Monday, November 30, 2020

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Twelve Ravens thoughts following Week 10 loss at New England

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Luke Jones
Luke Jones
Luke Jones is the Ravens and Orioles beat reporter for WNST BaltimorePositive.com and is a PFWA member. His mind is consumed with useless sports knowledge, pro wrestler promos, and movie quotes, but he struggles to remember where he put his phone. Luke's favorite sports memories include being one of the thousands of kids who waited to get Cal Ripken's autograph after Orioles games in the summer of 1995, attending the Super Bowl XXXV victory parade with his father in the pouring rain, and watching the Terps advance to the Final Four at the Carrier Dome in 2002. Follow him on Twitter @BaltimoreLuke or email him at Luke@wnst.net.

With the Ravens falling to 6-3 after the upset 23-17 loss at New England on Sunday night, I’ve offered a dozen thoughts, each in 50 words or less:

1. The elements were rough and the injuries substantial, but the Patriots beating Baltimore at its own game was deflating. The Ravens knew New England wanted to run the football and still couldn’t stop it. That’s a terrible feeling, especially against an otherwise inferior team.

2. Other miscues have drawn more attention, but giving up a 75-yard touchdown drive on just four plays to open the second half was as low as it’s gotten for the Ravens defense in quite some time. Where was the energy and toughness coming out of the locker room?

3. An offense that operates from the shotgun or pistol formation 97 percent of the time cannot continue with a center unable to snap the ball consistently well. Matt Skura understands that as much as anyone and has to be on a short leash at this point.

4. Skura’s snap was poor on the fourth-and-1 when Mark Ingram lined up in the Wildcat, but Greg Roman putting the ball in anyone’s hands there other than Lamar Jackson was overthinking it, especially in the rain. That was a more critical situation than running that against Houston in Week 2.   

5. It was an ugly night for Patrick Queen, who showed poor awareness in coverage and against the run. Playing a yard or two further away from the line of scrimmage didn’t seem to help him avoid blocks and led to him taking poor angles and making tackles too far downfield.

6. Marquise Brown has caught just six of 13 targets for 55 yards and a touchdown over the three games since the bye. As a former Raven noted on Twitter, the 2019 first-round pick doesn’t seem to be showing enough precision with his routes or urgency going after the ball.

7. Meanwhile, Willie Snead has emerged as Jackson’s most reliable target recently with 14 catches for 207 yards and two touchdowns since the bye. Snead and rookie Devin Duvernay getting more targets isn’t a bad thing at this point, especially with the need to divert some attention away from Mark Andrews.

8. I thought D.J. Fluker would raise the floor for a young group replacing Marshal Yanda, but he lost the right guard competition to a rookie who hadn’t been playing well before getting injured recently and was benched in favor of a backup center playing right tackle Sunday. That’s not encouraging.

9. The Ravens failed to score 20 points for the first time in a regular-season game since Jackson became the starter, but they extended their streak to four straight contests with an illegal formation penalty. It’s tough to expect improvement on the big stuff when you don’t correct the little things.

10. Jackson effectively used check-down throws on a few occasions, which was a positive for a passing game needing much improvement. Tailbacks were targeted seven times for 59 yards against the Patriots after seeing throws come their way just 29 times over the first eight games.

11. With Terrell Bonds being the latest reserve cornerback to suffer an injury, you wonder if Eric DeCosta and John Harbaugh have discussed keeping Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters in bubble wrap at this point. Both were shaken up during Sunday’s game, but only Humphrey missed a few snaps.

12. Nick Boyle’s season-ending knee injury was brutal to watch, but I noticed ex-Ravens teammate Lawrence Guy was the first player from either team to immediately signal to the Baltimore sideline for the medical staff to get to Boyle. It’s a sobering experience for both teams when something like that occurs.

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