Monday, December 5, 2022
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Twelve Ravens Thoughts following Week 5 win over Cincinnati

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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 overcoming a late deficit to take down Cincinnati in a 19-17 final on Sunday night, I’ve offered a dozen thoughts, each in 50 words or less:

1. Despite many anticipating plenty of scoring, this had the feel of a classic AFC North battle. Fortunately for Ravens fans, the hyperventilating and déjà vu brought on by Joe Burrow’s touchdown run turned into a long exhale by night’s end. If nothing else, Baltimore needed that one for its mojo. 

2. It’s remarkable that Justin Tucker missing the game-tying extra point in a 2018 loss to New Orleans is the only hiccup of major consequence we’ve witnessed over his 11-year career. Putting aside positional value, has anyone in NFL history made their job look easier than him?  

3. Sunday was a prime example of what makes Lamar Jackson so unique. Like any great quarterback from time to time, he had a rough night throwing the football, but his legs were the difference on the final drive. A traditional pocket passer can’t do that on such occasions. 

4. Credit Mike Macdonald for continuing the trend regarding Burrow’s struggles against two-high coverage and limiting the Bengals’ big-play ability throughout the night. The pass rush couldn’t have been much more conservative, but Cincinnati played into the Ravens’ hands. 

5. Those two-high looks were a variable explaining the Bengals’ previously anemic running game finding success, but you’d still like to see Baltimore tighten up its run defense. The Ravens entered Monday ranked 26th in both yards per carry allowed (5.0) and run defense efficiency

6. While I was surprised to see Ronnie Stanley play so little in the second half, his season debut was encouraging with Pro Football Focus grading him favorably on all 13 pass-blocking snaps. It was obvious in last year’s opener that he wasn’t right, making Sunday night a promising step.  

7. Even with Rashod Bateman unavailable, the Bengals still had few answers trying to slow down Mark Andrews, who caught the only Ravens touchdown of the game and made four catches for 43 yards in the fourth quarter alone. He’s a weekly focal point for defenses, but that rarely matters. 

8. Despite uncertainty about his status, Marcus Peters played every defensive snap and registered a sack, five tackles, and a pass breakup. The way he blew up Cincinnati’s “Philly Special” was a thing of beauty, and he set the tone with his physicality, which isn’t something you always see from him. 

9. Devin Duvernay set or matched career highs in receptions, receiving yards, and rushing attempts and could have had an even bigger game if Jackson had connected with him on a deep shot down the middle. Greg Roman should continue using Duvernay a little more like Deebo Samuel. 

10. J.K. Dobbins had his best performance of the season to date, breaking multiple tackles to rush for 44 yards on eight carries. However, if his Twitter account is any indication, the third-year running back’s patience with being on a pitch count is wearing thin. I can understand it.

11. The Ravens are still having problems setting the edge and getting consistent production at outside linebacker, but Jason Pierre-Paul ended Cincinnati’s second drive with a sack and later batted down Burrow passes on back-to-back plays. The 33-year-old has been impressive. 

12. Aside from Duvernay’s strong night, the other wide receivers didn’t do much with increased snaps. I do wonder what a long touchdown could have done for Tylan Wallace’s confidence had Jackson connected with him on that fourth-down deep ball early in the third quarter. 

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