Refocused, NFL Week 3: Baltimore Ravens 27, Denver Broncos 14 - Pro Football Focus
Joe Flacco took care of the ball against the Broncos’ talented secondary; he didn’t throw any interceptions and collected one touchdown pass. Michael Crabtree appears to be Flacco’s favorite intermediate target with John Brown getting the bulk of the deep shot attempts.
Alex Collins continues to get the bulk of the carries for the Ravens’ offense. Collins wasn’t overly productive on his touches but did score a touchdown and caught three passes as a receiver out of the backfield.
The Ravens defensive scheme puts a lot of strain on the secondary, and it’s not clear the Ravens have the talent on the back end to rise to the challenge. Brandon Carr struggled throughout, and Marlon Humphrey wasn’t much better, but drops and inaccurate throws prevented Denver from putting up more points. Baltimore are desperate for an elite man-to-man corner, to allow them the freedom to creatively blitz on the front end.
Thankfully, elite man-coverage corner Jimmy Smith will return from suspension in Week 5. When healthy, Baltimore has the personnel to challenge the Jaguars for top defense in the conference.
Rookie linebacker Kenny Young stepped in for injured C.J. Mosley and showed he will be a starter. Young had a critical sack on Broncos quarterback Case Keenum on a third down in the second and finished the day with 10 tackles. The Ravens defense as a whole was impressive. While they gave up a lot of short third downs, they stopped their fair share as well. Most importantly was the late fourth quarter interception from Patrick Onwuasor, while the Broncos were threatening in Ravens territory.
The Ravens are continuing to work on the run game, as something offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg emphasized after the team was averaging just 3.3-yards-per-carry heading into Week 3. Against the Broncos, the team averaged just 2.8 yard-per-carry, but put up two rushing touchdowns from Buck Allen and Alex Collins.
There is nothing wrong with using a pass-first game-plan in today’s NFL. Joe Flacco is currently tied with Drew Brees for third most passing attempts in the league. But the majority of his passes have been high percentage throws of short and intermediate depth.
The Ravens said all week that they’d have a plan for Miller, and the group executed that plan just about perfectly in Sunday’s 27-14 victory over the Broncos at M&T Bank Stadium. The offensive line kept quarterback Joe Flacco upright, opened running lanes in the red-zone and perhaps most importantly, didn’t allow Miller to the wreck the game.
“We knew we were going to have to contain him and with the gameplan, we went out, we executed, and it obviously worked out,” right tackle James Hurst said. “We knew we weren’t up to par last week, and we wanted to come out and have a different outcome and know that we can play better than we did. We’re excited about that.”
“We definitely had a few chips here and there, but we definitely went back to the lab and worked out our pass sets,” Stanley said. “We’re just happy to be back on track.”
Bradley Chubb and Shane Ray each recorded a sack on Flacco, but the offensive line silenced Von Miller. The coaches used the extra time between games to devise an effective strategy against the premier pass rusher. A rematch with the Bengals along with road trips to Tennessee and Los Angeles will test the pass blocking later in the season.
Baltimore Ravens snap totals: Season-low for Lamar Jackson; Young leads linebackers - Aaron Kasinitz
Inside linebacker rotation
Inside linebacker C.J. Mosley typically plays all of the Ravens’ defensive snaps, but with the three-time Pro Bowler sitting out Sunday with a knee injury, Baltimore relied on a rotation of sorts to replace him. Here’s the breakdown of inside linebacker snaps.
Kenny Young: 44 snaps (out of a possible 68)
Patrick Onwuasor: 36 snaps
Albert McClellan: 22 snaps
McClellan, 32, mostly played on early downs and came off the field in passing situations. Plus, many of Anthony Levine’s 26 snaps came while he played as a linebacker in the dime package, a defensive personnel group that places six defensive backs on the field.
In the end, the Ravens got what they needed out of the players filling in for Mosley. Young led the team with 10 combined tackles, Onwuasor snagged a fourth-quarter pick and McClellan’s presence helped steady the defense after a poor start.
Strong game from the linebackers in Mosley’s absence. Kenny Young was making plays all over the field and Onwuasor’s fourth quarter interception was the play of the game. Terrell Suggs, Matt Judon and especially Za’Darius Smith provided consistent pressure off the edge.
2019 NFL Mock Draft 1 - Steve Palazzolo
14. BALTIMORE RAVENS – OT JONAH WILLIAMS, ALABAMA
Williams continues to improve and he’s been nearly flawless in pass protection this season, allowing only two pressures on 132 attempts through four weeks. He can step in at right tackle for the Ravens.
Seven months out from the 2019 NFL draft, the Ravens positional needs appear to be offensive line, safety and possibly wideout.