Five things we learned from the Ravens’ season-ending 24-17 playoff loss to the Cincinnati Bengals - Childs Walker
Ja’Marr Chase reminded the Ravens what they lack.
The Ravens have developed an effective defensive formula against Burrow, giving him few chances to shoot for explosive plays.
But even in a tense game, with every yard hard to come by, great playmakers transcend. Chase is Cincinnati’s great playmaker.
He did not embarrass the Ravens as he had in his 201-yard breakout last season, but he found every crevice in their coverage schemes, making the third-down catches that kept the Bengals moving as they built a first-half lead. The Ravens knew he was public enemy No. 1 and still, he beat them.
Cornerback Marlon Humphrey gave the second-year star credit for adjusting when his favored vertical routes were unavailable. “We wanted to play a little off here, a little press here,” he said. “I think they did a really good job of, based off what we were doing, they did something different. They obviously had some stuff where Chase was going to be a big target, and it basically worked pretty good.”
Chase’s production was yet another reminder of the void the Ravens need to fill at wide receiver. Andrews is the closest they have to a pass catcher who can win against any coverage. They will again hope for 2021 first-round pick Rashod Bateman to break out in 2023 after he lost most of this season to injury. But no Baltimore wide receiver caught more than two passes against the Bengals, continuing a trend we’ve seen for most of this year. Something has to change — talent, scheme or both — because the Ravens start every big game at a deficit.
Super Wild Card Weekend winners/losers: Daniel Jones silences haters, while Brandon Staley chokes - Adam Schein
Where on Earth was J.K. Dobbins?! The Ravens had the heavily favored Bengals in serious trouble, with a first-and-goal at the 2-yard line in the fourth quarter of a 17-17 game. Dobbins had been the best Baltimore player all evening. Hand him the ball four straight times, if need be.
Instead, Dobbins was on the sideline for the most important sequence of the season. And, as we went over above, Huntley coughed up the football, handing Cincinnati the game’s definitive score. Dobbins was not happy in the postgame, and rightfully so.
I know John Harbaugh was angry at the execution on the ill-fated play — specifically, Huntley’s attempt to go over the top — but this was on Greg Roman. Baltimore’s play-calling and game/clock management left a lot to be desired on Sunday night. This wasn’t about Lamar Jackson not playing. The Ravens’ usually brilliant and buttoned-up coaching staff underwhelmed.
2022 NFL Season Review: All 32 NFL teams’ highest-graded players and biggest surprises - Marcus Mosher
Highest-graded player: QB Lamar Jackson (85.2)
Jackson missed the final five games of the 2022 regular season, and the Ravens weren’t the same without him. Jackson was PFF’s No. 5 quarterback in grade this season, including the No. 2 run grade at the position (92.6). When healthy, Jackson is still among the most dangerous and feared players in the NFL.
Biggest surprise: S Kyle Hamilton (82.3)
Hamilton played 547 snaps on defense for the Ravens as Baltimore rotated safeties all year. He was highly impressive as a rookie, finishing the season with the fourth-highest grade among safeties. Hamilton excelled near the line of scrimmage and received an 87.5 grade as a pass rusher and an 84.8 mark as a run defender. If he can get a little better in coverage, Hamilton could be the league’s best safety sooner rather than later.
Life Has Not Been Kind to Ravens Without Lamar Jackson in Lineup - Todd Karpovich
Lamar Jackson might show his value to the Ravens even more when he doesn’t play.
Baltimore is 45-16 when he’s in the lineup and 8-13 when he’s sidelined.
The Ravens went 0-5 last season when Jackson suffered an ankle injury in the Week 13 game against the Cleveland Browns. That skid ended a streak of three consecutive postseason appearances,
This year, the Ravens went 2-3 down the stretch when Jackson injured his knee in the Week 13 game against the Broncos.
Baltimore lost to the Cincinnati Bengals in the first round of the AFC playoffs. In that matchup, the Ravens scored two offensive touchdowns in a game for the first time since Nov. 27
Jackson is a free agent after the season and the Ravens will likely apply the exclusive franchise tag on him for 2023, which will cost about $45 million.
Unfortunately, “close” is the word that’s come to define the Ravens in recent years with good teams derailed by some combination of fatal flaws, injuries, questionable decisions, untimely mistakes, and some bad luck. Even after the shocking playoff upset at the hands of Tennessee three years ago, the future appeared so bright with a young nucleus — headlined by unanimous NFL MVP quarterback Lamar Jackson — determined to “revolutionize” the league.
To their credit, the Ravens have won plenty of games with a high floor for the regular season, but legacies are defined in January. Baltimore has won one playoff game in the Jackson era and has now gone a full decade without advancing beyond the divisional round of the playoffs, only adding to fan frustration.
Close, but not close enough to the ultimate goal. And it’s not getting any easier in the quarterback-rich AFC either.
To be clear, the shortcomings extend beyond who’s calling the plays and designing the offense. But how does the organization go about finding a new offensive coordinator and fixing a woeful wide receiver picture — something general manager Eric DeCosta needs to own — without knowing what’s going to happen with Jackson? After two offseasons of unsuccessful negotiations and with the way this campaign finished, how much trust remains between the two sides?