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Ravens News 11/30: Appreciation and more

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NFL: Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Week 12 Ravens’ observations: A concerning Lamar Jackson trend and Tyus Bowser’s value - Jeff Zrebiec

Bowser has probably been the Ravens’ best defensive player over the past month and his effort Sunday, when he had four tackles, a sack, three quarterback hits and a pass defended, builds on the best stretch of football in his career. A week after making the game-clinching sack against the Chicago Bears, Bowser had the game-clinching tackle against the Browns.

Andrews played a really good all-around game. The two acrobatic catches stole the headlines, but he had key blocks on the Marquise Brown wide receiver screen that picked up a first down on third-and-long and on Devin Duvernay’s third-quarter run. Particularly in the second half, he played with an attitude and edge that the struggling offense needed.

The annual Justin Tucker appreciation note: If he misses that 49-yard field goal with 1:15 to go, the Browns are taking over in decent field position with a chance to at least get in position for a game-tying field-goal attempt. That’s a high-stress kick with potentially major ramifications. Instead, Tucker striped it dead center with more than 10 yards to spare. He’s now made 55 straight field goals in the fourth quarter and overtime. You run out of words for Tucker, but that level of consistency in high-leverage situations is pretty remarkable.

Rookie Odafe Oweh Leads Ravens Defense - Todd Karpovich

With a sack-fumble of wide receiver Jarvis Landry, who attempted to pass from the Wildcat formation, Oweh joined fellow outside linebacker Terrell Suggs (2003) as the only Ravens rookies in team history to produce at least five sacks, multiple forced fumbles, and at least one fumble return in their rookie campaign.

Oweh traveled 29.5 yards from snap-to-sack and reached a top speed of 16.92 mph in pursuit of Landry, according to NFL NextGen Stats. The play marked Oweh’s fourth turnover caused by pressure this season, tying Chase Young for the most TO-QBP by a rookie in a season since 2016.

Oweh’s five sacks rank No. 4 among all NFL rookie defenders, while his three forced fumbles rank No. 1. All three of Oweh’s forced fumbles have been in home primetime matchups.

Defensive Notes Week 12 Browns @ Ravens - Ken McKusick

By employing a stop-the-run-first approach, the Ravens held the Browns to 40 yards on 17 carries while still avoiding death by play action. They surrendered just 2 first downs by rush, 1 of which came on a QB sneak by Mayfield.

It wasn’t any one thing that fueled the Ravens ability to stop Chubb. They held the point of attack well and usually had at least 1 significant penetrator. They denied cutbacks with dogged pursuit. They held the edges well and forced bubbles or unsuccessful cuts inside. They played relentless, physical defense from ILB and safety.

Anthony Averett was quietly outstanding. He played every snap defensively and did not allow a reception (2 targets) after spending all week on the injury report.

Justin Madubike (49 snaps) had a PD at the LoS, which was his only pass rush event. His 3 tackles were for gains of 2, -1, and 3 yards. It was the biggest workload of his career.

Geno Stone played all 16 dime snaps. He had a pressure on the game-sealing play and deserves a share of the credit for the success of the dime (0.8 YPP, see below)

Chuck Clark contributed vs the run and pass. He had 1.5 pressures (unforced sack fumble, Q2, 0:53; Incomplete, Q2, 0:16). He had 2 PDs, including a drive ender (Q1, 4:19). I did not chart him for a reception allowed.

DEFENSIVE MVPS

Tyus Bowser

Patrick Queen

Odafe Oweh

Ravens have winning formula with Lamar Jackson: Can they withstand his biggest flaw to reach the Super Bowl? - Jeff Kerr

It’s no secret Jackson is the most dynamic athlete on the field and the hardest player to contain. Even in a four-interception night, the Ravens quarterback still made the play necessary — a 13-yard touchdown pass to Mark Andrews — that helped the Ravens seal a 16-10 victory over Cleveland. That’s the aspect of Jackson’s game that’s so frustrating for opposing defenses, especially against a defense that has allowed 16 points or less in five of their last six games.

Can Jackson’s arm carry the Ravens past the divisional round of the playoffs, even if Baltimore gets the lone bye in the conference? Jackson’s passing numbers are not exactly where they’ve been the previous two years. His 64.2% completion rate is his lowest in a full season as a starting quarterback while his touchdown rate of 4.4% is a career-low and interception rate of 3.5% is a career-high.

Jackson has averaged 261.2 passing yards per game (by far a career-high) as the Ravens have been more reliant on his arm with the season-ending injuries to their top-two running backs, but he already has 12 interceptions through 10 games — his first double-digit interception season.

Baltimore has won 33 games since the start of that season. Their 33-10 record (.767 win percentage) is the second-best in the NFL, on par with the Kansas City Chiefs and just behind the Green Bay Packers (35-9). Regardless, the Ravens have just one playoff win to show for it.

Resetting the NFL Playoff Race in One of the Most Unpredictable Seasons Yet - Steven Ruiz

The race is much tighter in the AFC North, which could be decided by the Bengals-Ravens matchup in Cincinnati the day after Christmas. But in order for that game to matter, the Bengals will have to navigate a brutal schedule down the stretch. Four of their last six opponents have at least a 50 percent chance of earning a postseason berth, according to FiveThirtyEight. And the two “easy” games will be on the road in Denver, which is always a tough assignment, and in Cleveland against a Browns team that has already beaten the Bengals once this season. The Ravens’ schedule isn’t much easier, but their toughest remaining games—against the Packers and Rams—are in Baltimore, and they already have a one-game cushion over the Bengals. Cincinnati could prove to be the better team over these next four weeks and still lose the division.