Aaron Rodgers, Ravens’ defense among those returning to form - Gregg Rosenthal
1) The Ravens’ defense is coming around.
With Peters and Marlon Humphrey able to play man coverage on the outside, defensive coordinator Wink Martindale has been freed up to get more creative with his blitzes up front. Against the Seahawks, Baltimore became the first team this season to hold Russell Wilson to less than 8.1 yards per throw and below 64 percent in completion rate while also handing him his first interception.
The next great Ravens pass rusher does not appear to be on this roster. The team really misses offseason departures Za’Darius Smith and Terrell Suggs. But Martindale has one solid pass rusher in Matthew Judon, and the team has started to use rookie Jaylon Ferguson more often. Third-year pro Tyus Bowser has started to show up and will be asked to do more with starter Pernell McPhee now expected to miss the rest of the season. Baltimore ranks 25th in sacks per game and hasn’t excelled like it did in the past, but there have been signs the last three weeks that the group is turning around. They often win up front, even if they don’t finish the play.
Defensive Notes vs Seahawks 10/20/19 - Ken McKusick
· LJ Fort (54 snaps) has increased from 0 to 24 to 54 snaps in his 3 weeks with the Ravens. He had 6 tackles, including 2 for loss. He also registered the Ravens only sack by tackling Wilson in the open field for no gain
· Josh Bynes (50 snaps) did not participate in a turnover this week, but his snaps increased with the loss of DeShon Elliott as the Ravens did not have the desired personnel for a 4-safety quarter package). Josh led the team with 8 tackles and has been a welcome recharge for the run defense, including primary credit for a 3-yard takedown of Carson (Q3, 0:01)
· Brandon Williams was the star on the defensive line with a pair of crushing QHs on consecutive plays (beginning Q3, 13:14). The vaunted Seahawks rushing attack averaged just 3.9 yards rushing per play (71 yards on 18 plays) when he was in.
It didn’t take long for Peters to make his presence felt in a Ravens uniform. He allowed just one reception for eight yards from four targets and recorded a pick-six to help push Baltimore ahead of Seattle.
Coach John Harbuagh said he believes starting outside linebacker Pernell McPhee suffered a torn triceps muscle during the first half of Sunday’s 30-16 victory over the Seattle Seahawks, which would end his season. If tests confirm the tear, McPhee will land on injured reserve and Baltimore will move deeper into a difficult stretch of its schedule without a valuable contributor.
“He’s been instrumental,” Harbaugh said of McPhee. “He’s been instrumental with the young guys. He’s been a very good player for us.”
The Ravens have waived defensive back/special teams ace Justin Bethel, a move that gives Baltimore a likely fourth-round compensatory pick in next year’s draft.
“Judgment has to be made for the future as well,” Harbaugh said. “That’s tough for us because, I told him, I think he’s the best special teams player in the NFL, and he’s playing that way. So that’s going to be a blow, and we’re going to have to find a way to overcome that.”