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Ravens News 12/20: Toe-to-Toe and more

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Green Bay Packers v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

NFL Week 15 grades: Lions get an ‘A+’ for upset win, Jaguars get a ‘D’ in first game without Urban Meyer - John Breech

Ravens - B

You have to give Baltimore a lot of credit. With all the players they have missing, they were able to go toe to toe with one of the best teams in the entire NFL. The moment was not too big for Huntley and the second-year quarterback played extremely well. He threw for two touchdowns and ran for a couple more as well in the loss, and nearly pulled off the upset by scoring a late touchdown with less than a minute to play. You can question John Harbaugh’s decision to attempt the 2-point conversion following that fourth-quarter touchdown rather than kick the extra point and play for overtime, but Huntley and the offense were moving at an efficient clip at the time. Defensively, they really struggled to contain Aaron Rodgers, who completed nearly 75% of his passes and threw for three touchdowns. When you have a backup quarterback under center, the defense needs to step up more than it did as there were a number of instances where Ravens defenders struggled to tackle.

2021 NFL season, Week 15: What we learned from Sunday’s games - Kevin Patra

Tyler Huntley proves he’s legit. Lamar Jackson’s backup shined even in the loss, helping the Ravens’ offense move up and down the field. This wasn’t some rink-a-dink defense Huntley carved up either, with the Packers entering ranked in the top 10 in scoring D, total yards, rushing and passing yards allowed. Baltimore’s offense gobbled up 354 total yards and 24 first downs while punting just once. Huntley completed 28 of 40 passes (70%) for 215 yards and two TDs while adding 13 rushes for 73 yards and two more scores. With the backup QB leading the show, the Ravens offense has looked as good as it has in months. When in need of a play, Huntley often looked to star tight end Andrews, who gobbled up 10 catches for 136 yards and two first-half TDs. All other Ravens pass catchers compiled 79 total yards. With strong hands, good route running, and athleticism after the catch, Andrews is overlooked as one of the elite TEs in the NFL. Credit the Ravens coaching staff, down a boatload of players on both sides of the ball, for going toe to toe with the NFC’s top team sans Jackson. For Huntley, it proved his first start wasn’t a fluke and, in the right offense, he can be an effective playmaker.

Tyler Huntley, Mark Andrews Share Their View of Two-Point Conversion - Ryan Mink

Head Coach John Harbaugh said the play was designed to throw to Andrews, who was split out wide against Packers cornerback Eric Stokes.

Huntley rolled to his right and tried to zip a pass to his big-bodied tight end, but seeing the quick motion, the Packers flooded that side of the field and safety Darnell Savage was able to barely get a finger on the pass. The pass ended up behind Andrews and hit Stokes in the chest.

“[Andrews] had space for a moment,” Huntley said. “The defense, they just did a good job of just going down, and they just made a good play right there. I’ll be able to explain more when I watch the film. But yes, they made a good play.”

“That was the decision. I don’t think there’s anything else,” Andrews said. “I told Coach [Harbaugh] I wouldn’t have it any other way. I think that was the right thing to do. We’re an aggressive team. We fought, clawed. That was a good Packers team. For us to be right there and almost win it, that’s the opportunity that you want. I love the decision. I think we’re past that. We’re going to keep being aggressive.”

NFL Week 15 Game Recap: Green Bay Packers 31, Baltimore Ravens 30 - Jacob Rosenfarb

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

Mark Andrews was the most dominant force on the field Sunday, catching 10 of his 13 targets for 136 yards and two touchdowns. The former Pro-Bowler was Baltimore’s lone downfield threat, as he was responsible for 10 of the team’s 12 receiving first downs while averaging a team-high 10.3-yard of depth per target. Andrews also displayed some impressive abilities as a ball-carrier, leading the team in explosive plays (2) and forced missed tackles (2).

Marquise Brown saw a team-high 14 targets, reeling in 10 for 43 receiving yards. Brown was uniquely affected by the loss of Jackson, as the third-year pro’s 4.4 yard average depth of target was his lowest figure since week 17 of 2019. Despite his 10 receptions, Brown failed to pick up even one first down, the first time this season the former first-round pick was held without a receiving first down.

Offensive Line

Baltimore’s offensive line performed competently in the defeat, allowing 20 pressures and one sack in pass protection while facilitating a Ravens rushing attack that averaged 5.5 yards per carry. Starting right tackle Alejando Villanueva shone in pass protection, allowing zero pressures Sunday after conceding 14 across his last four contests.

Position-by-position grades for Ravens’ 31-30 loss to Packers - Mike Preston

Defensive line

This unit had a strong first half but wore down in the third quarter. The Packers ran hard inside and then started bouncing outside because Green Bay started moving tackles Justin Ellis, Broderick Washington and Justin Madubuike off the ball. Washington’s effort was the most disappointing. Not only did he give ground against double teams, but he was single blocked easily. The Ravens got very little pressure on quarterback Aaron Rodgers until late in the game. Grade: C-

Linebackers

Like the defensive line, the linebackers got tired going into the third quarter as well. They couldn’t get off blocks and at times took themselves out of position with improper reads on running plays. Both inside linebackers — Josh Bynes in the middle and Patrick Queen on the weakside — missed a lot of tackles in the second half, both against the run and the pass. Grade: C

Secondary

Because of injuries, the Ravens were playing without the four starters they prepared to open the regular season with. Then they lost nickel back Tavon Young to a concussion in the first half. The game went as expected, and the Ravens lost track of receivers several times in allowing Rodgers to throw for 268 yards and three touchdowns. The tackling was poor in the second half, but what did you expect? Despite the injuries, the Ravens were still in the game until the final minute. Grade: C-