The much-anticipated matchup between the Ravens and 49ers didn’t disappoint. Two of the top teams in the National Football League slugged it out in a downpour. The Ravens improved to 10-2 on the leg of Justin Tucker’s game winning 49-yard field goal as time expired, their eighth win in a row.
While it was not the blowout we’ve become accustomed to, the Ravens proved they can win ugly against the best defense in the league. Several rookies contributed to the biggest win of the season, below is a breakdown of their performances:
Lamar Jackson and the pass catchers struggled to connect throughout the afternoon as wind and rain wreaked havoc on the playing conditions. To highlight the struggles through the air, Jackson averaged more yards per attempt on 16 rushes (6.3) than he averaged per attempt on 23 passes (4.6) against the 49ers defense.
The 49ers are one of the stingiest pass defenses in the league and that held true as they erased any threat of a big play through the air. On his lone catch of day, he managed only a single yard, signaling the underwhelming day the Ravens had through the air. Brown will look to bounce back this Sunday in Buffalo while currently sitting at 35 catches, 519 yards and six touchdowns during his fantastic rookie season.
Look to all the reasons stated above as to why Miles Boykin did not show up on the stat sheet. In a day where the passing game couldn’t get going, the opportunities simply weren’t there for Boykin. He has flashed his playmaking ability in recent weeks, most notably last Monday night against the Rams on a fourth quarter deep ball from Robert Griffin III in which he used his big frame to box out the defender and make a leaping grab by his fingertips.
Boykin remains a huge asset in the run game as a willing blocker downfield which is crucial to the success of this offense. He will continue to be used sparingly in the passing game while seeing plenty of playing time due to his run blocking chops. On his rookie year, he has recorded 11 catches on 18 targets for 185 yards and two touchdowns.
It was a quiet day for the rookie out of Oklahoma State as he only saw four snaps on offense. The ground game was the focal point with Jackson, Ingram and Edwards combining for 37 carries, leaving minimal work left for Hill who only recorded a single carry. The power run game was needed and with the rainy weather, Hill’s running style was not a fit for the game-script.
He has been used sparingly throughout his rookie season and barring injury; this seems to be the extent of work we should anticipate heading into the final month of the season. He has totaled 38 carries for 144 yards and is still looking for the first touchdown of his career.
The Ravens defense was gashed on the outside by the 49ers zone running scheme as defenders failed to set the edge, resulting in a total of 152 yards surrendered on the ground. Ferguson has been a player on the rise, seeing an uptick in snaps and assignments, but setting the edge has been an area of improvement for the rookie out of Louisiana Tech. George Kittle is one of the best, if not the best blocking tight end in the league and he had his way with the Ravens linebacker all afternoon.
It was an underwhelming performance, totaling only one solo tackle and assisting on another while playing 38 snaps, accounting for 67% of the defensive plays. Ferguson has recorded 21 tackles, four tackles for loss, two quarterback hits and a sack in his rookie season.
After losing center Matt Skura for the season to a knee injury, Mekari got a vote of confidence from the coaching staff as the undrafted rookie out of California was given the starting nod. This speaks volumes to how far Mekari has come since being passed on completely in the April draft to now the starting center on the best offense in football. It is also notable that while he is now the starter, rookie fourth round selection Ben Powers has yet to be active on gameday.
The offensive line didn’t miss a beat, turning in another stellar performance against the 49ers vaunted defensive line. After holding Aaron Donald to just one tackle in Week 12, a game in which Mekari played three quarters, they continued their domination holding Nick Bosa to a single tackle. The offensive line handled the 49ers while not allowing a single sack or quarterback hit the entire game. Something tells me Mekari will be just fine as the Ravens starting center for the rest of the season.
OG Ben Powers
QB Trace McSorley
CB Iman Marshall
DT Daylon Mack (IR)
LB Otaro Alaka (IR)