With the Ravens completing a season sweep of Cincinnati to improve to 8-3 with a 34-20 home win on Thursday night, I’ve offered a dozen thoughts, each in 50 words or less:
1. The Odell Beckham Jr. we’ve watched the last two weeks would really help fill the Mark Andrews production void. However, is it a coincidence that the last two games have also included his lowest snap counts — 18 and 22 — of the season? You have to keep him fresh and healthy.
2. Much has been made about Lamar Jackson sporting a career-high completion percentage this season, but what’s been more impressive is sustaining that mark while improving his average depth of target in recent games. His 8.1 yards per pass attempt and 5.5 pass yards after catch per completion are career highs.
3. John Harbaugh scoffed at a postgame question on whether there was any concern about Jackson’s ankle moving forward, but I cringed over a few runs that came immediately after the star quarterback was noticeably limping. I’m sure extra rest will do Jackson some good.
4. After concerns about his Week 10 performance, Marcus Williams turned in his best game of the season with seven tackles and two pass breakups while playing every defensive snap. The injuries have been frustrating for everybody, but he reminded how good he is when healthy.
5. Acknowledging Cincinnati’s quarterback situation being a significant factor, Brandon Stephens limiting Ja’Marr Chase was the latest statement in a breakout campaign for the third-year cornerback. Despite Marlon Humphrey being sidelined for both matchups, Chase had seven catches for 43 yards and a touchdown on 15 targets playing Baltimore this season.
6. On pace for 871 rushing yards, Gus Edwards has 10 rushing touchdowns, which leave him tied for fourth on the franchise’s single-season list. You’d expect to see Jamal Lewis and Ray Rice at the top, but Willis McGahee had 12 rushing touchdowns in 2009 despite gaining just 544 rushing yards.
7. Justin Madubuike leads NFL interior defensive linemen with 9 1/2 sacks and is on the verge of becoming the first Baltimore defender to reach double digits since Terrell Suggs (11) in 2017. Justin Houston had nine through Week 11 last year and finished with 9 1/2.
8. Year 3 is a pivotal time for young players to establish themselves, and Odafe Oweh has taken that next step by registering a sack in four of his five games since returning from an early-season ankle injury. This was what Eric DeCosta envisioned drafting him out of Penn State.
9. On the flip side, Broderick Washington being a healthy scratch three months after signing a three-year, $17.5 million extension is indicative of an underwhelming season. Yes, the Bengals run the ball less frequently than any team in the league, but this wasn’t what the Ravens had in mind with Washington.
10. This season hasn’t gone how Rock Ya-Sin envisioned with his post-draft signing to be a starter, but he had played well in a part-time role until the last two games, which have been a struggle. He was eventually replaced by Jalyn Armour-Davis in the rotation with Ronald Darby.
11. It’s a shame that we’ve rarely seen fully healthy versions of both Jackson and Joe Burrow — whose own injuries are really mounting —in this AFC North rivalry, but Patrick Queen rightfully put Bengals linebacker Germaine Pratt in his place over the weekend. That Cincinnati defense was bad.
12. Sunday’s look around the AFC reminded that Baltimore is in great shape at 8-3 with additional rest looming. Losing Andrews hurts, but I’ll maintain that no NFL team is currently playing better. After the Cleveland loss, I said the Ravens would be fine if they beat Cincinnati, and they did.