With the Ravens improving to 5-2 with a dominant 38-6 victory over Detroit on Sunday afternoon, I’ve offered a dozen thoughts, each in 50 words or less:
1. After receiving the opening kickoff and marching downfield, Baltimore faced a fourth-and-1 from the 7 with John Harbaugh electing to go for it inside the red zone. We’ll never know how a stop would have impacted the game, but Ronnie Stanley set the tone with his highlight block.
2. When locked in, Lamar Jackson is one of the most dizzying players in NFL history. He passes when you think he’s about to run and runs when you’re convinced he’s going to throw. Even when you choose correctly and seemingly bottle him up, he often still finds a way.
3. That was never more evident than on the touchdown to Nelson Agholor with Jackson taking an incredible 9.24 seconds to throw, which NFL Next Gen Stats tracked as the longest on a touchdown pass since Week 14 of the 2018 season. Just ridiculous.
4. Patrick Queen, Justin Madubuike, and Geno Stone are making themselves some money with strong performances in contract years, but that general sentiment is true for Mike Macdonald, whose defense was outstanding against a top-five offense. If Baltimore keeps this up, someone’s going to make him a head coach very soon.
5. If someone said in July that Baltimore would lead the league in sacks through Week 7, who would have predicted Odafe Oweh and David Ojabo combining for more missed games (eight) than quarterback takedowns (two)? What an impressive collective effort with 12 defenders posting at least one sack this season.
6. Oweh registering a sack and five pressures in his first action since Week 2 was very encouraging. He gave Pro Bowl right tackle Penei Sewell major problems. Oweh’s return should allow Macdonald to better manage snaps for Jadeveon Clowney and Kyle Van Noy, which will be critical.
7. After averaging just under 9.0 yards per catch over his first three games, Zay Flowers has picked up 14.1 yards per reception over the last four contests. Jackson has been largely outstanding pushing the ball downfield with Flowers growing more dangerous by the week.
8. The Ravens are now 16-1 against NFC teams in games started by Jackson, reinforcing the challenge of preparing for such a uniquely talented quarterback you rarely see. That loss came against Wink Martindale and the Giants, who still needed a Baltimore meltdown to prevail in Week 6 of last year.
9. Van Noy encapsulated a disastrous day for Detroit below after the visitors allowed a staggering 10 plays of 20 or more yards, which included Gus Edwards’ 80-yard reception and Patrick Ricard’s 28-yard catch. It doesn’t take much for things to go sideways for even a good team.
10. Rashod Bateman made only two catches, but they converted third-and-7 and second-and-11 on Baltimore’s second touchdown drive. Flowers is clearly the No. 1 wide receiver, but it was encouraging seeing Bateman and Odell Beckham Jr. involved early and contributing.
11. There were few negatives on Sunday, but it was a bummer seeing Keaton Mitchell exit with a hamstring injury. A big lead created the perfect opportunity to give the speedy rookie an extended look in a game for the first time since his August shoulder injury.
12. For what it’s worth in late October — which isn’t very much — the Ravens look like the biggest threat to Kansas City in the AFC. Three weeks ago, it was Buffalo, who had just blown out Miami for a third straight victory of 28 or more points. Seasons change quickly.