Monday, November 30, 2020

Intelligent Conversation

Twelve Ravens thoughts following Week 6 win at Philadelphia

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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 moving to 5-1 for just the third time in team history after the 30-28 win over Philadelphia, I’ve offered a dozen thoughts, each in 50 words or less:

1. The pressure a four-man rush created on the game’s first play said all you needed to know about the day it’d be for Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz behind an offensive line down to one healthy starter. If only the Ravens could play those offensive lines for Cincinnati and Philadelphia every week.

2. Calais Campbell recorded one of his three sacks on that play and was the best player on the field with an additional tackle for loss and quarterback hit, but Pernell McPhee has now registered a sack and at least three quarterback hits in back-to-back games. The 31-year-old has looked revitalized.

3. Of the 16 third downs the offense faced, 10 required at least nine yards to move the chains with Baltimore converting three of those and only one after the first touchdown drive. The best offenses are in third-and-shorts and avoid third downs altogether. That’s just too little margin for error.

4. Penalties had much to do with those third-and-long situations as the offensive line was flagged eight times with six of those accepted. Of the six linemen to play at least 19 offensive snaps, Matt Skura was the only one not to be flagged. Struggling to line up properly is inexcusable.

5. Since completing 77.6 percent of passes, averaging 9.8 yards per attempt, and posting a 134.6 passer rating the first two weeks, Lamar Jackson has completed 56.6 percent, averaged 5.8 yards per attempt, and produced an 83.8 rating over the last four. Like the entire offense, he looks out of sync. 

6. Even not at his best, Jackson has thrown just two interceptions and lost only one fumble all season. The 23-year-old’s ability to make big plays with his legs and protect the football keeps his floor high even when he’s not having as much success as he’d like through the air.

7. DeShon Elliott has done everything for which the Ravens could have asked. He was disappointed not to come up with the late interception, but the hustle to strip the ball on Miles Sanders’ 74-yard run said much about his desire and ability. Do you think Earl Thomas makes that play?

8. After I recently noted his disappearance in the passing game, Nick Boyle caught all three of his targets for 33 yards, including the touchdown when he released from pass protection on Jackson’s terrific improvisation play. The blocking tight end was a solid complementary target last season.

9. Between a few passes the Ravens could or should have intercepted and the massive drops from Eagles wide receiver John Hightower on the opening drive and running back Miles Sanders in the end zone late in the first half, that football game could have gone in so many different directions.

10. On the first six drives, the Ravens forced five three-and-outs and took away a fumble on the first play of the other one while allowing no first downs. On Philadelphia’s last six drives, they surrendered four touchdowns and two 2-pointers. The Ravens transformed from the 2000 defense to 1996.

11. Devin Duvernay played a career-high 26 offensive snaps while Miles Boykin played 45 percent of the offensive snaps, his lowest share since the end of last season. That felt notable going into the bye, especially with another instance of the second-year receiver not being on the same page with Jackson.

12. The Ravens have as many wins as the entire NFC East through six weeks. Those December home games against Dallas and the New York Giants look appetizing with John Harbaugh’s team already taking care of Washington and Philadelphia. Any chance of that division’s relegation in favor of, say, the SEC?

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