Ravens Blowout Seahawks in Decisive Win
RAVENS BLOWOUT SEAHAWKS IN DECISIVE WIN – Are the Baltimore Ravens the best team in football? Having shellacked two division leaders in the last three weeks, it’s time we have the conversation.
The ESPN probability graphs from the Ravens’ last three wins look like the heart rate monitor of an antelope being constricted by a python.
Most Complete Team in Football?
There are no weaknesses on this roster. Even position groups like the corners or the runningbacks that don’t inspire awe on paper have exceeded expectations. So what if they lack a marquee pass rusher if the team leads the league in sacks?
At the risk of prematurely crowning this team, this is a masterfully constructed roster. With a blend of homegrown young talent, well-priced veterans, and just the right number of blue-chip stars, this roster is deep and balanced. November is a good time to find yourself as a team, and Baltimore is doing just that.
Room For Improvement
The scariest part about Sunday’s victory was that Baltimore didn’t even play clean football. The Ravens lost two fumbles, an area of concern this season, and failed to convert on multiple deep passes.
But the league’s best defense bailed them out as they’ve done all season. I don’t care if it’s Geno Smith or Will Smith playing quarterback, holding a Seattle team with that trio of receivers to three points is impressive.
As the Ravens offense continues its leaguewide tour of embarrassing supposedly elite defenses, their own defense never wavers. As the bittersweet parallels between this season and 2019 increase by the week, the divergence of having the NFL’s best defense assures that this time, it’ll be different.
A Diamond in the Rough
Sometimes football is simple. The same skills that dictate success on the playground are the same in the pros. At all levels of football speed is king, and Keaton Mitchell is flat-out fast. NFL teams love to overcomplicate things in the draft, nitpicking the minutia of a player’s game.
Mitchell is a prime example of the entire league missing the forest for the trees. Somehow every team passed on the running back with the third-fastest 40-yard dash at the combine. He was too fast for Seattle on Sunday, running for 138 yards on nine carries. His +108 yards over expected is the most in three years. Whatever big play ability this team lost when J.K. Dobbins went down has been regained with the emergence of the stud rookie.
Welcome to Baltimore OBJ
With a commanding lead midway through the fourth quarter, the Ravens took the opportunity to appease their brooding superstar wide receiver.
Facing Riq Woolen in one-on-one coverage, Beckham made a nifty move at the top of his route, breaking to the sideline and grabbing his first touchdown of the year. It’s been a tumultuous year for Odell, and I shudder to think how ugly things could have gotten if his scoring drought stretched much further. Beyond the political benefit of avoiding a Beckham meltdown, getting an effective version of the receiver would go a long way to rounding out the offense.
One of the most encouraging things about the season has been Baltimore’s ability to win games in multiple ways. Against Detroit, it was the Lamar Jackson show as the team leaned on the former MVP, who scored four total touchdowns in the win. But on Sunday Lamar played a supporting role, as Baltimore’s running game ripped off 298 yards on the ground.
Right now, it seems as though the Monken offense perfectly incorporates all the best aspects of Greg Roman’s run game with a much-needed renovation of the passing game. The only concern now is that this team may be putting too much good film out there too soon.
Success is a dangerous thing in the NFL, and it’s possible the Ravens are peaking too early. But if they can maintain this pace, they have the best shot at a championship they’ve had in five years.