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Film Review: Notes and thoughts

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Even in a blowout, always looking to improve

Baltimore Ravens v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

Offensive Notes:

First things first . . .

  • Run- 28
  • Pass- 18
  • Play Action- 8
  • Read Option- 5
  • RPO- 0

Remember, I tally plays where penalties occur that still reveal play design. I only chart plays with the starting offense on the field. The Ravens ran the ball from start to finish with blatant and bad intentions. They weren’t stopped behind the line until Robert Griffin knelt the ball three times to end the game.

Lamar Jackson was otherworldly. The offensive game plan was, as usual, to shove the ground game down the Rams throat. The complimentary passing offense was based on “dummy reads”.

Jackson’s eyes told lies time and time again. Against zone coverage, wherever his eyes went after the snap, the ball did not. Jackson held safeties and linebackers away from his preferred target throughout his three quarters of action with ease. The dude is playing some next level poker bluffing where he wants to go.

Jackson opened throwing windows time and time again. The Rams linebackers and safeties were lost puppies trying to figure out where the ball was going. Not only were the Rams defenders having trouble guessing where Jackson was throwing the ball, they were having trouble knowing who even had the ball.

Jackson’s deceitfulness with ball fakes and dummy reads led to his third game of a 99+ QBR, which is measured on a scale of 0-100.

That’s not a typo, Jackson is the only quarterback to record three games with a 99 QBR. Ever.

Entering Monday, the Rams had not allowed more than 20 points in almost two months. The Ravens scored 28 points in the first half. The nail in the coffin appeared to be hammered in just before the half, the Ravens fourth straight touchdown drive to open the game.

The two minute drill that went 7 plays, 75 yards and resulted in a 28-6 Ravens lead was the backbreaker. The Rams were demoralized irreparably. Their body language was slouched as the Rams appeared physically, mentally and emotionally defeated. The Ravens ran the ball four times in the first five plays of the drive, gashing the Rams for gains of 6, 12 and 11, before Jackson threw strikes to Seth Roberts with 14 seconds remaining, then Willie Snead in the end zone after calling their final timeout.

Mark Ingram bruised the Rams like they had an iron deficiency. His tough sledding crushed the spirits of Los Angeles to the point where their prized acquisition had quite well before the final whistle.

Mark Ingram is terminating defenders in the open field. Ingram had a whopping 57 yards after contact Monday night, averaging 3.8 yards after contact per rush. Saquon Barkley is currently averaging 3.9 yards per carry.

He’s averaging nearly three yards after contact, and has remained in the top five in the NFL in that category consistently in 2019. Ingram has been so impactful, you would think he never comes off the field. Contrary:

  • Against New England: 28 snaps (42% of total) 144 yards on 17 touches
  • Against Cincinnati: 22 snaps (48% of total) 34 yards and one touchdown on nine touches
  • Against Houston: 32 snaps (48% of total) 85 yards and two touchdowns on 16 touches
  • Against Los Angeles: 24 snaps (31% of total) 118 yards and two touchdowns on 16 touches

Ingram hasn’t played 50% of snaps in the past month. Ridiculous.

Mark Andrews has seen similar optimal efficiency, neither Mark has seen the field on more than half of offensive snaps since Seattle. This is a testament to the Ravens offensive depth as well as Greg Roman’s ability to call the right plays for the right players.

Final offensive notes:

Matt Skura has been placed on the injured reserve. Skura has played consistently well this year, teetering around PFF’s #10 center for most of the year. His experience will be a loss, as he’s played the second most snaps in the NFL since the start of 2018.

With that being said, Patrick Mekari has a lot of promise. Mekari filled in well, although the Ravens didn’t ask much of him. Mekari was used similarly to Skura. His night consisted of combo blocking, mainly to Marshal Yanda’s man, then getting to the second level. Mekari needs to play a touch lower with more knee bend.

The former California Golden Bear also needs to attack his combo blocks on the hip, which is where the defender’s center of gravity is located. Go push someone in the shoulder with all of your strength, then go push someone in the hip with all of your strength. The hip will cause a further push.

With that being said, Mekari, in my opinion, has a better anchor than Skura. He can stonewall defenders in the passing game. Mekari is a former tackle, but he has the body of an interior offensive lineman more so. He’s athletically built, looking similar to Patrick Ricard as opposed to his fellow offensive lineman. Mekari moves well and didn’t allow a pressure throughout the entire preseason, nor did he allow one Monday.

