Childs Walker, The Baltimore Sun
The Ravens can’t count on power running to build and protect leads
Though still a top-10 running offense, the Ravens came in averaging 4.5 yards per carry, which would be their lowest mark since 2018. We saw more of the same against Tennessee’s rugged front as they averaged 3.6 yards on 39 carries.
More specifically, their top short-yardage option, Edwards, is averaging 3.9 yards per attempt after never averaging below 5 in any previous season.
The problem is two-pronged. Edwards came in averaging a career-low 2.46 yards after contact per attempt, per Pro Football Focus. He’s also being hit earlier than before thanks to so-so blocking.
On the Ravens’ first drive, Edwards was stuffed for no gain on third-and-1 when his blocking on the left side — Ronnie Stanley was the chief culprit — broke down completely.
In the second quarter, they had first-and-goal from the 6-yard-line after Devin Duvernay’s 70-yard punt return and could not punch the ball in on three straight runs. Jackson tried to keep it on third down but was dropped for a 4-yard loss by Titans linebacker Harold Landry, who’d discarded a block by fullback Patrick Ricard.
At the start of the fourth quarter, they reached second-and-goal at Tennessee’s 4-yard-line and again failed to reach the end zone with a pair of runs, one by Edwards and one by Jackson. Again, their attempts to use a motioning Ricard as their sledgehammer did not work.
Luke Jones, Baltimore Positive
With two special players in space like Lamar Jackson and Zay Flowers to put defenders in conflict and an All-Pro tight end in Mark Andrews, I don’t see why the Ravens should ever have such difficulties in the red zone as they’ve experienced the last couple weeks.
John Harbaugh calling for field goals on a fourth-and-1 from the 23, a fourth-and-2 from the 2, and a fourth-and-1 from the 19 was quite a departure from recent seasons, but those were the right decisions considering his own offense and Tennessee’s offensive limitations. Touchdowns will be needed playing better opponents.
You hope the hamstring injury to Marcus Williams isn’t too serious, but Geno Stone continued to show his value with his game-changing interception, which left him tied for the NFL lead (three) entering Monday. Pro Football Focus has graded him among the top safeties in the league thus far.
Considering how close he’d come to piling up sacks in previous weeks, Jadeveon Clowney collecting two against an overwhelmed Malik Willis felt like an overdue market correction in the fourth quarter. Justin Madubuike also had a big day with two sacks and an abundance of inside pressure.
Ben Solak, The Ringer
Most Valuable Player (of the Week): Ravens QB Lamar Jackson
It wasn’t an astonishing game in the stat sheet: 21-of-30 passes, 223 yards, a touchdown, a pick; 13 carries for 62 yards on the ground. But it certainly feels like Lamar yanked an unwilling Ravens offense up and down the field to a win over the Titans, who always play the Ravens tough.
Few quarterbacks get to just stand in front of free rushers the way Jackson does. He’s the league’s greatest offensive safety net. Now if the Ravens could just fix their drops and their red zone offense (very easy things to do, of course), they could start putting up some real numbers on offense.
Gordon McGuinness, PFF
OFFENSIVE LINE OF THE WEEK: BALTIMORE RAVENS
Kevin Zeitler, Morgan Moses and Tyler Linderbaum each allowed only one pressure in pass protection, and the Ravens were able to move the ball fairly well on the ground, averaging 4.2 yards per carry against the Titans.
Ryan Mink, BaltimoreRavens.com
Left tackle Ronnie Stanley had a bounce back game, allowing just three hurries in 37 pass-blocking snaps. It was his best game of the season. After the Steelers’ pass rush was a problem last week, the Ravens allowed just one sack and Lamar Jackson was under pressure on less than 30% of his drop backs, down from nearly 48% last week.
Outside linebacker Jadeveon Clowney had a ridiculously high 47.4% pressure rate, per Next Gen Stats. He had nine quarterback pressures, five quarterback hits, and two sacks. It was his highest pressure rate in a game in the NGS Era (since 2016).
Ronald Darby had his best grade as a Raven (75.9) and Rock Ya-Sin also got a strong grade of 71.7. Ya-Sin saw more snaps (18) than Darby (10). Brandon Stephens once again played every defensive snap and shifted to safety at the end of the game when both starters were out.
Mike Sando, The Athletic
Baltimore Ravens: Are the Ravens better off shifting to more of a pass-oriented offense?
What I think: Baltimore has never scored fewer points or amassed less offensive EPA through the first six games of a season with Lamar Jackson in the lineup. The schedule and injuries have played roles, but with the Ravens shifting toward a more conventional pass offense, are the explosive quarterback runs mostly in the past? Jackson has one rush longer than 20 yards (he’s had four or five by now previously). He’s gaining at least eight yards on 15 percent of carries, half his previous rate. I’m not expecting a consistent precision passing game to suddenly materialize. Will this new offense be tougher to defend?
Exec comment: “The defense keeps them in it, but I don’t necessarily think this offensive change is going to make them any better when it counts. Lamar Jackson does not appear as dynamic as a runner, but in this offense, he does not need to be. He is regulated to pass from the pocket, but you are taking away the biggest weapon the offense had when you do that. Odell (Beckham) is not that guy anymore. Who are you truly afraid of on that offense? Nobody but Lamar, and if you are not using Lamar in a certain capacity, he becomes just like the rest of these quarterbacks around the league — hit or miss.”