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Ravens MVP of the week: Don “Wink” Martindale

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NFL: Baltimore Ravens at Tennessee Titans Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

After an absolutely dominating 21-0 win over the Tennesee Titans, it’s hard to pinpoint one player as the most valuable for the Ravens. Usually, I refrain from choosing coaches, after all, it is called most valuable “player” for a reason. After such an excellent display from Don “Wink” Martindale’s defense for Baltimore on Sunday, however, it’s impossible to give the honor to anyone else.

The Ravens broke a franchise record against Tennessee by sacking quarterback Marcus Mariota a whopping 11 times. Za’Darius Smith led the team with three sacks. Patrick Onwuasor was next up with two, while Matthew Judon, Terrell Suggs, Tony Jefferson, Kenny Young, Anthony Levine Sr. and Chris Wormley all had one a piece.

The Titans finished with only 106 total yards for the game, an outstanding feat for a defense in today’s offensive favored league. Mariota had less completions (10) than the Ravens had sacks. Tennessee was a dismal 1-for-10 on third down conversions. All nine drives resulted in punts for the Titans offense.

Baltimore dominated the time of possession as well. Tennessee’s offense was on the field for only 22:26 compared to the Ravens 37:34. The Titans were forced to abandon the run game early, rushing for only 55 yards on 14 attempts.

Martindale put on a clinic on Sunday. Mariota had a tremendously difficult time finding open targets and reading Baltimore’s disguised coverages. What the Ravens seemed to be doing pre-snap was almost never the case, with players dropping into coverage or blitzing at the last second. It was a tremendous showing in front of now Titans and former Ravens defensive coordinator Dean Pees, who many fans blamed for Baltimore’s fourth quarter defensive collapses prior to this year.

The Ravens defense now ranks first in total yards per game (270.8), second in passing yards (188) just behind the Jacksonville Jaguars (187.8) and third in rushing yards allowed (82.8). They also lead the NFL in sacks with 26. The most impressive stat, however, is that Baltimore has yet to allow a second-half touchdown through six weeks. In fact, the Ravens have only surrendered a total of 12 points in the second-half this season.

Martindale has certainly started the 2018 season on a fantastic note. It’s clear that the players love playing for him as well. As long as Baltimore continues this level of defensive dominance, they should be considered one of the scariest teams in the entire league.