Ravens Offense Starts Hot, Defense Bends but Doesn’t Break, Victory at M&T 23 – 17
By Frank Bonincontri
What Went Right:
“Reports of the Ravens offensive demise were an exaggeration.”
Through the first two weeks of the NFL season, the Ravens offensive identity appears to be a balanced attack. During the offseason, while most were certain of a run heavy, ground & pound attack, Greg Roman went ahead and installed a balanced attack to keep defenses off-balance and forcing them to prepare for anything. Lamar Jackson looked sharp out of the gate leading a 94 yard drive, going 5 of 5 for 74 yards, and capping it off with a 27 yard touchdown pass to tight end Mark Andrews. To follow that up, Lamar Jackson directed a masterful 85 yard drive, carrying the ball four times for thirty yards, completing four passes for 55 yards, and got Hayden Hurst into the mix with a one yard touchdown.
Marquise Brown also delivered for a second consecutive week showing that he can beat man coverage, catching the sideline ball and escaping underneath for numerous explosive plays. Brown dominated the first half with some great catches and finished the day going 8 for 86 on 13 targets and a solid 10.8 receiving yard average.
What Went Wrong:
The Ravens offense seemed to fizzle after the half and went scoreless in the third quarter. Defensively, it was a bend but don’t break defense without Jimmy Smith and Tavon Young. Down two corners, the Ravens defense gave up explosive plays to the Cardinals offense of 54 yards (Fitzgerald), 34 yards (Kirk) and 31 yards (Johnson) allowing Kyler Murray to extend drives even under immense pressure by Matt Judon and company.
The Ravens offensive line gave up consistent pressure, forcing Lamar Jackson to scramble and make plays on the run. While only giving up a respectable two sacks, the offensive line appears to need some work moving forward. Mark Ingram finished the day with 13 carries for 47 yards and no touchdowns. Running lanes are key to a balanced rush attack and with games against the Chiefs, Browns and Steelers, ball control will be a very important part of the game plan.
RB Mark Ingram left the game after catching a pass and getting tackled in the back by a Cardinals defender. He looked to be in serious pain and layed on the sideline while trainers addressed his lower back. He later returned to the game and was able to finish.
S Brynden Trawick hurt his left arm during a special teams punt return.
For the first time in a LONG time, the Ravens have some legitimate fantasy players! Mark Andrews is your lock at tight end and should be in your lineup every week…Hayden Hurst may come around and is worth a waiver wire pick up in deep leagues…Marquise Brown is a must play each week until proven otherwise…Lamar Jackson should be locked into your starting lineups as well. Ride the wave until it crashes my friends, and enjoy every minute of fantasy run this team is getting! I would continue to play Mark Ingram but you may want to handcuff Justice Hill in the event of an injury…It appears that the #GusBus is officially parked…Willie Snead is good for at least 1-3 catches in this offense as it stands currently, but that could change at anytime…In a deep league? I would put Myles Boykin on your watchlist because, well, you never know…