A Win is a Win
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A win is a win. The bye week apparently served as a source of rust rather than a source of rest for the Baltimore Ravens’ offense.
They looked sluggish and uninspired. They lacked energy and it seemed painfully obvious that they viewed Carolina the same way the pundits did; a shoo-in.
With Gus Edwards out, Baltimore’s run game was pathetic. Their 3.8-yard average is misleading, as a garbage time 29-yard run by Kenyan Drake gave them an added .7 yards per rush. As for the passing game, Lamar threw the ball better than the box score suggests.
Mishaps and Manuevers
On the first drive of the game, he hit his 300-pound fullback, Patrick Ricard, streaking down the left sideline for what would have easily been a 20+ yard gain, but it fell harmlessly through the big man’s hands. This was just the first of many mishaps.
If it weren’t for Demarcus Robinson’s surprise 128-yard performance, the Ravens might not have scored a point on offense. Devin Duvernay saw only one target in the entire game, which is a schematic tragedy in my eyes. The receiver with the surest hands and fastest feet on the whole offense needs to be more involved.
Good offensive coordinators know how to manufacture touches for their playmakers, but too often Greg Roman forgets he even has Duvernay at his disposal. Mark Andrews looked close to his old self, but his understudy Isiah Likely didn’t have his best day. Likely had a pass ricochet off his facemask and nearly get picked off. He saw two targets after that but combined they only produced a single yard.
Lamar’s sole interception was another indicator that Baltimore’s offense was simply in a funk. Of all the talented players on Carolina’s defense, 330-pound Bravion Roy was the one to slip into Lamar’s passing lane and gracefully intercept the pass. When Bravion Roy is out there picking off passes like Ed Reed, it’s time to throw in the towel.
The Ravens’ defense is now a top-10 unit.
They’ve officially recovered from their terrible start to the season. It’s hard to believe this is the same bunch who let Tua Tagovailoa torch them for over 600 yards.
Carolina is hardly the greatest show on turf, but the Ravens’ defense has now strung together a nice stretch of consistent play. In fact, Baltimore’s defense ranks second in the league in PPG in the past three games, a testament to a plethora of developments. For one, Roquan Smith. Smith is who the Ravens expected they’d gotten out of their trade with Chicago and seemingly more. Defensive Coordinator
Mike Macdonald also deserves some credit. It would be easy to play simple and rely on the Ravens’ high-end defensive talent. But Macdonald has kept his foot on the gas lately, staying aggressive and creative.
Marlon Humphery is back to his all-pro self. His interception was a thing of beauty and essentially the game-sealing play. If the refs hadn’t wrongfully called a Marcus Peters’ forced fumble dead, Marlo would have had a touchdown as well. As well as the defense played,
Odafe Oweh remains a head-scratching case. He played the lowest snap percentage of the year on Sunday and through four quarters only mustered a singular tackle. He’s getting immensely outperformed by Justin Houston, a player ten years his senior.
Oweh was regarded as a raw, athletic specimen coming out of Penn State but his presumed year two jump would be more accurately categorized as a regression.
On a brighter note, Marcus Williams is off of IR. The rangy free safety who had three picks in five games to start the year for the Ravens returned to practice on Wednesday. His return is just one of multiple Raven’s successes on the injury front this week. X-Rays show Ronnie Stanley and Kyle Hamilton both avoided major injuries after scary-looking plays on Sunday.
I’ll give Carolina credit — they played much better than I expected. They snapped the Ravens’ 8-game streak of 50+ rushing yards and held them to only 13 points. If Baker and the offense could have been serviceable, they had a chance to pull off the upset.
As a whole, Baltimore’s offense is being overrated right now. They still haven’t scored over 30 points since September and are too reliant on Lamar to simply be better than everyone else. If they want to make a deep run into the postseason or even just win this division, they’ll need to find a groove offensively.