The Ravens chose to grind rather than soar on a tough day for the offense.
Jackson’s passing line — 9-for-16, 120 yards, no touchdowns — was about as mundane as they come, continuing a difficult stretch that began with the Ravens’ Week 4 loss to the Buffalo Bills. He did not always sense incoming pressure and struggled to find open receivers even when granted sufficient time. The Browns swarmed tight end Mark Andrews, who made more impact as a short-yardage running threat than he did as a receiver.
Despite his paltry statistics, Jackson did not feel he lacked rhythm as a thrower. “We only threw the ball 16 times,” he said. “So I wouldn’t say bad rhythm. They made good plays; I got sacked on a couple. I had to get the ball out fast. … That’s just what it was.”
The Ravens ran 44 times out of 63 offensive plays, which Harbaugh described as a choice based on the flow of the game more than a pattern dictated by the Cleveland defense. “You’re just trying to win the game by any means necessary,” he said.
Jackson did not turn the ball over and kept the Ravens moving with his usual clutch runs. He averaged 5.9 yards per carry on a day when the team averaged 3.6. Still, it’s difficult not to notice how much his production has tailed off since he threw for 749 yards and 10 touchdowns over the first three weeks of the season.
The Ravens’ defense has certainly had its issues in the fourth quarter this season, and did so again Sunday. Generally, however, the defense has improved after it bottomed out in that Week 2 collapse against the Miami Dolphins. There really was nowhere to go but up.
The offense? It’s recently been going in the wrong direction.
The Ravens are averaging just 20.5 points and 320 yards over their past four games after averaging 33 points and 380 yards over their first three. In a Week 4 loss to the Buffalo Bills, the Ravens were held scoreless in the second half. In the following game against the Cincinnati Bengals, the Ravens got in the end zone just once and managed three Justin Tucker field goals over the final 43 minutes. The Ravens racked up 406 yards of total offense in Week 6 against the Giants, but they again struggled to finish drives and were done in by second-half penalties and mistakes.
“They were just scheming up to take away Mark, really,” Jackson said. “Two guys (were) guarding Mark sometimes. That’s just what they did. And like I said, we only threw the ball 16 times. Some plays won’t go to him. It went to other guys.”
That’s on offensive coordinator Greg Roman, who needs to show a better touch with his situational play calling. There are still too many head-scratching calls in the red zone and on third downs. Then, there are the pass-game schemes that we’ve been talking about for years. Where’s the answer when a defense is all-in on shutting down Andrews? Where’s the effort to get Devin Duvernay more touches or secondary targets such as Isaiah Likely and James Proche more involved?
Defensive Notes vs Browns Week 7 2022 - Ken McKusick
He made a number of edge-setting wins, pressure, and his 3rd PD in 3 games. Jason had contributions to 2 drive-ending plays.
Justin had contributions to 2 drive-ending plays and was on the field for 2 turnovers and 4 sacks among just 14 snaps. The Browns averaged 2.3 YPP in his snaps.
Odafe lived on the edge with 2 near-RTP calls on QHs. He also contributed to 3 drive-ending plays.
Patrick had 3 tackles for loss and 7 defensive wins among his team-leading 11 tackle contributions. I did not score him for a missed tackle. A common thread in the successful Browns run plays was getting a player to block Queen effectively. Block shedding remains an area for improvement.
NFL Week 7: One up, one down for all 32 teams - Doug Kyed
One up: EDGE Odafe Oweh
The 2021 first-round pick earned his highest pass-rush grade of the season with a 90.2 mark. He recorded two quarterback hits, three hurries and a fumble recovery in the win over the Browns.
One down: RB Kenyan Drake
Through it all, they’re a first-place team in a league where every team (save for the Bills, Eagles and for the most part the Chiefs) has felt mediocre. It would be nice if the Ravens were 7-0, and it’s frustrating because despite their warts it feels like they could be. And they have a really favorable (on paper) schedule in front of them which features just one opponent (Cincinnati) that currently has a winning record.
Which doesn’t mean the Ravens can simply sit back and cruise to 13 or 14 wins. It will be interesting to see if their commitment to run the ball in Week 7 reflects a shift back to the ground-dominant offense we expected from a Greg Roman offense. The offense has been statistically very good but inconsistent and hasn’t trended up in the most recent weeks.
So Roman needs to be more consistent. The Ravens need to have an offensive identity. Gus Edwards looked good in his return to the offense and perhaps, as much as fans might be bothered by it, a return to a run-first, run-often attack is exactly what they need.
The Ravens’ defense played really well outside of two drives (and a bomb to Amari Cooper) against the Browns. They could use a lot more of that version of Patrick Queen. The pass rush was much better and should continue to improve with Tyus Bowser and David Ojabo still slated to return.
And I’m still interested in exploring the trade market for a legitimate receiver.