Hollywood returned to the lineup in perfect time for the primetime match up against the Patriots. Clearly not 100% with a lingering ankle injury, Brown was still able to make an impact on the game and his presence alone puts stress on an opposing defense.
In the first quarter he took an end-around handoff and showed off his impressive speed as he turned up the sideline for a big gain. It’s fair to wonder if he would have turned that play into a house call at full health as he was about a step away from breaking away from the defender.
At his size, injuries will always be a concern for Brown in the NFL, but he has shown a willingness to play through them thus far. The Ravens will surely monitor his weekly workload in practice to ensure they have him out there on Sundays. He will also take precautions of his own which was the case on a first down reception where he opted to lose two yards in order to get out of bounds and avoid contact.
After missing the previous three games, Hollywood finished with three catches for 48 yards and currently sits at 24 receptions for 374 yards and three touchdowns on his rookie season.
It was a quiet game for the rookie out of Notre Dame on a night where he only saw one target and was unable to make it on the stat sheet. The ground game dominated the night and the Ravens did not force anything against a strong new England secondary.
With the return of Marquise Brown and the pass game highlighting the talented trio of tight ends, Boykin was an afterthought in the game plan seeing only 39% of snaps. There will be games where the passing game will be more featured, and that could come as early as this Sunday against a bad Bengals defense.
The downfield passing game has all but vanished since Week 1 but allowing Boykin some chances on 50/50 balls could unlock even more wrinkles in this offense. He currently sits at nine catches for 131 yards and two touchdowns on his rookie campaign.
This was a game where we thought we might see Hill’s role expanded going against a defense that lacked team speed. After two weeks to prepare, Hill finished with only three carries for seven yards, remaining an afterthought in this offense.
It’s starting to feel like we won’t see a true impact out of Hill in his rookie season and the Ravens have more of a long-term plan for him. The Ravens running game dominated on Sunday featuring their two physical backs who wore down the Patriots defense as Hill was not needed in this one.
Fresh legs are always valuable come December and January, and Hill certainly will fit that bill as a weapon in the Ravens back pocket. Until then, he sits at 21 carries for 85 yards on the season.
Not only did Ferguson start against the Patriots, he trailed only Matthew Judon at linebacker with 42 snaps accounting for 63% of the total plays. In comparison, Tyus Bowser only logged 28 snaps, who also trailed Jihad Ward in the pecking order.
The coaching staff clearly has confidence in the rookie, and they are letting him play through some rookie struggles. The front office must also feel the same way as they opted not to trade for a pass rush upgrade at the trade deadline, giving Ferguson a boost of confidence moving forward. “I appreciated the Ravens showing confidence in me. They trust what we got at home. It’s good for me confidence-wise and it’s going to be a really good week for me at practice” Ferguson told reporters in the week leading up to the Sunday night showdown.
He noticeably has some work to do rushing from the outside, but he is making the most of his interior pass rush snaps, an area where they will need him to continue to step up after the loss of Pernell McPhee. He finished the night with two tackles and did not register a quarterback hit but was a factor in opening opportunities for other players to get to Brady. Moving forward, he appears entrenched as the starter opposite of Judon and will be relied upon the rest of the season to continue to progress and contribute down the stretch.
Mekari was active for the eighth 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)