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Ravens News 9/16: Week 2 lessons, grades and more

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Arizona Cardinals v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

NFL Week 2 ReFocused: Baltimore Ravens 23, Arizona Cardinals 17 - PFF

BALTIMORE RAVENS

Matthew Judon and Pernell Mcphee brought havoc on the Cardinals’ offensive line. The Baltimore duo constantly made their presence felt in the run game and when rushing the passer.

There appeared to be some miscommunication in the secondary, which led to chunk plays for the Cardinals. Both Tony Jefferson and Marlon Humphrey had their share of coverage woes, as the pair busted a few coverages throughout the game.

It was obvious from the get-go that the offensive gameplan for the Ravens revolved around getting the ball into the hands of second-year tight end Mark Andrews and rookie wide receiver Marquise Brown. Andrews got the scoring started with a touchdown reception down the right sideline with the coverage biting hard on play action. While Brown never separated for any long gains, he collected a good amount of targets to remain a threat, which opened up rushing lanes on RPOs.

Quarterback Lamar Jackson made a pledge during the offseason to cut down on his rushing attempts and focus on distributing the ball through the air. Not to say that the passing attack suffered, but Jackson put on a clinic with his legs reminiscent of his Louisville playing days.

What we learned from Sunday’s Week 2 games - Michael Baca

In his follow-up to a near-perfect performance through the air in Week 1, Jackson had himself a day running the football posting a career-high 120 yards. Whether it be a designed running play or a scramble out of the pocket when under pressure, Jackson crossed the first-down marker often and his threat made it easier when dropping back to pass. Jackson ended the day completing 24 passes on 37 attempts for 272 yards and two touchdowns, but with the pesky Cardinals nipping at Baltimore’s heels all game, it was Jackson’s playmaking ability on the ground that was the difference.

While “Hollywood” Brown is quickly becoming his best receiving threat, Jackson is also showing his love for the tight end. Mark Andrews matched Brown’s eight receptions against the Cardinals and hauled in the Ravens’ first touchdown of the day. Fellow tight end Hayden Hurst caught the other one. Andrews now has 16 receptions through the first two games and is quickly becoming one of the top pass-catchers at the position.

The Breakdown: Five Thoughts on Ravens vs. Cardinals - John Eisenberg

On the game’s decisive play, the Ravens’ offense faced third-and-11 at the Baltimore 44 with 3:05 to play. Instead of milking the clock with a run, punting and asking their defense to save the day, the Ravens went bold, lined up with an empty backfield and threw deep. Jackson’s 41-yard completion to Marquise Brown locked up the game. It was the last and most important example of the aggressive approach the Ravens are displaying in 2019.

Other examples Sunday included the steady diet of blitzes that Defensive Coordinator Wink Martindale dialed up, especially late, when the game was in the balance; and Head Coach John Harbaugh going for it on fourth-and-3 at the Arizona 43 in the first quarter. But the pass to Brown was the biggest of them all, and the lesson in that call and execution is clear: It’s a lot easier to be aggressive when you have big-time playmakers on the field.

Position-by-position grades for Ravens’ 23-17 win over Cardinals - Mike Preston

Defensive line

Arizona did the Ravens a favor and abandoned the run. The Cardinals had only 11 rushing attempts for 20 yards, so this game basically became a track meet for the defensive line. Fortunately, it didn’t matter much. Tackles Brandon Williams and Michael Pierce combined for three tackles, and the only linemen to get pressure were Ricard and Williams. The Ravens still need to get more pressure from inside. They should have been able to bring more heat against the Cardinals because Arizona was one-dimensional. Grade: C