The Baltimore Ravens faced their toughest test of the year thus far and passed it with flying colors with a dominating 38-6 victory over the Detroit Lions in Week 7. On a day when they had several fan favorites and franchise legends in the stadium for Terrell Suggs’ Ring of Honor induction, the team played their best and most complementary game of the year. The offense silenced their doubters and was clicking on all cylinders and the defense was relentless and lights out in the interconference matchup.
Some of the top takeaways from the Ravens lopsided Week 7 victory:
Lamar Jackson had another MVP performance
The former unanimous league MVP led the charge for the Ravens most explosive and impressive outing in recent memory. His vastly improved pocket presence and passing continue to be downright awe-inspiring and the best it’s been in his entire career. Then he reminded everyone just how lethal he can still be with his legs on both designed runs but mostly on improvised scrambles.
LAMAR AND NELLY MAKE IT HAPPEN❗️❗️❗️— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) October 22, 2023
Tune in on FOX! pic.twitter.com/kO1C0eL4K2
Jackson spread the ball around, hitting nine different pass catchers for at least one or more receptions, and finished 21-of-27 for a season-high 357 passing yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions and a near-perfect passer rating of 155.8. He picked up several drive-extending first downs with his legs and finished with 36 yards on nine carries including a seven-yard touchdown to cap off the opening possession of the game.
Todd Monken was in his bag
After fans and pundits lamented over the Ravens recent red zone struggles in their previous two games, Monken’s unit went 5-of-6 for touchdowns inside the Lions 20-yard line including five straight. They likely would’ve been 6-of-6 had their last scoring drive not gotten stalled out by a holding penalty on Ronnie Stanley after Odell Beckham Jr. picked up a first down a few yards shy of the goal line.
Sunday’s win also marked the offense’s most points scored since Week 2 of last season in a 42-38 loss to the Miami Dolphins and recorded its most total yards (503) since Week 5 of the 2021 season in a 31-25 overtime win over the Indianapolis Colts on Monday night football.
What made the showing even more impressive than the eye-popping yardage stats themselves was the ways in which they racked them up. The balance and creativity he displayed in his play call and design were excellent and executed to near perfection for most of the afternoon.
The Ravens threw the ball 28 times to 27 runs with some of those rushes coming on scrambles that were originally meant to be passes. Monken dialed up several plays where Jackson got the defense to overcommit to defending the quarterback run game and threw the ball to a wide-open target on the run.
One prime example of this was on a read-pass-option early in the game where he acted as if he were pulling the ball from the belly of his running back to run himself but only hit Beckham Jr. in stride for an 11-yard gain on the opening drive of the game. He also connected with Mark Andrews and Gus Edwards for big gains that moved the ball into the red zone on a fake quarterback sweep play that he ran to the short side of the field before throwing the ball over the top of the defense.
“Today was lights out – just by Lamar, Coach ‘Monk’ – from the top down on the offensive side of the ball,” added tight end Mark Andrews, who scored two touchdowns. “Those two guys were elite.”
Mike Macdonald was also in his bag
Not to be outdone by his offensive counterpart, the Ravens second-year defensive coordinator called a great game as well and he outdueled fellow wunderkind Ben Johnson—Lions offensive coordinator. Macdonald’s unit played lights out on all but one drive where they gave up a touchdown but that came after pitching a shutout for the first three quarters and change.
Against one of the best offensive lines in the league and a veteran quarterback in Jared Goff, who had been playing at an All-Pro level in his last 16 games dating back to last season, the Ravens racked up five sacks and eight quarterback hits, forced two fumbles, and recorded an interception.
“The game turned into a passing game, and I liked that because the rush was getting there, and it flustered him (Goff),” said safety Geno Stone, who now leads the league with four interceptions. “In a situation like that, for me, I like that because he was overthrowing the ball and that is an opportunity for takeaways.”
The Lions offense overall ranked among the league’s best and most efficient through the first six weeks but couldn’t get anything going through the air or on the ground until the fourth quarter when the game was well out of reach. They finished with a respectable 337 total yards of offense but over 42 percent of that yardage came in the fourth quarter alone and it took Goff throwing the ball a whopping season-high 53 times and finishing with nearly as many incompletions as Jackson had completions (20-21).
Roquan Smith shared the message behind his fiery pre-game speech. pic.twitter.com/XfBsefQ8XU— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) October 22, 2023
“From top to bottom, D-line, linebackers, secondary, I don’t really see any weaknesses,” inside linebacker Roquan Smith said. “If we’re all on our game, it’s really hard to move the ball on us.”
Kyle Van Noy balls out against former team
The 10-year veteran who has been on the team for less than a month had his best game to date as a Ravens against the team that originally drafted him No. 40 overall in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft out of BYU. He made the most of his season-high 33 defensive snaps and recorded season-highs with five total tackles, including two for a loss, a team-leading two sacks, and two quarterback hits.
The Ravens had eight different defenders generate multiple pressures in their Week 7 win over the Lions.— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) October 22, 2023
Kyle Van Noy and Odafe Oweh finished tied for the team lead in pressures with 5 each.#BALvsDET | #RavensFlock pic.twitter.com/elJoPOT0OU
“Honestly – I’m not trying to be disrespectful – that’s a [butt]-whooping. I say that in the nicest way possible,” Van Noy said. “I’ve been on the other end of that a couple times, and it’s just one of those games.
“Detroit is better than that, and this one got away quickly. I think we took it to them really, really early, and we showed up. I think a lot of people were touting them this week, and the Baltimore Ravens defense, we came together like we should.”
Van Noy and the rest of the Ravens pass rush definitely fed off the energy that came with Suggs’ special day and he made sure to ball out in the presence of the franchise's all-time sack leader.
“Honestly, it’s awesome to see Terrell Suggs,” Van Noy said. “He looked really good out there. It looked like the crowd was really receptive, and it was ‘Ball So Hard University’ today, and we had to put on a show for him.”
Mark Andrews continues to stay hot
It only seemed fitting that on National Tight Ends Day, the Ravens three-time Pro Bowler had one of his best games of the season. He caught four of his six targets and half of those catches resulted in touchdowns as he led the team with two and finished with the third-most receiving yards with 63.
Since he missed the season opener with a quad injury, Andrews has recorded four or more receptions in every game and has eclipsed 60 receiving yards in each of the last four games. He has yet to record his first 100-plus receiving yards game of the season with his closest coming in Week 4 when he caught all five of his targets for 80 receiving yards.
Even if that monster game never comes because of all the other weapons he’s surrounded by, Andrews is still on pace for 68 catches for 867 receiving yards and double-digit touchdowns as his five scores through seven games already match his total from all of last season. You know you’re doing big things and balling out when none other than LeBron James is live tweeting about the big day you’re having.
Mark Andrews on National TE Day going crazy!! Makes total sense. Haha!— LeBron James (@KingJames) October 22, 2023