Well, that was . . . something?
In their final game before a Week 7 bye, the Ravens hung on against the Eagles and escaped Philadelphia with a two-point victory. Baltimore was outscored by more than two touchdowns in the second half but emerged with a win nonetheless.
Some takeaways are in order.
1) A tale of two halves, or three quarters
Through the first two quarters of Sunday’s matchup, the Ravens appeared to be well on their way to a blowout victory. Much like in Week 5 against the Bengals, the Ravens defense pitched a shutout in the first half and the offense poured in 17 points.
Philadelphia’s offense could get zilch going as the Ravens thoroughly dominated in the trenches and limited any chunk plays downfield. A dropped touchdown pass by Miles Sanders followed by a missed field goal to end the first half seemingly deflated the Eagles.
However, the tide evidently turned later in the game and did so rather quickly in what wound up being a rollercoaster second half. The Ravens ceded two quick touchdowns to Philadelphia in the third quarter but buckled up on the next drive by forcing a turnover on downs. Two field goals from Justin Tucker saw Baltimore’s lead expand to 30-14.
Then, the Eagles manufactured back-to-back touchdown drives of 11 plays, 75 yards and a 71-yard drive with just minutes remaining. On the latter, a defensive pass interference call on Marcus Peters gave the Eagles a quick 44-yard gain and put them in scoring position.
Luckily, the Ravens defense finally dialed back in when it mattered most, thwarting a two-point conversion try by Carson Wentz and sealing the deal on a Ravens victory.
Quite the strange turn of events, and it’s hard to describe what unfolded in any one word.
2) Whew . . .
Perhaps the best word to describe Sunday’s finish is the natural reaction most Ravens fans likely had, which is “whew.” Escaping with a victory is a sure sigh of relief, as the Ravens avoided what was nearly a late-game collapse of epic proportions.
Prior to Week 6, all four of the Ravens victories this season had come by 14 points or more. In fact, you’d have to dig all the way back to Week 14 of the 2019 season to find the last time the Ravens did NOT win a game by more than single digits — when the Ravens beat the Bills by a score of 24-17.
Winning big is good and any team would prefer to win by a sizeable margin than narrowly escape a game with a victory, but it’s possible that this game will serve as a much-needed wake up call for the Ravens.
It had been a long time since Baltimore had been truly tested and prevailed with a victory, with “victory” being the key word — as it excludes the Week 3 debacle against the Chiefs.
So while the Ravens should have defeated the Eagles by far more than just two points, the final result could ultimately have a positive spin in the long run. Positive pixels?
3) Self-inflicted wounds nearly prove damning
Make no mistake about it: this was an incredible sloppy performance from the Ravens offense, specifically the offensive line. They looked a bit out of sync against the Bengals in Week 5, but they didn’t struggle with penalties like they did today.
On Baltimore’s second-to-last drive on the second quarter, three consecutive penalties from Tyre Phillips (holding), Orlando Brown Jr. (illegal formation), and Ronnie Stanley (illegal block) pushed the Ravens back a total of 25 yards. This spiral occured after Lamar Jackson and J.K. Dobbins had each ripped off first down rushes on back-to-back plays, and effectively eliminated any sort of offensive momentum.
It was more of the same from there in the second half. On the first drive of the third quarter, Nick Boyle was flagged for being an ineligible man downfield and Bradley Bozeman received a false start. Jackson was able to keep the drive alive in spite of these penalties with a couple of key completions, but a 3rd-&-4 situation later in the possession became 3rd-&-9 following another false start on Mark Andrews.
Jackson was sacked on the following play and the Ravens were once again forced to punt.
Chalk it up to miscommunications, lack of executive or just pure sloppiness, but having double-digit penalties from the offense is an unacceptable number. The Ravens continuously put themselves behind the eight ball and shot themselves in the foot on a handful of drives because of it.
While it did not reflect in the end result, there’s little doubt that the Ravens could have won produced more offensively on Sunday if not for an abundance of self-inflicted wounds.
4) Calais Campbell makes his mark
The Ravens prized offseason acquisition this year, Calais Campbell, has had a solid start to the season and has made a positive impact on the defense. However, prior to Week 6, fans were still awaiting a truly breakout performance from the 14-year veteran.
Well, we were greeted to that against the Eagles in a major way.
Campbell wreaked havoc on Philadelphia’s patchwork offensive line from start to finish and was in the Eagles backfield all afternoon. The former All-Pro finished with a wildly impressive stat line of three sacks, four QB hits, and four TFL. Campbell’s sacks made up half of the Ravens team total and he led all players in each of these three categories.
Campbell’s contributions were especially important in the absence of fellow starters Brandon Williams and Derek Wolfe, who were both out of the lineup. Nevertheless, the defensive line largely did not miss a beat — and it’s because of No. 93.
The lone blemish came when the Ravens were play-faked into seeing Miles Sanders rip off a 75-yard gain early in the third quarter. However, eliminate this play from the equation and the Eagles did little damage on the ground.
A dominant all-around performance from Campbell.
5) The bye week comes at a perfect time
If you had said before the season that the Ravens would win five of their first six games this season, almost everyone would have said, “sign me up!”
However, this is a strange occurrence in which the Ravens 5-1 record on the year feels about as hollow as it could possibly be. This undoubtedly can be chalked up somewhat to lofty expectations, as the Ravens are now held to the standard of the 14-win, historically good football team that we saw in the regular season last year.
With that being said, though, it’s clear that the Ravens have quite a few kinks to smooth over and hash out. Sans the fourth quarter of Sunday’s game and a poor showing against the Chiefs in Week 3, the Ravens defense has been fantastic.
However, the same cannot necessarily be said for the other side of the ball.
As referenced earlier, the Ravens offense is simply not clicking at the level to which we’ve been accustomed to. Lamar Jackson and the passing game have struggled to muster much consistency over the past several weeks, and the slew of penalties against the Eagles will surely not sit well with John Harbaugh and the coaching staff.
In order to get where they want to go further down the line, the Ravens offense needs to become more effective and consistent moving the ball downfield. Additionally, they cannot afford to suffer mental errors like we’ve seen recently.
Thus, the bye week is much-needed and comes at a perfect time. The Ravens need to use this break in Week 7 to regroup and fix their imperfections, as a high-stakes divisional showdown against the Steelers in Week 8 awaits.