SIGNIFICANT RAVENS OFFENSIVE FLAW EXPOSED AGAINST CHIEFS - Brentley Weissman
As it stands now, the Ravens’ wide receiver room consists of 2019 first-round pick Marquise Brown, veteran slot guy Willie Snead, Myles Boykin, and 2020 third-round pick Devin Duvernay. As a unit, this group has speed to burn, but is not overly physical or reliable in contested situations.
Brown is easily the best of the bunch and has outstanding speed and burst. He is a true deep threat who perfectly complements what the Ravens want to do with their running of 12 and 22 personnel groupings, however Brown does have some deficiencies as a supposed No. 1 option. Brown, who lacks ideal NFL size and strength, struggles to separate when corners can get physical with him early on. Brown is also not overly physical at the catch point and will have a case of the drops here and there. Boykin and Duvernay are also speed demons, but neither are proven and both project as deep threats, not consistent chain-movers.
I know some reading this at home might be thinking, “Brentley, the Ravens are the best team in the league at running the football, and utilize 12 and 22 personnel more than anyone else in the NFL, why would they need to invest in a wide receiver?” The question can be answered in multiple ways. First, to have the ability to outscore the Chiefs if the running game and defense let you down, like in Monday night’s game. Second, to continue to provide Jackson with reliable and consistent weapons so he can continue to ascend as a pocket passer.
The Ravens need another reliable option on the outside who defenses must respect. They need a receiver who has the size and strength to win in contested situations, a guy who can be a consistent chain-mover on third downs, and someone who can complement the speed they already have in the receiver room.
Lamar Jackson’s Answer to Pulling Off Comebacks - Ryan Mink
“We try to avoid that as much as we can – a. Then b. – we have to figure out how to win those games,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said Wednesday.
“Look at the Chiefs; we can learn from our opponents. The Chiefs have figured that one out. They have come back and won numerous games when they’ve been down by even a lot more than 10. They’re 6-0 when down 10 since through last year. That’s why they’re the defending champions. And that’s something that we’re going to do our best to try to figure out.”
“We just can’t get in those situations of being behind,” Jackson said. “We’ve just got to try to score each and every drive like we should be. And if we’re down, just try to execute the plays and try to move forward and put points on the board and make a comeback.”
“Lamar is great at drop-back passing,” running back Mark Ingram II said. “He’s accurate. [The Chiefs] just played sound, disciplined defense.”
Ravens’ chief problem will haunt them until the postseason - Jamison Hensley
The Ravens don’t have to prove they can win big games. Baltimore went 5-1 against playoff teams last season, defeating the Seahawks by 14 points in Seattle, crushing the previously undefeated New England Patriots by 17 points in prime time and outlasting Super Bowl runner-up San Francisco by a field goal.
The uncertainty is how Baltimore can defeat Kansas City after losses in three straight seasons. Take away their games against the Chiefs, and the Ravens’ resume suggests they’re the second-best team in the NFL. Baltimore just isn’t in Kansas City’s class when lining up on the same field.
Doubts over whether the Ravens can upend the Chiefs have only increased. Baltimore lost a late lead in Kansas City in 2018 and then struggled early against the Chiefs in 2019 before making a comeback that fell short. On Monday night, the Ravens didn’t score an offensive touchdown in the first three quarters and allowed 517 yards to Mahomes and the Chiefs.
The Ravens were supposed to hang with the Chiefs this year after the strides they made this offseason. But a revamped front seven failed to sack Mahomes on 42 pass attempts. Quarterback Lamar Jackson failed to stretch the field, going 0-for-5 on passes that traveled at least 15 yards in the air. The offensive line failed to protect Jackson with a 35.7% pass-block win rate (21st in the NFL in Week 3).
Headline of the game: Dwayne Haskins needs to do a better job of taking care of the football
Haskins recorded just four turnover-worthy plays over his first nine NFL starts, so while there certainly were other areas that needed improvement heading into his 10th career start in Week 3, his protection of the football stuck out as a definitive strength to his game. Then, against the Browns last week, Haskins put up five turnover-worthy plays — more than he had in his prior nine games combined.
Those mistakes offered up points to Cleveland on a silver platter, and you can be certain Wink Martindale and this Ravens defense will be looking to force the second-year quarterback into more of them after a rough showing on Monday Night Football against the Chiefs. Since the start of last season, Baltimore’s 29 forced turnovers rank sixth in the NFL. Additionally, no quarterback has taken a sack on a higher rate of their pressured dropbacks than Haskins has (31%) since 2019. With how often the Ravens bring the blitz, it could be a rough afternoon for Haskins.
The Ravens’ defense enters Week 4 ranked second in the league in pressure, and Haskins has the third-worst quarterback rating under pressure so far in 2020 (35.8).
NFL Week 4 odds, picks: Cowboys rout Browns, Chiefs roll past Patriots, 49ers edge Eagles - Pete Prisco
Pick: Ravens 34, Washington Football Team 17