Ravens air it out & kick it out in Pittsburgh, win on the road 26-14
What went right: The Ravens started off hot going up 14-0 in the first quarter. Joe Flacco threw a beautiful 33 yard touchdown pass to John Brown for the first score of the game on the opening drive. The following drive, the defense was on the field for 3 plays before safety Tony Jefferson stripped Vance McDonald and set up Alex Collins for a short 3 yard touchdown catch. John Brown also grabbed a 71 yard catch in the second quarter and defensive back Brandon Carr saved a JuJu Smith-Schuster touchdown grab in the end zone by punching the ball out of his hands on a jump catch.
The Ravens put together some great drives in the second half of the game and Justin Tucker nailed four field goals of 47, 49, 28, and 31 to secure the 26-14 victory. Joe Flacco looked good in the pocket and had time to throw thanks to the offensive line handling the Steelers front four. He also stood in the pocket absorbing hits in order to deliver the ball to his receivers, something we had not seen much of last season. Joe Flacco finished the night 28/42 for 363 yards and two touchdowns. No interceptions.
What went wrong: Up 14-0 in the second quarter, about to go up 21-0, Alex Collins fumbled the ball at the goal line and was immediately put into Harbaugh’s doghouse until the third quarter. Pittsburgh responded by tying up the game on another field goal and touchdown (inc two-point conversion.) After being stripped of the ball in the first quarter, Vance McDonald proved hard to contain for the rest of the first half catching 5 balls for 62 yards.
The defense had let the second quarter get away from them a bit and also had trouble limiting some explosive plays in the second half. The Ravens offense shot themselves in the foot on several key times in drives with costly penalties that pushed them out of field goal range on one, and another that would have converted a first down on a great ball control drive.
Injuries: None Reported
Looking ahead: The Ravens travel to Cleveland to face a Browns team returning from a painful overtime loss to the Raiders. Rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield will get his first taste of the Ravens defense and you better believe Wink Martindale is going to throw everything he has at him defensively.
Notable: The Ravens ran numerous Lamar Jackson packages that resulted in the rookie running for 17 yards on four attempts. On one play with Lamar behind center, he broke open to the right side but the Steelers called a timeout when they realized the coverage was off and would have resulted in a Lamar Jackson 50+ yard easy touchdown run.
Maxx Williams also lined up offset, left of the center, but off of his back hip, meaning that he was an eligible receiver and ran out of that formation to catch a key first down pass and kept the drive going. Easily the most creative play the Ravens have run this year and the Steelers were not prepared for it.
Fantasy: If you don’t have John Brown locked into your flex spot or even as a WR2, you are missing out…Alex Collins fumble problems are for real and he is officially on notice on my roster because Harbs will pull him from the game and that means no production for your team…The Baltimore defense is still a must start each week until they have a bad 2 or even 3 game stretch for me…If you are in need of a TE, Maxx Williams seems to be getting more involved in the offense but rookie Hayden Hurst should also be returning soon, keep an eye on how it plays out and pick your week to grab one of them off of waivers…Would you ever trade for a kicker? I would consider it if I were acquiring Justin Tucker…Joe Flacco as a QB streamer? Yes, as an everyday QB1? Maybe not, but he is becoming more and more consistent… If Buck Allen is available in your league you should definitely pick him up, he makes a great flex play every week and can spot as a RB2 if absolutely needed.
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