clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Ravens News 10/24: Appointment Viewing

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

Baltimore Ravens v Cleveland Browns Photo by Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images

The Hot Read, Week 7: Lamar Jackson for MVP

Ben Solak, The Ringer

Jackson always has been able to make plays like these. The sorts of runs and throws and improvisations that only a few quarterbacks can make. But what was long missing from this offense was a well-structured passing attack featuring multiple legitimate receiving options. That’s no longer absent, and it’s leading to the spike in Jackson’s performance.

Jackson ended the day with 357 yards on only 27 attempts—an astonishing 13.2 yards per attempt. It was as effortlessly dominant of a day as a quarterback can have. This was the best game, by expected points added per dropback, of Lamar’s career since his 2019 season—you know, the MVP year.

Jackson has completed 71 percent of his passes this year, second only to Tua Tagovailoa (by less than a percentage point)—this, despite 10 drops through the first six games of the season (the Lions game hasn’t been charted yet), per TruMedia.

Of course, the award typically goes to a quarterback with a lot of counting stats, and Jackson will have those. But Jackson affects both phases of the offensive game—as an elite passer and unique run threat—and provides his offense with a rare versatility. Defenses that stop regular offenses fail to stop his. They just can’t have an answer for his rushing ability, his passing ability, and the structure of the offense all at the same time. If we are talking about truly valuable players—players without whom their teams would crumble—Jackson is the clear and obvious choice through seven weeks.

Five things we learned from the Ravens’ 38-6 win over the Detroit Lions

Childs Walker, The Baltimore Sun

The offensive line deserved its own game ball

Monken’s designs could not have sprung to life if Jackson had no time to orchestrate them against a rugged Detroit front. He frequently had eons to dance around, waiting for a receiver to pop open.

The Lions, fifth in pass DVOA through six games, finished with no sacks and one quarterback hit. Their rising superstar, defensive end Aidan Hutchinson, hardly got near Jackson. You don’t get much cleaner than that.

“Ten out of 10,” Andrews said when asked to grade the offensive line’s performance.

They had foreshadowed this effort with a stellar pass blocking performance in London against the Tennessee Titans. All five starters were healthy for the second week in a row, vital for a unit that depends on chemistry more than any other on the team.

“We’re jelling, man,” Moses said. “That’s the part of offensive line, right, you’ve got to grow; you’ve got to jell. We operate as five, not as one individual. When Tyler [Linderbaum] gets up there and gives us the calls, and we’re all in one sync, we can play a lot faster.”

Ravens’ statement win over Lions ‘creates a vision’ for what they can be this season

Jeff Zrebiec, The Athletic

“It’s like a video game, man,” right tackle Morgan Moses said of Jackson’s performance.

Jackson was hardly the only one to answer the call Sunday. Harbaugh spent the week listening to questions about why he and the organization didn’t opt to have a post-London bye week. Their opponent in London, the Tennessee Titans, did.

“Every single guy was completely locked in at practice,” Harbaugh said. “We had three excellent practices. I wasn’t even thinking about it, (but) everybody kept asking me about not taking the bye or whatever. There you go.”

On defense, the Ravens were facing one of the league’s most efficient and accurate quarterbacks. Yet, Goff completed just 33 of 53 passes for 284 yards, no touchdowns and an interception by Geno Stone. A chunk of those passing yards came in garbage time, too.

The Lions’ offensive line was ranked this past week as the No. 1 unit in the NFL. It had given up just 10 sacks through six games. The Ravens, now the NFL leaders in sacks, took down Goff five times and hit him eight times.

Ranking NFL’s best defenses in 2023: Which team has best case?

Bill Barnwell, ESPN

3. Baltimore Ravens (5-2)

Coordinator Mike Macdonald’s pressure packages are quickly becoming appointment viewing during the week. Baltimore’s top pass rusher on paper is Jadeveon Clowney, who is coming off a two-sack season in Cleveland. Owing in part to a banged-up secondary, the Ravens blitz on just 21.5% of dropbacks, which is the eighth-lowest rate. This should not be a great recipe for creating pass pressure.

And yet, it has worked. Macdonald has dialed up creative sim pressures and creepers to generate overloads and create protection havoc while still dropping seven into coverage, including a pair of sacks in Sunday’s win. One of those pressures saw 300-plus pound linemen Broderick Washington and Travis Jones drop into coverage while 190-pound slot cornerback Arthur Maulet came screaming off the edge untouched to sack Jared Goff.

The Ravens get pressure at the league’s 10th-highest rate, and it’s game over when they get after the opposing quarterback. Every defense is good when it gets pressure, but Baltimore’s QBR allowed with pressure is 3.4. Opposing quarterbacks facing its pressure are 24-of-61 for 212 yards with two touchdowns, three picks and 29 sacks this season. When the Ravens get pressure, they’re allowing 0.06 net yards per dropback, a figure which includes scrambles. The 2019 49ers were the last team to allow negative net yards per pressure dropback; Baltimore has a shot at joining them.

NFL Week 7 overreactions and reality checks: Should Tyrod Taylor be Giants’ QB1? Are Ravens best team in AFC?

Jeff Kerr, CBS Sports

Ravens proved they are a legit AFC contender by crushing Lions

Overreaction or reality: Reality

This is an easy one. The Ravens beat the Lions — winners of five straight — by 32 points in what was their most dominant performance of the year. Lamar Jackson looked like an MVP passer again, throwing for 357 yards and three touchdowns (155.8 passer rating) as the Ravens put up 503 yards of offense against a Lions defense that allowed 285.8 yards per game this year.

The Lions had the No. 1 rush defense and Baltimore was able to generate 146 yards on the ground, only 36 from Jackson. This was a complete performance from the Ravens, who allowed 337 yards and were up 35-0 in the fourth quarter.

Baltimore is now the team to beat in the AFC North, and clearly one of the Super Bowl contenders in the AFC. The Ravens flexed their muscle this week, showing what Jackson can really do in this offense.