Twelve Ravens thoughts following Week 11 win at Chicago

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With the Ravens improving to 7-3 for the fourth time in team history with a 16-13 win over Chicago on Sunday afternoon, I’ve offered a dozen thoughts, each in 50 words or less:

1. Baltimore averaged a season-low 3.9 yards per play, but Tyler Huntley saved his best work for the game-winning drive. It mirrored his preseason growth in which he started camp trailing Trace McSorley on the depth chart and was the clear backup to Lamar Jackson by summer’s end. Awesome for him.

2. Despite having the NFL’s second-lowest blitz rate, the Bears blitzed on 64% of Huntley’s dropbacks. Chicago likely turned up the heat even more with Jackson out, but opponents are going to continue blitzing until the Ravens make them stop. The offensive line surrendered 25 pressures and six sacks, per PFF.

3. The outcome may have been different if old AFC North nemesis Andy Dalton had played the entire game. Dalton threw for 201 yards and two touchdowns despite a completion percentage over expectation of minus-18.4%, per Next Gen Stats. In other words, he left several plays on the field too.

4. Allowing the touchdown on fourth-and-11 in Cover 0 predictably drew criticism, but another suboptimal outcome is surrendering a first while going conservative and Chicago exhausting the clock to kick the game-winning field goal. Of course, you’d rather have Marcus Peters or Anthony Averett over Chris Westry in a perfect world.

— John Harbaugh on the Ravens playing Cover 0 on Marquise Goodwin’s 49-yard touchdown catch.

5. Considering how close Baltimore came to squandering points at the end of the first half when Huntley threw short of the goal line with seconds remaining and no timeouts, the decision to run Devonta Freeman for the 3-yard touchdown with 22 seconds left was easy, especially with a timeout remaining.

6. Despite the lack of scoring, the Ravens went a strong 8-for-17 on third and fourth downs and converted on distances of 12, 10, and 12 yards, which hasn’t been a strength of this offense. An underwhelming but functional ground game helped create manageable situations and maintain time of possession.  

7. When the Ravens miss tackles, they also show an uncanny ability to take out teammates in the process. We sound like a broken record at this point, but Baltimore must clean up these kinds of miscues to become a good defense and beat quality opponents on a consistent basis.  

8. Tyus Bowser put together a heck of a performance with two sacks, three pressures, a forced fumble, and five total tackles. He’s really come on after a quiet start with John Harbaugh saying he’s “playing as good of football as any outside linebacker” in the league this season.

9. Despite having a pass wrestled away for an interception, Mark Andrews had eight catches for 73 yards as Huntley’s favorite target. Andrews became the fifth player in Ravens history to have at least three seasons of 50 catches, joining Derrick Mason, Ray Rice, Todd Heap, and Anquan Boldin. Excellent company.

10. Not known for his prowess on special teams, Jaylon Ferguson partially blocking a punt helped neutralize the interception that felt like a backbreaker earlier in the fourth quarter. Interestingly enough, Marlon Humphrey said Harbaugh mentioned blocking a punt in his Saturday night speech to the team.

11. I’ve seen plenty of strange occurrences covering the Ravens over the years, but a nine-play drive lasting close to six minutes and netting only one yard from start to finish is pretty darn weird and speaks to the lack of entertainment this game offered until midway through the fourth quarter.

12. Per Elias Sports, the Ravens became the fourth team in the last 40 seasons with five fourth-quarter comeback wins over their first 10 games, joining the 1982 Raiders, 2009 Colts, and 2016 Lions. Unsurprisingly, all three made the playoffs, but only Indianapolis advanced to the Super Bowl. Embrace the craziness.