NFL Week 4: What we learned from Sunday’s games - Chase Goodbread
The Baltimore offense rebounded from a rough outing last week, when the Kansas City Chiefs held the Ravens to just 228 yards, their lowest total since drafting QB Lamar Jackson. It took some creativity (punter Sam Koch moved the chains on a TD drive with a 15-yard completion on a fake punt; he’s now 7-for-7 in his career as passer), and the longest rush of Jackson’s career on a 50-yard TD, but in the end, the Ravens logged 31 points with a balanced attack. They also pulled it off without OL Ronnie Stanley, which forced Orlando Brown to left tackle and guard D.J. Fluker to right tackle. Jackson also became the fastest to reach 5,000 passing yards and 2,000 rushing yards in NFL history, doing so in his 35th career game.
Ravens CB Marlon Humphrey wasted no time providing some ROI (return on investment) for the $98.75 million contract he signed this week. In the first quarter, Humphrey stripped Washington RB J.D. McKissic for his second forced fumble of the season, and Baltimore cashed in two plays later on a one-yard TD plunge by Mark Ingram for a 7-0 lead that Baltimore never relinquished. The Ravens’ lockdown cover man ended up with nine tackles, eight of them solo.
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STORY OF THE GAME
The Ravens’ offense looked a lot like the offense that we’ve grown accustomed to seeing over the last year — unlike what they put on the field last weeks against the Kansas City Chiefs. Baltimore was one of the more efficient offenses in the NFL from an EPA per play (0.311) and yards per play (7.3) standpoint through the first three quarters of this game.
Lamar Jackson broke off a 50-yard touchdown run, and he hit multiple downfield passes to Mark Andrews and Marquise Brown. There are few vertical connections in football right now that look more comfortable than Jackson hitting Andrews over the middle of the field.
Dobbins is in the midst of a true three-back committee in Baltimore, and his 16 offensive snaps were sandwiched between Gus Edwards (19) and Mark Ingram (14) in this game. Dobbins has stepped forward as the receiving threat of the three when looking at how many routes each player runs, but he dropped one of his two targets here. He gained just 16 yards on five carries this afternoon.
Coming off his best game of the season against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 3, right guard Tyre Phillips continues to struggle in the run game. There weren’t a ton of pass-blocking reps to be had in this one, but Phillips was not able to keep his first clean sheet of the year against a talented Washington defensive line, either. Replacing Marshal Yanda is not an easy task.
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“That was the key, plays being made,” coach John Harbaugh said.
“We didn’t have gigantic plays, but we had conversion plays,” Harbaugh said, referring mostly to Jackson’s 50-yard sprint on third down and punter Sam Koch’s 15-yard completion on a fourth-and-9 that set up the first of Jackson’s two touchdown passes to tight end Mark Andrews.
“We’re close,” Andrews said of the Baltimore offense, which averaged 32 points per game in 2019. “It’s just little things here and there that need to be tightened up.”
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“I think this league is all about not getting too up, not getting too down,” Andrews said. “I’m confident in my ability, and today was good.”
“The criticism is fair,” he said. “If you’re going to be the guy, you’ve got to make those plays. I love the criticism and I feed off that. I’m trying to be the best. There’s no one that’s going to be more critical of me than me.”
Andrews’ first touchdown came with the usual “backyard” flair that has made the Lamar Jackson-Andrews connection so dangerous. Even if teams are game planning to take Andrews out of the game, they can always freelance to find each other.
On the second touchdown, Andrews showed off his speed, going vertical and racing past Washington linebacker Shaun Dion-Hamilton.
“Our chemistry never really left,” Jackson said. “It was just a hiccup in the game, I guess. We’re good. It was great to have the chemistry going today.”
“We’re working hard in practice, and we’re just hitting our stride,” Andrews added. “We’re just going to keep on getting better.”