The Ravens traveled to Philadelphia on Sunday to take on the Eagles and won, although the Eagles were able to stay in it largely due to numerous penalties by Baltimore and defensive difficulties late. Even though there were multiple frustrating holding calls committed by the Ravens, there are some things in this game that we can look at positively.
Lamar Jackson had a solid game, throwing 16 of 27 for 186 yards and one touchdown, as well as rushing for 108 yards and another score. He led the offense straight through an admittedly mediocre Eagles defense.
Today, I dove into the tape and found three plays I’d like to highlight.
Our first play comes on Baltimore's first drive of the game, where the Ravens were facing a 3rd & 10 situation on the Eagles 37-yard line. Lamar Jackson sits in the shotgun by himself with three out left and two out right. Philly is clearly in a zone coverage, sitting back to try and not let Baltimore get a first down on this play, pretending as if they’re going to blitz six. As soon as the ball is snapped, Jackson looks to Duvernay, who is wide open for a short pass. After two great blocks from Snead and Boyle, he gets the first down and a little more.
The reason this play is significant is because even though the passing game has been stagnant all season, Baltimore seems to have found success by utilizing quick, predetermined passes to get easy yards. When Lamar doesn’t need to make a decision on who to throw to, or can make that decision pre-snap based on the coverage, the Ravens have mostly found success. Another important part of this play is the rookie Duvernay, who had some great blocks but creates an extra seven yards after contact by forcing his way through his defender.
This next play comes later in the first quarter, on a 3rd & 1. Ravens are in the red zone on the Eagles seven yard line. Lamar is in the pistol with Gus Edwards behind him, and eight big bodies on the line of scrimmage. As the play begins, Philly is heavy on the left side, but Gus is running up the middle, so there’s only two free defenders that can deal with Gus. Once Gus gets closer, Matt Skura, the center, switches blocks and begins blocking the free defender, which also opens up a hole for Edwards that wasn’t there before. Edwards runs right through the line getting tackled but not in time to prevent the touchdown.
This play is special because of blocking, which is outstanding. To be frank, Gus Edwards doesn’t really do very much here, he sees the hole, he runs through the hole, there wasn’t very much to dodge or break free from. That is perfectly fine, and is also ideal, because Baltimore blocked this perfectly. Skura does a great job of blocking two separate defenders in just the right way to get Gus a clean hole. Boyle had a great block along the left side that kept Edwards from being blown up before the play even began. All in all, this is a showcase that the Ravens run blocking is still top tier.
The last play will begin with 4:35 left in the third quarter, 3rd & 3 on the Eagles 37-yard line. The Ravens are up 17-6 and are looking to close out this game that to this point hasn’t been much of a contest. Lamar is in the shotgun formation with Dobbins to his right. Baltimore has three receivers out wide and one tight end on the line. The play is an option, and right away the defender bites on Dobbins, so Lamar keeps it himself. Nathan Gerry (No. 47) goes to cover Lamar running to the right side, but Jackson runs it right up the middle. Tyre Phillips does a good job on his assignment, and Lamar takes it to the house.
This play is special because, first of all, Lamar Jackson is quite fast.
Philly didn’t cover the run up the middle at all here, and part of that is probably due to an understanding that if Lamar runs with the ball he will probably run to either side, not into the line. The decision here to essentially flip that resulted in Lamar being able punish Philly for not specifically designing their defense to keep him in check, something that we’ve seen other teams do frequently. Once again, the run blocking for Baltimore was fantastic, but the Eagles could’ve easily stopped this if Gerry had been in the right spot, but that’s what this offense is designed to do. If you’re not in the exact right spot when you need to be, you’ll get burned.