The Ravens went on the road and outclassed the previously undefeated Broncos in Week 4. Baltimore, battling to overcome numerous significant injuries, earned a 3-1 record and their most convincing victory of the young season in Denver.
After allowing a second quarter Noah Fant touchdown, Baltimore’s defense mauled the Broncos, recording five sacks and limiting Denver to a 21.4-percent third down conversion rate on the afternoon. Edge defender Tyus Bowser turned in his best effort of the season with a pair of sacks among his 44 snaps.
Odafe Oweh continued to make his case for Defensive Rookie of the Year with another sack and Teddy Bridgewater knockout hit during his 42 snaps. Returning to action after a week off, veteran Justin Houston notched a sack on 37 snaps and Pernell McPhee was afforded a reduced 17-percent workload.
In the secondary, Chuck Clark and Marlon Humphrey again lined-up for all 61 defensive snaps, both a performing at a Pro Bowl caliber level. In the midst of a breakout contract year, Anthony Averett saw 59 snaps and secured a late interception.
With safety DeShon Elliott sidelined due to injury, rookie Brandon Stephens received 45 snaps while Jimmy Smith excelled during his 24 hybrid snaps. Tavon Young and Kevon Seymour completed the coverage rotation with 29 and nine defensive snaps, respectively. Despite Elliott’s absence, Anthony Levine and Geno Stone were limited to special teams duty.
Patrick Queen received a 93-percent snaps share but missed as many tackles as he made. Fellow second-year inside linebacker Malik Harrison earned 32 snaps compared to team tackles leader Chris Board’s 29. Veteran Josh Bynes was called upon for just four defensive plays.
Up front, Calais Campbell continued to anchor the line, collecting three quarterback hits on a unit leading 42 snaps. Brandon Williams returned to the field to provide 29 snaps while backup nose tackle Justin Ellis saw 15. Broderick Washington contributed 11 snaps and Justin Madubuike had a disruptive 24 snap outing that included a sack and pass deflection.
On offense, the right side of the line maintained blocking stability with Bradley Bozeman, Kevin Zeitler and Patrick Mekari lining-up for all 73 offensive snaps. The left guard platoon continued, Ben Powers slightly out-snapped Ben Cleveland 39 to 34. Left tackle Alejandro Villanueva suffered a concerning knee injury and was replaced by the uninspiring Andre Smith for the final 35 plays.
Fullback Patrick Ricard remains a key element of the NFL’s fourth most productive offense, as evidenced by his 70-percent snap share. Mark Andrews produced 67 yards on eight targets and 46 snaps. Backup tight ends Eric Tomlinson and Josh Oliver chipped-in 25 and 14 reps, respectively.
Baltimore’s muddled running back committee may not have gained much clarity. With Ty’Son Williams deactivated, Latavius Murray led the way, accumulating 59 yards, a 3.3 yard average and a touchdown on 45 snaps. Le’Veon Bell made his Ravens debut with 20 snaps and five uneventful touches. And Devonta Freeman saw one carry on six snaps.
The wide receivers were a bright spot in Denver. Sammy Watkins produced 49 yards on a position leading 53 snaps. Marquise Brown delivered a highlight reel 49-yard score and 91 total yards on five targets and 45 snaps. Devin Duvernay managed three receptions on his 33 offensive plays. Notably, the much anticipated James Proche breakout materialized, the backup receiver caught five balls for 74 yards during 24 snaps.
The Ravens aim to claim sole possession of first place in the division with home dates against Indianapolis, the Chargers and Bengals up next on the schedule, while awaiting the return of injured contributors Ronnie Stanley, Rashod Bateman, Nick Boyle, Tyre Phillips, Miles Boykin, Elliott and Derek Wolfe. Through the first four games of the 2021 season, the depth assembled by Eric DeCosta has proven beneficial.