR Devin Duvernay (NIR-rest); QB Lamar Jackson (knee); CB Marcus Peters (NIR-rest); DE Calais Campbell (NIR-rest); OL Morgan Moses (NIR-rest); G …

Read More →
Ravens Steelers OTL
Out To Lunch

OTL: Steelers Hate Week Finally Upon Us

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, happy Wednesday! It’s not just any Wednesday, however, because the Baltimore Ravens play the Pittsburgh Steelers this week! That’s …

Read More →
Street Talk

Here Come the Bengals

The Ravens are going to have to hold off the Bengals over the final five weeks of the season.  The teams are tied for first …

Read More →
Harbaugh WTF OTL
Out To Lunch

OTL: Ravens Too Complacent with Ugly Wins?

Growing up playing a lot of sports, I got used to the concept of carrying bumps and bruises. After particularly rough outings, I might feel …

Read More →
Greg Roman entering M&T Bank Stadium
Street Talk

We All Need to Step it The Flock Up

I’m not here to defend the job performance of Greg Roman. The lightning-rod offensive coordinator has authored some tremendous offensive performances during his tenure in …

Read More →
Street Talk

These Are The 3 Basic Bet Types In NFL

There’s no denying the fact that the NFL is among the most popular sports on the planet. The viewership statistics are there to prove that, …

Read More →
Injury Report

Injury Report: Ravens @ Steelers (Wednesday)

Ravens Did Not Participate: WR Devin Duvernay (NIR-rest); QB Lamar Jackson (knee); CB Marcus Peters (NIR-rest); DE Calais Campbell (NIR-rest); OL Morgan Moses (NIR-rest); G …

Read More →
Out To Lunch

OTL: Steelers Hate Week Finally Upon Us

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, happy Wednesday! It’s not just any Wednesday, however, because the Baltimore Ravens play the Pittsburgh Steelers this week! That’s …

Read More →
Street Talk

Here Come the Bengals

The Ravens are going to have to hold off the Bengals over the final five weeks of the season.  The teams are tied for first …

Read More →
Out To Lunch

OTL: Ravens Too Complacent with Ugly Wins?

Growing up playing a lot of sports, I got used to the concept of carrying bumps and bruises. After particularly rough outings, I might feel …

Read More →
Street Talk

We All Need to Step it The Flock Up

I’m not here to defend the job performance of Greg Roman. The lightning-rod offensive coordinator has authored some tremendous offensive performances during his tenure in …

Read More →
Street Talk

These Are The 3 Basic Bet Types In NFL

There’s no denying the fact that the NFL is among the most popular sports on the planet. The viewership statistics are there to prove that, …

Read More →
Don’t Miss Anything at RSR. Subscribe Here!
Latest posts
Join our newsletter and get 20% discount
Promotion nulla vitae elit libero a pharetra augue