In Week 6, Baltimore Ravens welcomed the Los Angeles Chargers to town for what many believed would be a tightly contested showdown between two of the top contenders in the AFC. However, the home team ended up winning in a 34-6 rout thanks in large part to some of their less-heralded players on both sides of the ball.
This article highlights the players whose performances flew under the radar but were still clutch, the unsung heroes.
ILB Josh Bynes
The veteran had the best game of any Ravens’ inside linebacker of the season thus far in his third stint with the team. Bynes made plays in both the running and passing game that were key in the defense’s most complete and utterly dominant performance of the yea. It came against a surging Chargers team led by their prolific offense.
Bynes tied for the team lead in total tackles with six, including one behind the line of scrimmage for a loss of two yards. The coverage ability, or lack thereof, from the inside linebacker position was viewed as the most glaring vulnerability of the Ravens defense heading into the game. Bynes, though, responded with a strong day in coverage. He recorded a pass breakup and had another that was nearly an interception negated by a penalty.
After the loss of L.J. Fort before the season even started, there was some worry that the Ravens’ young and inexperienced group at the position would struggle without a steady veteran presence on and off the field. Bynes appears to have more than adequately fill that void after his sensational outing on Sunday.
RB Devonta Freeman
The veteran running back followed up a strong showing in last week’s comback win with an even more impressive game against Chargers. Freeman showed more juice as a runner than many fans and pundits — myself included — believed he had left in the tank. Freeman led the team in rushing with 53 yards on nine carries for a healthy average of 5.9 yards per carry. He exhibited great vision, made decisive cuts, and displayed some burst to the edge as well as into the second level that was thought to be long gone from his physical repertoire.
CB Anthony Averett
The fourth-year cornerback had about as horrendous of an outing as a starting cornerback could have in Week 5. He bounced back in a big way against the red-hot Chargers, though. Averett was part of a collective effort by the Ravens’ secondary that shut down the Bolts’ high-flying passing attack. Averett tied Bynes for the team lead in total tackles with six including five solos and was solid in coverage. He drew an offensive pass interference and came up with a clutch pass breakup on third down later on the same drive to force a punt.
RB Latavius Murray
The veteran running back continues to be the battering ram for the Ravens offense. Murray was averaging nearly 5.0 yards carry before leaving the game late in the third quarter with an ankle injury. He tied for first in carries with nine, finished third in rushing with 44 yards, scored his team-leading fourth rushing touchdown, and added 12 more yards on a pair of receptions. One-third of Murray’s carries came in short-yardage situations and he converted all three attempts into first downs.
OLB Justin Houston
The veteran edge defender and future Hall of Famer inched closer to the century sack mark with his takedown of Justin Herbert for a loss of seven yards on the Chargers’ final drive of the game. It brought his career sack total to 99.5. However, before he made that play, Houston was a disruptive force for most of the afternoon and finished with two total tackles including one for a loss and a quarterback hit.
FB Patrick Ricard
The two-time Pro Bowl fullback played an integral role in the resurgence of the Ravens’ run game on Sunday. He helped pave the way on the ground for Jackson and the running backs to rack up 187 yards, their highest total in three games. Ricard was a punishing lead blocker and either sprung or sealed the edge on each of the Ravens’ rushing touchdowns.