With the Ravens winning their fourth straight game to improve to 7-3 after a 13-3 victory over Carolina on Sunday afternoon, I’ve offered a dozen thoughts, each in 50 words or less:
1. Marcus Peters was on the trainers table having his knee worked on early in the fourth quarter, a reminder that he’s not all the way back to pre-injury form. But his special playmaking ability surfaced at the right time with his forced fumble setting up Baltimore’s only touchdown.
2. Even before Roquan Smith arrived, Patrick Queen was playing at a higher level, a credit to the first-round pick’s work to improve. He’s playing his best football now and was credited by Pro Football Focus with a “stop” on each of his six tackles against the run.
3. You have to go back to the days of C.J. Mosley and Zach Orr to find the last time the Ravens had two inside linebackers playing 100% of the defensive snaps. Mike Macdonald didn’t call one play of dime on Sunday, which reflects the impact of Smith’s acquisition.
4. Over the first three weeks of 2022, this passing game ranked first in DVOA and fourth in expected points added per dropback. Since then, the Ravens rank 27th in both passing DVOA and dropback EPA. Divide the blame however you’d like, but the Ravens simply must improve through the air.
5. After throwing 10 touchdowns over the first three games, Lamar Jackson has six while averaging 6.1 yards per pass attempt over the last seven games. There wasn’t much there Sunday — a couple passes were dropped — but his passing rhythm just hasn’t been there consistently.
6. Marlon Humphrey didn’t have his best season in 2021, in large part because of how much he was asked to do to compensate for so many injuries in the secondary. But he’s back to playing at a Pro Bowl level this season with his uncanny ability to do it all.
7. DeMarcus Robinson has emerged as the default No. 1 wide receiver, and his career-high nine catches produced 42 yards after the catch, six first downs, and three explosive plays, per PFF. Baltimore didn’t do enough to address wide receiver, but his late-summer addition was still a good one.
8. The Ravens went from converting a third-and-4 to being backed up to third-and-19 because of a Morgan Moses face mask penalty and then being sacked as Jackson fell into Ronnie Stanley’s surgically repaired left ankle. The injury doesn’t appear to be serious, but what a brutal sequence.
9. Tyus Bowser opened the second half with a hurry of Baker Mayfield, a tackle for no gain, and tight coverage of Ian Thomas to force an incompletion and three-and-out. The versatile Bowser played 41 snaps to lead all Baltimore outside linebackers in that department.
10. Though still creating some pressure, Odafe Oweh played a career-low 23 defensive snaps after setting his previous low (29) in New Orleans. The outside linebacker rotation is deeper now, but him being fourth in the pecking order isn’t what anyone had in mind during training camp.
11. After being singled out by Greg Roman this week as someone pushing for playing time, James Proche didn’t take advantage. He was targeted on the game’s first third down and dropped the pass. Later, he committed his fourth penalty of the season, which won’t help his cause.
12. Did anyone have flashbacks to the Giants game on Tyler Linderbaum’s high snap and Jackson’s errant throw to Kenyan Drake? Baltimore came close to being in real trouble if that ball bounces to Shaq Thompson going the other way. It was a win, but this was a game to forget.