The Ravens went into Pittsburgh and delivered an ugly, yet huge win to get their season back on track. Five rookies were active, below is a breakdown of their impact on the game based on snaps and production:
Brown made a huge impact in this game early on but was unable to remain effective as he suffered an ankle injury in the second quarter. Before the injury, Hollywood reeled in his third touchdown of the season on a beautiful throw and catch with Lamar Jackson. Brown displayed good hands as he was drilled by Joe Haden immediately after catching the ball, holding on for the touchdown. This gave the Ravens a 17-7 advantage early in the second quarter, but would come at a cost as Brown came up hobbled after spraining his ankle on the play. Although Brown would eventually re-enter the game in the second half, he was nothing more than a decoy and the Ravens offense struggled mightily without his threat on the outside.
Clearly one of the most important players on this offense, the ankle injury will be under a microscope leading up to the coming games. They might be able to get by without him for the upcoming Bengals game, but with Seattle and New England scheduled shortly after, his health will be a major concern. The offense is limited without him on the field.
After the most impressive showing of his young career in Week 4, Boykin was nonexistent in this one as he failed to make it on the stat sheet despite Marquise Brown going off with an injury. Following his departure, the Ravens desperately needed some play makers to step up, but Jackson was unable to get anything going with the receiver group. There was one play where Jackson forced a ball into Brown on a slant route but missed Boykin running the same route who had separation and would have been the better option.
As much as Boykin is not getting open for opportunities, Jackson is struggling to find receivers not named Brown. With Brown potentially missing some time with the ankle injury, Boykin and Jackson will need to get on the same page and start to build a connection moving forward. He currently stands at five receptions for 48 yards and two touchdowns on the season.
With limited snaps on offense, Hill delivered his biggest play of the season on special teams when he returned a kick off 46 yards giving the Ravens great field position. This was the first time we truly saw his speed on display as he bolted up the sideline in a blur. Hill only saw two attempts for seven yards, continuing his questionable role with the offense. With the struggles on the offensive side of the ball it is fair to wonder why Hill isn’t given a chance to become a bigger contributor.
Mark Ingram is entrenched as the workhorse and won’t see his snaps reduced, but it would be worthwhile to line up Hill in the slot and get him involved in the passing game. With nobody stepping up outside of Brown, the Ravens would be wise to utilize his impressive athleticism to make the offense more explosive. Teams are starting to hone in on Jackson and he is visibly trying to do too much with the lack of weapons at his disposal. Hill could remedy some of these woes and stretch the defense thin with more speed on the field.
Leading up to the Week 5 matchup with the Steelers, John Harbaugh offered praise to Ferguson and vowed he would be seeing more snaps moving forward. The release of Tim Williams seemed to back up this claim as snaps are there for the taking, but Ferguson only saw 21 snaps compared to his 22 in Week 4. Although he out snapped Tyus Bowser (19), he did not make an impact in the Steelers backfield, totaling only one tackle on the day. He was more effective in the run game as he was able to set the edge on multiple running plays.
As a whole, the Ravens pass rush left much to be desired as the Steelers quarterbacks had all day to throw the ball. This remains one of the biggest concerns moving forward for a defense ranking towards the bottom of the league. Ferguson will surely be asked to increase his role moving forward but he will need to make a bigger impact than what we have seen.
Mekari was active for the fifth straight week but did not record a snap. All five starters accounted for all the offensive snaps.
OG Ben Powers
DT Daylon Mack
QB Trace McSorley
LB Otaro Alaka (IR)