The Ravens took care of business at home, improving to 4-2 with an AFC North victory over the Cincinnati Bengals. Four rookies were active and below is a breakdown of their impact on the game based on snaps and production.
Recovering from an ankle injury sustained in Week 5, Brown was unable to go in this one and missed the first game of his short career. With big games against the Seahawks and Patriots looming, I wouldn’t be surprised if this was more of a precautionary move as his health will be paramount to the team’s success moving forward.
His stats won’t “wow” you, but Boykin turned in a solid performance for a receiving core that was down it’s No. 1 receiver. He was expected to be relied on more than the three targets he saw, but Jackson did a nice job of distributing the ball around to a handful of players. He ended the day with two catches for 28 yards and no touchdowns but was very effective as a blocker. Late in the second quarter, Boykin came up limping after being tripped up during his route and had to go to the sidelines. He was able to re-enter the game in the second half without any noticeable signs of a lingering injury.
Boykin is a physical presence with elite speed on the outside, yet the Ravens have not attempted any deep shots to him. Time will tell if they are still easing him in but taking the training wheels off and allowing him some opportunities on 50/50 balls will be in the team’s best interest moving forward. Until then, he is efficient in moving the chains and has become an above average run blocker. He has plenty of room to grow as the offense continues to find its identity.
Hill saw his role expand in Week 6, rushing for 31 yards on five carries - the most he’s seen since Week 1. All afternoon he flashed the speed and athleticism that made his such an exciting prospect coming out of Oklahoma State. The Ravens didn’t try anything flashy with him as he was hitting the holes hard and bursting through for positive yardage. His most impressive play of the game came on a run that only netted a few yards but saw him reverse field on a busted play. He outran everyone to reverse the field and if he had one more blocker in front of him, he could have been off for a big gain.
The Ravens usage of all three backs was interesting as they were rotated regularly without one of them taking a bulk of the snaps. This could be the plan with Mark Ingram in order to ensure he is healthy for December and January football. Expect to see more of Justice Hill moving forward, you can only keep that kind of athleticism bottled up for so long.
After breaking into the lineup, Harbaugh stated Ferguson's role would only increase moving forward as the team is desperate for any pass rush help. Ferguson saw a lot of early down work on Sunday, but the pass-rush was non-existent until the fourth quarter. Still developing his arsenal of NFL caliber pass rush moves, he remains limited in what he can do coming off the edge. He is effective in setting the edge in the run game which is a very valuable trait but lining him up over the guard and center might utilize his bull rush more effectively at this stage in his career.
On his most impressive play off the edge, he was about half a step away from causing a strip sack on Andy Dalton. He has done nothing to lose snaps moving forward, but the team will most certainly welcome a few splash plays in the near future for a unit that has struggled to pressure the opposing quarterback.
Mekari was active for the sixth straight week but did not record a snap. All five starters accounted for all the offensive snaps.
WR Marquise Brown
OG Ben Powers
DT Daylon Mack
QB Trace McSorley
LB Otaro Alaka (IR)