Dalton was a worthy test case for Ravens coordinator Mike Macdonald. Over Dalton’s first five starts for New Orleans, he’d been pressured on just 24.3% of his drop-backs, according to Pro Football Focus, one of the NFL’s lowest rates in that span. (Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady was pressured the least, at 19.4%.) Dalton was sacked just four times over those five games, with opponents converting pressures into sacks 9.8% of the time.
On Monday, the Ravens turned up the heat without ever needing to go nuclear. They pressured Dalton on 15 of his 34 drop-backs (44.1%, seventh-highest rate in Week 9) and converted 26.7% of their pressures into sacks, the week’s eighth-best rate.
Even more impressive for the Ravens: They rarely had to blitz Dalton to bother him. Macdonald sent five or more pass rushers after Dalton just seven times Monday, posting two sacks and registering four pressures.
“That’s what we’ve been trying to do this whole year, man,” Oweh said after the Ravens sacked Dalton four times in a 27-13 win. “Just try to get the four-man rush going. Today, it looked really, really good.”
EXPLOSIVE SCORE: 86
Jackson is well on his way to his third season with 1,000-plus rush yards — something that all other QBs in NFL history have combined to do once (Michael Vick, 2006) — and the advanced metrics back up Jackson’s historic rushing prowess. Jackson comfortably leads the NFL in both volume (+337) and efficiency (+4.7 per carry) when it comes to gaining more rushing yards than expected this season. He has gained at least 10 yards on a remarkable 30.2 percent of his carries, a full six percentage points higher than the next-closest player with at least 50 carries (Justin Fields, 24.2). This dominance on the ground is nothing new for Jackson, who has gained a league-high +1,917 rushing yards over expected since being drafted in 2018 (more than 500 yards ahead of second-place Nick Chubb’s +1,379). Jackson has continued to defy all previously conceived notions of what a quarterback can do on the ground, and his awe-inspiring play shows no signs of slowing down.
PFF’s 2022 NFL Midseason All-Pro Team: Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill, Quinnen Williams and more - Sam Monson
There isn’t a better kicker in the league than Justin Tucker — and arguably not a better one in the history of the game. He is in a class of one.
There has been one touchdown scored on a kick or punt return this season, and that belongs to Devin Duvernay. He has above-average grades and average returns as both a kick and punt returner.
Midseason Ravens Awards - Ryan Mink
CB Marlon Humphrey
Humphrey has played 372 coverage snaps this season and allowed zero touchdowns. In man-to-man coverage, he has the second-best grade in the league, according to Pro Football Focus. Humphrey’s elite 89.0 grade is second only to Jets rookie cornerback Sauce Gardner. Humphrey has the third-most tackles on the team (35), five passes defensed, two interceptions, and one sack. Justin Houston gets heavy consideration for this award, but he missed three games with a groin injury.
LT Ronnie Stanley
Stanley was patient with his return and that approach has paid off. He missed the first four games, but has played in five since, including 100% of the snaps for the first time against the Saints. Now, after nearly two years sidelined and multiple ankle surgeries, Stanley is the highest-graded offensive tackle in the league in pass blocking, per Pro Football Focus. The former All-Pro is back to playing at an elite level, and it’s made a big difference for Baltimore’s offense.
Ravens second-half predictions: Defense becomes top-5 unit, Roquan Smith gets extension - Jeff Zrebiec
The Ravens will finish with a top-five defense
That’s been the annual expectation for a franchise with a proud defensive tradition. However, only a month ago the Ravens entered a key game against the Bengals with the league’s 30th-ranked defense and 32nd-ranked pass defense. There was nowhere to go but up for first-year defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald’s group. That ascent has begun. After dominating the Saints in their most complete defensive performance of the season, the Ravens rank 19th in total defense and 18th in scoring defense. In recent weeks, they’ve gotten to the quarterback with more regularity, eliminated opposing run games and limited big plays. With trade acquisition Roquan Smith settling in, rookie second-round pass rusher David Ojabo primed to make his debut after the bye and safety Marcus Williams expected back in December, the Ravens should be only getting better. Five of the Ravens’ final nine games are against teams ranked in the bottom third of the league in total offense, so there’s no reason they shouldn’t drastically improve their defensive rankings over the final two months.