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Ravens News 10/12: No Mercy and more

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Cincinnati Bengals v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

NFL Week 5: What we learned from Sunday’s games - Chase Goodbread

The Ravens defense extended the NFL’s longest active streak of consecutive games forcing at least one turnover (18), getting three for the game and maintaining its penchant for causing fumbles. Add three more forced fumbles this week for a total of nine on the season and a rate of nearly two per game. Rookie LB Patrick Queen stripped his former LSU teammate, Joe Burrow, and recovered the fumble for one, and in the second half, when CB Marlon Humphrey forced another, his second in as many weeks, it was Queen who scooped it for a 53-yard touchdown return. Ball carriers beware — two hands on the ball to finish plays is the only way to go against this team.

Credit Cincinnati’s defense, at least, for containing Lamar Jackson’s rushing. The 2019 NFL MVP had battered the Bengals on the ground — 342 yards in his career, his highest total against any team — but had negative-4 yards rushing at the half and just three yards on two carries for the day. Jackson was patient and scrambled to throw, not run, but that was in part because the Bengals’ defensive front limited easy escape lanes.

Ticked-off Ravens pass rush roughs up Joe Burrow with seven sacks - Jamison Hensley

The Ravens’ seven sacks were their most since October 2018 against the Titans. Baltimore, which is 4-1 for the first time since its 2012 Super Bowl season, finished with nearly as many quarterback hits (15) as completions allowed (19).

Ravens defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale was relentless in sending pressure, especially with blitzing his defensive backs. Every starter in the secondary — cornerbacks Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters, and safeties DeShon Elliott and Chuck Clark — all recorded sacks.

Describe the game in two words: Fast start. The Ravens jumped out to a 10-0 lead in the first quarter, which is familiar territory. In Lamar Jackson’s four starts against the Bengals, the Ravens have outscored them 45-7, in the first quarter.

NFL Week 5 PFF ReFocused: Baltimore Ravens 27, Cincinnati Bengals 3 - Anthony Treash

STORY OF THE GAME

Defensive coordinator Wink Martindale showed no mercy by blitzing Burrow on 59% of his dropbacks, and the pass rush feasted by recording pressure on a staggering 47% of Burrow’s dropbacks. To no surprise, Burrow struggled and proceeded to put on his worst display as a pro.

On his 18 dropbacks that came under pressure, Burrow was sacked seven times, recorded three turnover-worthy plays and completed three of just nine pass attempts for 15 yards. And of those 18 dropbacks under pressure, 12 came from blitzes.

The LSU product wasn’t all that bad from a clean pocket, completing 15 of his 21 clean-pocket passes for 165 yards and a big-time throw. The unfortunate context is that most of those passes stemmed from quick throws to avoid the pressure that was inevitably coming.

In terms of expected points added (EPA) per play, this was the least efficient Bengals offense in the Zac Taylor era, at -0.46 EPA per play. For what it’s worth, the second-worst game came in Week 10 of 2019 against … the Baltimore Ravens.

Jackson was also far from his best in this one. He did next to nothing on the ground, with just 3 yards rushing on two carries, and he completed only four of the 13 passes he threw 10 or more yards downfield for no big-time throws and a turnover-worthy play. Those four completions were huge for Baltimore (three of the four came on third down, two came close to the red zone), but at the end of the day, the defense won them this one.

ROOKIE WATCH

While Burrow had a game he’ll want to forget, Baltimore’s first-round selection, Patrick Queen, had a day he will always remember. The linebacker laid a hit stick on his former college teammate, jarring the ball loose upon impact and subsequently recovering the fumble. Then, in the fourth quarter, Marlon Humphreypunched the ball out of Cincinnati wide receiver Mike Thomas’ hands after a catch, and Queen scooped it up and took it to the house. In all, Queen had three defensive stops and made very few mistakes all game long.

Marlon Humphrey Defensive MVP Chatter Starts After Dominating Bengals - Ryan Mink

“Marlon, I feel like he should be up for Defensive MVP,” said reigning NFL MVP Lamar Jackson. “If not, give it to him early.”

Jackson wasn’t the only Ravens player beating that drum after the game. Humphrey now has one interception and three forced fumbles on the season. The Ravens made him the second-highest paid cornerback in the league a couple weeks ago and Humphrey has made it look like a bargain since.

“Marlon is great. I didn’t know he was this great,” Queen said. “This is like something I’ve never seen before. … He should be Defensive Player of the Year at the end of this year with how he’s playing.”

“MVP. Best cornerback in the league,” veteran linebacker Pernell McPhee added.

“When you see Marlon, why do you still run the ball? Just get down!” Queen said. “It doesn’t make any sense because he does this over and over again. They’re just trying to get yards, but Marlon is Marlon.”

“Man, I had a lot of fun today,” Humphrey said. “We don’t really care who makes a play, and I think that’s what makes it so fun. Whoever makes a play, it seems like we all celebrate, like we made it.”