Lamar Jackson picks up third win, defense dominates in Atlanta 26-16
What went right:
The Ravens took their opening drive 9 plays for 75 yards and topped it off with a Lamar Jackson 13 yard touchdown run. The designed option/run off the right side was a creative play call and gave Jackson great running lanes to get into the end zone through. Lamar Jackson threw the ball well at times, completing passes into tight windows and moving the pocket in order to set up completions along the sidelines. Special teams also surprised with a fake punt resulting in Sam Koch throwing a slant pass to receiver Chris Moore to keep the chains moving.
Down 10-7 in the second quarter, the Ravens put together a great 9 play 59 yard drive with less than two minutes remaining in the half, to score on a 41 yard Justin Tucker field goal and tie the game at 10-10 entering the third quarter.
The second half of the game the Ravens were forced to overcome injuries and show what they were truly made of. Lamar Jackson was lost briefly on an unintentional kick to the head from tackle Ronnie Stanley while in a falling pile. Robert Griffin entered the game and went 2/4 and 21 yards. Guard Alex Lewis also exited with a shoulder injury and was replaced by Bradley Bozeman. Left tackle Ronnie Stanley also exited briefly with an ankle injury. While the left side of the line obviously struggled, Justin Tucker was the clear-cut MVP of the second half with three field goals of 21, 45, and 47 yards.
Defensively, the Ravens were on fire, holding the Falcons to 131 total yards and keeping the heat on Matt Ryan all game long. The secondary was able to hold Julio Jones to two catches for 18 yards and were breaking up passes all over the field, all game long. They covered the deep ball well and were able to prevent run after catch yards. Matt Ryan was never able to get comfortable in the pocket as the Ravens dialed up numerous blitz packages and jammed receivers at the line of scrimmage in order to disrupt the timing on Ryan’s throws. The defensive play of the day went to Tavon Young in the fourth quarter, scoring a 16 yard touchdown off of a forced fumble by linebacker Patrick Onwuasor. That score was the turning point of the game and essentially sealed the win to go up 26-10.
What went wrong:
Dropped balls and rookie growing pains were evident and what kept the Ravens from scoring an additional touchdown in the first half. Lamar Jackson was unable to dial in the deep passes and was unable to connect with John Brown early in the game that would have went for an explosve play touchdown. Michael Crabtree and Willie Snead also dropped passes on key third down plays. Lamar Jackson lost two fumbles in the first half, one that was returned 74 yards for the Falcons first score and go up 10-7. Ball security is key for Jackson and he must do a better job preventing fumbles moving forward.
While this is only Lamar Jackson’s third start, he will need to dial in his deep throws sooner than later. His scrambling ability forces defenses to account for him and when the shots are there, he must connect to really become considered dangerous. Rhythm and timing are also key in Jackson’s development. When he finally settled down late and took his checkdowns, he never really hit receivers in stride on drag routes or on crossing patterns when the receiver would become open. He needs to develop the anticipation and the offense wil see a dramatic improvement when he does. The offense did get bogged down in the red zone with a few penalties and will need to tighten up the play calling when they face the Chiefs next week. Every red zone appearance will be of the utmost importance to keep up with the Chiefs offense.
Jimmy Smith came off the field briefly in the first quarter with an ankle or possible leg injury. He returned after a series and seemed ok. Left tackle Ronnie Stanley left in the third quarter with his weekly ankle injury but later returned at the end of the quarter to finish the game. Guard Alex Lewis left the game with an apparent shoulder injury. Running back Gus Edwards came off the field limping in what appeared to be an ankle injury late in the fourth quarter. As always, we will need to keep an eye on updates as the week continues.
The Ravens will travel to Kansas City to face the ever dangerous Chiefs at Arrowhead stadium for their second road game.
The Ravens defense held the Falcons to 131 total yards and just 2 of 9 on third down. The unit also scored a touchdown in back-to-back weeks.
It’s time for the fantasy playoffs!
Lamar Jackson’s ceiling in fantasy is always high and if you are in need of a quarterback then by all means you have to grab him, however, he would be a true boom/bust candidate facing KC next week, roll the dice at your discretion…John Brown has completely fallen off the fantasy radar due to the inability of Lamar to connect with him on deep shots so he would be another boom/bust candidate next week but unlikely, but you never know…Michael Crabtree, well, yeah…Mark Andrews has developed some chemistry with Lamar and with such a small pool of tight ends available, you could pick him up on a desperation play if needed…Justin Tucker is your “set & forget” kicker for the rest of the season and the Ravens defense is a great option over the next three games against quarterbacks who will throw interceptions to a defense that has been quiet on the interception front.
What were your thoughts on the game? Any fantasy takes? Comment below or find me on Twitter @TheFFLWire
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