Five Thoughts on Ravens’ Win vs. Panthers - Ryan Mink
Without a strong run game, the offense struggled to find an answer.
The Ravens ran over their past three opponents in three straight convincing wins. They had eight games with at least 150 rushing yards – the longest streak in the league. That ended against a strong Panthers defensive front and defensive approach devoted to slowing Baltimore’s ground attack.
When the ground game ran into a wall against the Panthers for much of the game, the Ravens didn’t have enough answers. This is a problem because Rashod Bateman isn’t coming back and as the weather continues to get colder, the passing game probably won’t suddenly take off.
Baltimore’s rushing attack will be better once Gus Edwards (hamstring) and, eventually, J.K. Dobbins (knee) are back. But there are going to be more days against tough defensive fronts devoted to stopping the run ahead.
With this year’s formula, the Ravens have to be efficient in the passing game and they have to play well situationally. The Ravens were pretty efficient in the passing game Sunday, with Jackson completing a season-high 72.7% of his passes (24-of-33) attacking short and on the intermediate edges. But Baltimore was not good situationally, especially when in scoring range.
A dropped pass ended their first drive. With three shots at the end zone at the end of the first half, the Ravens didn’t get close on any. A facemask penalty and sack allowed by Morgan Moses pushed the Ravens out of field-goal range late in the third quarter. A high snap and delay of game penalty left them settling for a field goal on the next.
The Panthers defense is better than advertised, but the Ravens were too sloppy when it mattered. If they’re going to beat better teams than Carolina down the stretch and/or in the playoffs, they’ll have to be better in that regard. Still, not every win is going to be pretty.
NFL Week 11 takeaways: Lessons, big questions for every game - Jamison Hensley
What to know: The Ravens’ defense suddenly looks more championship-caliber than QB Lamar Jackson and the offense. After a shaky start to the season, the Baltimore defense is starting to hit its stride. The Ravens shut down QB Baker Mayfield and didn’t allow an offensive touchdown for the first time since the 2020 regular-season finale. In fact, Baltimore has given up only one offensive touchdown in the past two games. The Ravens’ defense put the game away in the fourth quarter, forcing the first of three turnovers when cornerback Marcus Peters caused a fumble deep in Carolina territory to set up the Ravens’ only touchdown. It marked the 12th straight game in which Baltimore has produced a takeaway, the longest active streak in the league.
How much time will left tackle Ronnie Stanley miss with an ankle injury? Stanley is one of the few Ravens players not named Lamar Jackson whom they cannot afford to lose for a significant period. The former first-team All-Pro limped off the field with four minutes left in the third quarter after a sacked Jackson rolled into the back of Stanley’s left ankle. This is the same ankle that Stanley broke in 2020 and needed two years to recover from. Patrick Mekari, who started two games at left tackle earlier this year, will replace Stanley, but he isn’t the same caliber of blocker. Jackson and the Baltimore offense is at its best when the offensive line is dominating up front. This could be a tough blow if Stanley’s injury is serious.
Tackles Morgan Moses and Ronnie Stanley dominated the past three games but neither could block down or reach the outside to get runners to the perimeter. The Ravens should have tried more running plays up the middle behind guards Kevin Zeitler and Ben Powers, but they seemed determined to get around the edge. The ankle injury to Stanley will hurt regardless of how much time he misses. Carolina finished with three sacks. Grade: D+
The Ravens knew they weren’t going to be challenged by Carolina’s receivers, except possibly former Maryland star DJ Moore, but at times he didn’t seem interested. When the Panthers decided they had to throw in the fourth quarter, cornerbacks Marcus Peters and Marlon Humphrey sat on the routes, resulting in an interception by Humphrey. Peters also stripped the ball from receiver Shi Smith, which led to the Ravens’ only touchdown midway through the fourth. Peters finished with five tackles, while Humphrey added two and recovered a fumble. It was not a good day for Chuck Clark, who struggled to tackle, and fellow safety Geno Stone. Grade: A-
Demarcus Robinson plays MVP for a day. Though up against an underrated defense, the Lamar Jackson-led Ravens offense should cause some worry following this outing. But veteran Demarcus Robsinson was a bright spot for a wide receiving corps in need of a boost after losing Rashod Bateman for the season. Robinson caught a career-high nine balls (nine targets) for 128 yards, and was really the only reliable presence on offense for Baltimore. According to NFL research, Robinson posted the highest total Ravens receiving yards in a game since Marquise Brown posted 147 yards in Week 1, 2019. Jackson’s passing numbers have declined since Bateman’s absence, but the rapport with Robinson figures to be a key component going forward. The Ravens do have ample time to get right with the easiest remaining strength of schedule in the NFL, and their next four games are all against teams with losing records.
Next Gen stat of the day: Lamar Jackson was blitzed on 50% of dropbacks, going 11-of-16 passing for 59 yards and one interception versus the blitz.
NFL Research: The Ravens have at least one defensive takeaway in 12 straight games, marking the longest active streak in the NFL.
NFL Week 11 grades: Giants get a ‘D’ for ugly loss to Lions, Bills earn ‘B+’ for beating Browns in Detroit - John Breech
The Ravens had a bye in Week 10 and it seemed like Baltimore’s offense also thought the team had a bye in Week 11 because the Ravens had an ugly first half on the offensive side of the ball. Their first five possessions ended with four punts and an interception before they were finally able to figure things out. The only reason this game didn’t turn into a potential upset win for Carolina is because the Ravens defense absolutely shut down the Panthers offense. Not only did they sack Baker Mayfield four times, but they also forced three turnovers. This wasn’t a pretty win, but all victories count the same in the NFL and the Ravens will gladly take their ugly W back to Baltimore with them.