After three-straight games with thrilling finishes played by the Baltimore Ravens (3-1), they delivered a convincing performance with a 23-7 victory over the Denver Broncos (3-1). There were quite a few good takeaways, one bad continuing trend and one potentially ugly injury situation to monitor from this game.
Gunslinger Lamar Jackson: Jackson came into this game throwing more than down field than any other quarterback in the league. He continued on with his "gunslinger” ways with a 22/37, 316 yards and one touchdown stat-line, good for his second career 300-yard passing performance. The dime of the day was, of course, the 49-yard touchdown bomb to Marquise Brown in second quarter. Jackson was efficient and also surgical on the money downs; he had 14 of his 22 completions result in a first down. In a game where Jackson produced 28 rushing yards, his arm was the reason the Ravens offense were successful today. Ravens wide receiver James Proche summed it up pretty well about Jackson's passing ability, and it would be "barbaric” to think No. 8 can't keep slinging the rock like this going forward.
Hollywood's Redemption: Last week, Marquise Brown had three brutal drops, where almost all of them could have been touchdowns. He owned up to that dud performance and was certainly criticized for it. Here in Week 4, Hollywood delivered a big rebound game and had the highlight reel play of the day. Mentioned above, his 49-yard diving touchdown grab in the second quarter ignited the team on their way to the victory. Brown added in three more grabs during the game and ended with 91 yards. Through four games this year, Brown has showed he has leveled and will be a true x-factor each week for this offense.
The defense delivers on the money downs: The Ravens came up big today with their best outing of the season. Aside from the one touchdown drive, the defense really handled the Broncos offense all game. Denver only mustered 254 total yards and a lowly 4.3 yards per play. The Ravens defense was clutch when it matter most, holding Denver to just a mere 3-for-14 on third-down conversions. Rookie linebacker Odafe Oweh notched another sack as he looks like a rising star on defense just four games in. Linebacker Tyus Bowser was another stud on defense as he added in two sacks of his own and cornerback Anthony Averett continues his development as a lock-down corner. He was targeted seven times this game, only allowing two catches and had the game-icing interception late in the fourth quarter.
43-straight games: Over the last 42 games the Ravens rushing attack has been outrageous, easily producing over 100 yards in every game. Today, the Ravens rushing attack was noticeably not as explosive as they usually are, mustering 3.4 yards per carry. They sat at just 97 rushing yards with three seconds left in the game. Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh could have just taken a knee, but instead, he wanted this team to tie the NFL record of 100-yard rushing games in a row. Jackson ran for five yards on the last play of the game and the Ravens continue on their historic rushing streak. Tip of the cap to Harbaugh for wanting this record for his guys.
“That’s one of those things that’s meaningful.— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) October 3, 2021
“It’s a very, very tough record to accomplish.”
Coach Harbaugh talked about tying the NFL record of rushing for at least 100 yards in 43-straight games. pic.twitter.com/aywn15f61t
Poor tackling on defense continues: Open-field tackling has been a problem on defense this season for the Ravens, and those tackling woes continued a little more in this game, particularly against the run. Broncos rookie running back Javonte Williams busted the whole defense on a 31-yard rip in the first quarter. The Broncos as a whole were very successful on the ground, finishing with 106 rushing yards and 6.3 yards per carry. The defense will need to focus on getting more sound with their tackling efforts, as next up on the schedule are the Indianapolis Colts (1-3) and their a bruising running back Jonathon Taylor.
The Kinda Ugly
The left tackle situation: The Ravens offensive line has seen plenty of shifting around and injuries so far this season. Offensive tackle Alejandro Villanueva, who has held up well since taking over the left tackle spot from the rehabbing Ronnie Stanley, left the game with a knee injury and did not return. Losing big AV would have a been a huge concern for the Ravens going forward. However, Harbaugh said after the game that Villanueva's injury is "nothing serious, just sore." We’ll still have to monitor this left tackle situation going into Week 5.
Veteran tackle Andre Smith, who Villanueva’s place, did have the ugly moment of the game. His face-mask penalty negated a 30-yard touchdown connection between Jackson and tight end Mark Andrews. The one ugly blemish on an overall very successful day for the Ravens.