Friday, September 30, 2022

Twelve Ravens thoughts following Week 2 loss to Miami

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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 blowing a 21-point fourth-quarter lead in a 42-38 loss to Miami on Sunday afternoon, I’ve offered a dozen thoughts, each in 50 words or less:

1. If someone had told you Lamar Jackson would throw for 300 yards and three touchdowns and run for 100 yards and a touchdown while Baltimore would win the turnover margin by two, commit one penalty, and return a kickoff for a touchdown, you’d expect an easy blowout victory. Unbelievable. 

2. The story of the game should have been Jackson absolutely destroying the Miami blitz, especially in the first half with all three touchdown passes coming against it. As much as we’re criticizing the offensive line for the running game, the group deserves credit for superb pass protection.

3. Rashod Bateman answered any questions about his speed as he roasted Xavien Howard and ran away from the three-time Pro Bowl cornerback on the 75-yard touchdown. According to Next Gen Stats, the second-year receiver recorded 41 yards after the catch over expected on that play. 

4. The overall performance of the secondary dampened what were two highlight interceptions by Marcus Williams, who became the first Raven to register three picks in the first two games of a season. He definitely has the ability to get his hands on the football, something the defense has lacked.  

5. Other than a drive midway through the second quarter when the Dolphins apparently decided they didn’t need to block Justin Houston, the pass rush was too quiet with one sack and one other quarterback hit. The Baltimore front made it too easy for the Miami passing game. 

6. No, Tua Tagovailoa doesn’t have the strongest throwing arm in the league, but the Ravens eliminated any doubts about his ability to torch a defense for weaknesses and mistakes in coverage. He deserves plenty of credit for the way he played Sunday.

7. That said, four of Tagovailoa’s six touchdown passes came on third down, which include a third-and-13, a third-and-10, and a third-and-6. Miami went 7-for-11 on third downs and 2-for-2 on fourth downs. What a brutal day for Mike Macdonald’s defense. 

8. As others have noted, how in the world does no one call a timeout when the defense clearly wasn’t lined up correctly on Tyreek Hill’s game-tying touchdown catch? A coach on the sideline or veteran defensive player has to see that, right?

9. Of the nine runs called when Baltimore needed a single yard for a first down or touchdown, just two were successful with fullback Patrick Ricard and tight end Mark Andrews each converting for a first. Ravens tailbacks have combined for 74 yards on 29 carries so far this season. Concerning.

10. While Week 2 brought the anticipated return of Marcus Peters, the injuries continued piling up with Steven Means suffering a torn Achilles tendon and several others getting banged up in Sunday’s loss. The Ravens are already losing depth where they can least afford it.

11. I didn’t make too much of this PFF article suggesting Baltimore’s Week 1 coverage unit wasn’t as sharp as the final stats indicated, but you look at it differently after that fourth-quarter debacle. Even with injury concerns, this secondary consumes way too many resources to be that bad.

12. On the bright side, every other AFC North team lost with Cincinnati falling to 0-2 against the Dak Prescott-less Cowboys. Nothing about the Ravens’ current deficiencies is all that unique from other projected playoff teams off to uneven starts, so take a breath while remembering we’re only entering Week 3.

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