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Ravens News 1/10: Enticing Rematch and more

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NFL: Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Ravens Snap Counts & Grades vs. Bengals, Week 18 - Ryan Mink

First-round safety Kyle Hamilton got the team’s highest grade with a 91.2, and fellow first-rounder, center Tyler Linderbaum, had the offense’s best mark (79.5). Hamilton was targeted five times and gave up three catches for just 22 yards.

Rookie outside linebacker David Ojabo had the defense’s third-highest grade of a 83.2. Ojabo had his first career sack and forced fumble when he tracked Joe Burrow down from behind. After playing just one defensive snap previously (at Cleveland), Ojabo played 20 snaps (30%) in the finale.

Rookie tight end Charlie Kolar had the offense’s second-highest grade after hauling in four of six targets for 49 yards. Kolar played just two offensive snaps the week before against Pittsburgh, but got 34 snaps (44%) this week. It was the same number of snaps that Josh Oliver had.

Running back Gus Edwards had just five snaps before exiting with a head injury. Kenyan Drake stepped into the void, taking 51 snaps and rushing for 60 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries.

NFL Week 18 Highlights: Notable grades from Sunday’s games - Gordon McGuinness


PFF Grade: 91.2

The 14th overall selection in the 2022 NFL Draft, Kyle Hamilton has already proved himself to be a key part of the Ravens’ defense. He was on the field for 42 coverage snaps and saw five targets against the Bengals. Those five targets resulted in three receptions for 22 yards, with two tackles resulting in a defensive stop. At his best when he can attack, Hamilton also made a tackle resulting in a defensive stop against the run and registered a quarterback hurry on his three pass-rushing snaps.

Defensive Notes vs Bengals Week 18 2022 - Ken McKusick


Roquan Smith

Roquan had 16 tackles, including 4 that ended drives. He was party to 11 defensive wins, which must be close to an NFL high this season. His play with the Ravens has been almost uniformly stellar, in sharp contrast to his uneven 2022 (and prior) play with the Bears. It was exciting for the Ravens to acquire someone with his pedigree as a tackler and in coverage but he has clearly benefited from playing with high-quality teammates.

Jason Pierre-Paul

Jason led the OLBs with 39 snaps. I scored him for a season-high 5 contributions to pressure events.

Going into the rematch, I have a few thoughts:

The Bengals performance against the Ravens does not invoke fear. They are the better team whether Jackson plays or not, but they could manage only 4.0 yards per play versus a team that had Daryl Worley starting at corner.

The Ravens OL will need a more efficient effort to win, but they are capable.

The 2022 Ravens will need Lamar Jackson to have any hope of a run.

Twelve Ravens Thoughts following Week 18 loss at Cincinnati - Luke Jones

Both teams were quite chippy, which is what you expect to see in an intense rivalry. Given some of the postgame talk from the Cincinnati locker room, it’ll be interesting to see what the first-ever Ravens-Bengals playoff game brings, especially if Lamar Jackson makes his return.

The Ravens held Joe Burrow to a season-low 5.12 yards per pass attempt and his third-lowest completion percentage of the year (59.52%), but the Bengals quarterback missed on several throws he typically makes with ease. Can this defense make it two off-games in a row for him?

You hope Gus Edwards is able to play in the wild-card round after exiting Sunday’s game with a head injury. J.K. Dobbins is the clear No. 1 back and offers the most upside, but the Ravens will need Edwards’ short-yardage ability even more in the postseason.

Say what you want about Harbaugh as an unsettling offseason looms, but it would have been very easy for the Ravens to go through the motions after deactivating several key players Sunday. This team almost always plays hard. That isn’t everything, but it says plenty about the head coach.

The Key to Every NFL Wild-Card Matchup - Steven Ruiz

Ravens at Bengals: Can Joe Burrow solve his Mike Macdonald problem?

Whether Lamar Jackson returns from a knee sprain in time for this one or not, the onus will be on the Ravens defense to keep the team in the game. Even with its starting QB in the lineup, Baltimore doesn’t have the weapons to hang with Cincinnati and will need to keep the score in the 20s if it’s going to stand a chance. Fortunately for the Ravens, it appears rookie defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald has Joe Burrow’s number. The Bengals star has looked like an MVP candidate against other opponents, but Macdonald has brought out the worst in him in their two regular-season matchups.

Baltimore has held Cincy’s passing game in check this season without generating a lot of pressure or creating sacks and turnovers. Burrow’s pressure, sack, and interception rates were actually lower in the Ravens games compared to his season average, but his overall numbers were not, suggesting that Burrow had a hard time diagnosing Baltimore’s coverages and finding the right receivers to target.

Macdonald threw all sorts of disguises at the third-year quarterback in the first meeting. He’d present Burrow with enticing matchups before the snap, only to rotate to a coverage that took the matchup away after.

There aren’t many quarterbacks better than an in-rhythm Burrow, but we have yet to see him find a comfort zone against Baltimore. In Sunday’s 27-16 win, the 26-year-old was uncharacteristically inaccurate and threw his receivers into big hits. And while the Ravens sacked Burrow only twice in the season finale, he was constantly under duress. The Bengals completed just one pass of more than 20 air yards—a beautifully thrown go ball to Ja’Marr Chase—and in two games against Baltimore, they’ve completed just seven passes of more than 10 air yards.

Burrow hasn’t played well against Macdonald’s defense, but he has seen a lot of it now. That should be a concern for the Ravens.