Ravens rush to victory over Bucs at rain soaked M&T, 20-12
What went right: In a heavy rain at M&T Bank stadium, the Ravens dialed in their run game and outlasted the Bucs in a closer than should have been victory. The defense held the Bucs scoreless until the second quarter and had a great first half shutting down any pass game but struggled at times against a determined Tampa Bay run game and scrambling Jameis Winston. Lamar Jackson started slow in the pass game but seemed to get dialed in throwing precision passes in the second half to keep drives going. He single-handedly took the third quarter over by scrambling out of the pocket numerous times and escaping the Bucs pass rush to make plays with his feet and also throwing on the run.
The Ravens defense has been stout since Lamar Jackson has been the starter but lacking in the takeaway department. Marlon Humphrey pulled down an interception in the fourth quarter and was a key player on several pass breakups. The defensive line was able to keep Peyton Barber in check for the second half and managed a key stop on a Bucs 4th & 4 in their own territory. Gus Edwards stole the show in the fourth quarter by wearing down the Tampa Bay defense with punishing run after run and sealed the 20-12 victory.
What went wrong: The drops continue on offense as John Brown dropped perhaps Lamar Jackson’s best pass of the game. The offense could not find a passing rhythm most of the game and eventually had to settle back into their ground and pound rush attack. The Ravens committed 8/70 on penalties and at one point were 4th and 41 punting to the Bucs. On special teams, return man Cyrus Jones stepped away from a punt and as Tampa Bay ran down to down the ball, Jones then stepped back in to scoop up the ball, touching it, and allowed Tampa Bay to recover the ball and set up in the red zone.
Unable to get to quarterback Jameis Winston, the Ravens were also burned on a 64 yard explosive play to Mike Evans but managed to clamp down in the red zone and hold Tampa to a field goal. The pass rush was consistent most of the game but definitley seems to have trouble with quarterbacks who can move the pocket and buy time.
Injuries: Linebacker Matt Judon left the game in the third quarter with a knee injury but was able to return. Tight end Nick Boyle was sidelined with a concussion.
Looking ahead: The Ravens hit the road and travel to Los Angeles to face the Chargers in primetime next Saturday. The Ravens have not played the Chargers away since 2012 and must put together a complete game against a Chargers team riding a tidal wave of momentum after defeating their rival Chiefs on a walk-off 2 point conversion.
Notable: The Ravens are the first team since the 1976 Steelers to rush for 190 yards in five straight games.
Prior to being named the starter, Lamar Jackson averaged 15.4 rush yards and accounted for 16.6% of all rushing yards with Joe Flacco as quarterback. Without Flacco, Jackson accounts for 37.2% of the teams rushing yards and is averaging 85.4 rush yards per game.
The Ravens offense overall, with Joe Flacco, averaged 92.7 rush yards per game and 283.6 passing yards. With Lamar Jackson as the starter, the offense is averaging 229.4 rush yards per game and 154.6 passing yards.
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