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Ravens News 10/5: Worst Finishers and more

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Buffalo Bills v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

The 61-0 streak is over: Why the Ravens are no longer the NFL’s best closers - Jamison Hensley

From 2008 until this season, the Ravens had been the NFL’s best closers, winning 61 straight games under Harbaugh in which they had led by 17 points or more. That was tied for the fourth-longest streak by a head coach to begin their career in the Super Bowl era, according to research by the Elias Sports Bureau. The Steelers had won 58 straight from 2008 until this season, and Mike Tomlin’s streak remains active at 64.

Now, all of a sudden, the Ravens rank as the league’s worst finishers, failing to hold a 21-point lead against the Miami Dolphins in Week 2 and a 17-point advantage against the Bills on Sunday. Baltimore has been outscored 43-9 in the fourth quarter.

From 2008 to 2021, Baltimore running backs led the NFL with 6,378 yards in the fourth quarter. This year, the Ravens haven’t had the same production on the ground in the second half and haven’t shown the same faith. Baltimore’s running backs of J.K. Dobbins, Justice Hill, Mike Davis and Kenyan Drake managed 45 yards in the fourth quarter. As a result, the Ravens have handed the ball to them 13 times in the final quarter, the fifth-fewest in the league.

John Harbaugh’s decision-making; Ravens need improvement from inside linebackers - Jeff Zrebiec

For all the talk about the defense, you’d have to think that if somebody told Harbaugh Sunday morning that the Ravens would hold the Bills to 23 points and force two turnovers and three punts, he would have signed up for that in blood.

The Ravens need to get Bateman more involved and he needs to do a better job cashing in on his opportunities. He limped out of the locker room Sunday afternoon and left the stadium in a walking boot, so it will be interesting to see where he’s at physically this week. The Ravens need him at his best against the Bengals.

Rookie fourth-round offensive tackle Daniel Faalele had some issues, but given the assignment and the opposition, the Ravens have to be encouraged by his first NFL start. The Bills have really good edge rushers and Von Miller will probably be inducted into the Hall of Fame — while Faalele is still playing in the NFL. Veteran right tackle Morgan Moses certainly had his hands full Sunday, too. Faalele, though, held his own.

It isn’t clear how severe Hill’s hamstring injury is, but his potential loss shouldn’t be downplayed. If it wasn’t clear coming into Sunday’s game that Hill was the team’s most explosive back, it certainly was during it. Hill rushed for 45 yards on eight carries before his afternoon ended after tweaking his hamstring on a 14-yard run on the Ravens’ final offensive drive. Hill is averaging 6.6 yards per carry this season. His increased usage has coincided with the revival of the Ravens’ running game. He’s shown a big-play element that the Ravens haven’t otherwise had in the early going from their backs, and Baltimore will miss him if he’s out for a bit. Hamstring injuries usually require time on the sideline.

Defensive Notes vs Bills Week 4 2022 - Ken McKusick


Standard Nickel (40): Macdonald used the standard nickel (including 2 down linemen, 2 OLB, and 2 ILB) as the most common response to 11 personnel. Brandon Stephens played the whole game as the SCB after getting benched against the Patriots. That was a little surprising, considering the Bills present a pair of smaller slot receivers (McKenzie and Crowder) who might be a good physical matchup for Pepe Williams who did not play on defense.

Neither team was especially successful moving the football in the wet weather, but the Buffalo usage of 11 personnel on the vast majority of snaps essentially forced the Ravens into nickel when game situation/down/distance did not dictate dime. 40 plays, 224 yards, 5.6 YPP. That included 17 runs for 104 (6.1 YPC, including 1 fumble lost) and 23 passes for 120 (5.2 YPP).

Standard Dime (16): The version of the dime includes 2 down linemen, 2 OLB, and 1 ILB. In each case, the Ravens used 3 S and 3 CB with Hamilton added. Marlon Humphrey intercepted Allen on the first dime snap but the Bills drove down the field to end the half against 6 DBs for their first TD. That included a goal-line drop by the wide-open Diggs on which Hamilton appeared to be scolded by both Marcus Williams and Peters after the play (Q2, 0:21) and was pulled for Stone for the next snap. 16 plays, 102 yards, 6.4 YPP.

2022 NFL Season: Grading all 32 first-round picks after Week 4 - Sam Monson


Overall Rookie Grade: 77.9 (Rank: 1/17)

Principal opponent: DAWSON KNOX

Week 4 SNAPS: 16

Kyle Hamilton remained a sub-package option for the Ravens this week, lining up at free safety and covering a combination of tight end Dawson Knox and the Buffalo slot receivers. He was effectively only a spectator in the game, as any plays he was on the field for went away from his coverage.


Overall Rookie Grade: 60.7 (Rank: 2/4)

Principal opponent: TIM SETTLE

Week 4 SNAPS: 70

Baltimore’s starting center didn’t allow any pressure for the second consecutive game, this time on 43 pass-blocking snaps against the Bills. Linderbaum’s run blocking was a little less consistent, with the general mayhem of the Bills’ defensive front causing multiple confused assignments among the Ravens’ blockers. Linebacker Matt Milano, in particular, was able to beat him to the play on more than one occasion.

Ravens are field-goal favorites over visiting Bengals in ‘Sunday Night Football’ matchup - Jonas Shaffer

Cincinnati has won four of its past eight games in Baltimore and is 4-1 against the spread in its past five games against the host Ravens, according to CBS Sports. The Ravens, meanwhile, haven’t covered the spread in either of their two home games this season, though Sunday’s loss to Buffalo was a push.

The Ravens lead the all-time series 27-25 but were swept last season for the first time since 2015. The Bengals pulled away in Baltimore for a comfortable 41-17 win in Week 7 and later routed a depleted Ravens team in Week 16, 41-21.