WR Seth Roberts has seen a steady dosage of targets the past few weeks, which is good to see. Roberts plays with a very steady pace and generally maintains his balance and footing really well. He’s a confident hands-catcher and a hell of a blocker. I would expect to see Roberts and Jackson continue to develop chemistry into the end of the season.

The Ravens dealt with Aaron Donald and company by having blockers tighten their splits, forcing Rams defenders to go around them rather than through them. Marshal Yanda had a few particularly impressive blocks against Donald. Donald is hyper aggressive in his approach, whereas Yanda is one of the most patient interior offensive lineman in football. Yanda allowed Donald to show his hand, then would shove him into the wash of other lineman once Donald committed.

Orlando Brown Jr. didn’t have one negatively graded play from me, doing his job well and maintaining blocks when necessary. His play over the past month has really picked up. The combination of Brown and Yanda on combo blocks has completely smothered any defender they’ve put four paws on.

Hayden Hurst is always open. That’s all.

Justice Hill had his best game of the year, where he got north and ran with good pad level. He broke a few tackles and flew through holes. He has failed to find rhythm with the ball in his hands this season, but Monday he had a ton of juice. The Ravens, should they opt to hold onto Gus Edwards (which they absolutely should) have an amazing contingency plan with Hill and Edwards to be Ingram’s successors.


Defensive Thoughts:

The Ravens seemed to predict when to blitz and where to blitz from as if they could hear the Rams play calls at times. On the second series, “Wink” Martindale dialed up a bit of madness.

Martindale used a slew of unique looks. Marlon Humphrey blitzed a few times, although he has come in a bit too hot, but he still forced Goff off his spot.

The Rams only chance was when they made a drive down 14-0. Marlon Humphrey penalty gave a fresh set of downs in the red zone. The Rams shot themselves in the foot with a false start penalty, then the Ravens stood on their heads, forcing the Rams to settle for three points. The game was never reachable again.

The Rams weren’t able to gain any traction on the ground. Jaylon Ferguson was a force against the run. His eyes and edge discipline were great. Sack Daddy’s ability to put opposing ball carriers on the ground is quite underrated. He’s an extremely solid tackler, who has great length and range to go end plays. He can control tight ends who attempt to block him, and does a great job angling his body towards the play. No play fakes or play action passes fooled Ferguson, who rarely came off the field (38 snaps 70%).

Marlon Humphrey played almost exclusively in the nickel as a slot corner. Humphrey is still honing his craft in the slot, but he covers over routes extremely well due to his aggressiveness, speed, footwork and quick reactions. Over routes are the hot trend in football recently, simply crossing the defense after gaining leverage.

“Marlo” seems a bit susceptible to quick out breaking routes like outs and comebacks, but he is learning. He also had glove-tight coverage on Brandin Cooks on a relatively accurate pass from Jared Goff deep downfield.

Matthew Judon registered a 91.3 PFF grade and earned team of the week honors, which he deserved. Judon harassed Jared Goff, as he did Deshaun Watson, Ryan Finley and Tom Brady. Taco Bell boy has been on a tear. Wink gave Judon a few reps in a two point stance over the A-gap, one of which resulted in a massive hit.

Josh Bynes had a stellar game. He has been diagnosing plays, aligning the defense and navigating his way through the mess to make tackles exceptionally well. He also has had great positioning in coverage, which has stabilized the ILB against the pass. Bynes is playing the best football of his career currently.

Jihad Ward saw snaps at edge and dropped into coverage a few times. He didn’t make any splash plays, but brings exciting versatility to the Ravens front. Chris Wormley, Brandon Williams and Domata Peko were fire hydrants up the gut, taking on double teams without succeeding much ground. Peko is a fury of hair that doesn’t appear fun to block.

The Ravens defense now sits at 4th in DVOA through 12 weeks, where they were ranked 3rd at the end of 2018. This is astounding considering the Ravens ranked 26th after the first four games. They have been the best defense in football throughout their seven-game win streak.

Eric DeCosta and Martindale have done everything and the kitchen sink to get this defense in the right place, where they are now among the league’s best.

On to San Francisco.