In Week 7 of the 2023 regular season, the Baltimore Ravens returned home after being on the road for nearly a month and had their most dominant all-around team performance with an overwhelming 38-6 win over the Detroit Lions.
In a game that they were slightly favored to win by some and predicted to come up short by many, the team was able to play complementary football at the highest level thanks to some of their less-heralded players on both sides of the ball.
This article highlights the players whose performances flew under the radar but were still clutch — the unsung heroes.
While a lot of the credit for the Ravens best performance of the season on offense is being directed toward their star quarterback and innovative first-year offensive coordinator, it was all made possible by the tremendous work that their blocking unit did in the trenches.
The offensive line imposed their will on a Lions defensive front that has been one of the best and most improved through the first six weeks of the season. They paved the way for season-highs in both 503 yards of total offense—most since 2021 and points scored—most since Week 2 of the 2022 season. Against the top-ranked rushing defense, they racked up 146 yards on the ground—third highest total of the season and averaged 5.4 yards per carry with two touchdowns.
Where they were the most dominant and impressive was in pass protection. They not only didn’t allow a single sack for just the second time this season but they kept Lamar Jackson clean and gave him all day to carve up the Lions’ secondary for a season-high 357 passing yards and three touchdowns through the air.
The synchronization of the O-line's TD celebration is a microcosm of how good they were in pass pro vs. the Lions.— Ryan Mink (@ryanmink) October 23, 2023
It marked their second game back at full strength since that had at least three starters miss one or more starts in the first five weeks. The most encouraging and memorable standout individual performance was that of left tackle Ronnie Stanley, who continues to look more like his All-Pro self each week after missing three games following a knee sprain in the season opener. According to Pro Football Focus, he only allowed one pressure and one quarterback hit on 33 pass-blocking snaps and finished with a pass-blocking grade of 77.2 despite going up against a rising star in Lions second-year defensive end Aiden Hutchinson for most of the game.
Ronnie Stanley in pass protection vs. the Lions:— PFF BAL Ravens (@PFF_Ravens) October 23, 2023
33 pass blocking snaps
1 pressure allowed
1 QB hit allowed
0 sacks allowed
77.2 pass blocking grade
Finding his form pic.twitter.com/LDUbb5Sacn
FB Patrick Ricard
The four-time Pro Bowler was also a key contributor both as a run and pass blocker and might as well be an honorary sixth or seventh offensive lineman whenever he is on the field. He had a great 1-on-1 block against Hutchinson on the Ravens first drive of the game that helped provide Jackson with the time he needed to deliver a deep ball down the middle of the field to Zay Flowers for 46 yards.
I know we're all caught up in @PRic508's career long reception, but can we take a second to appreciate Pat's 1-on-1 block on Aidan Hutchinson?— Ryan Mink (@ryanmink) October 23, 2023
Lamar Jackson had 3.84 seconds to throw this 46-yarder to Zay Flowers that kicked off the Ravens offense. Great throw over the LB too. pic.twitter.com/Nj5G9RakhF
Ricard didn’t just make an impact in the passing game as a blocker, he contributed as a pass catcher as well. He was targeted twice and caught both passes for a season-high 31 receiving yards including the longest reception of his career which came on a 29-yard catch and run where he leaked out and was left completely uncovered with nothing but green grass in front of him.
EDGE Jadeveon Clowney
The three-time Pro Bowler didn’t record one of the defense’s five sacks on the day and logged just one solo tackle but he was still just about every bit as disruptive of a pass rusher as anyone else on the unit. According to Next Gen Stats, his four pressures tied fourth-year defensive tackle and breakout star Justin Madubuike for the second-most on the team this past Sunday.
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
CB Brandon Stephens
The third-year pro didn’t play 100 percent of the Ravens total defensive snaps for the first time this season. He was pulled along with a few other starters in the fourth quarter to let some of the reserves get some playing time during the blowout. In the 67 snaps he did play, Stephens had another strong day in coverage as a tackler and was the fourth-highest-graded defender on the team with an overall PFF grade of 73.7. He finished tied for the fourth-most tackles on the team with three—all of which were solos—and he broke up a pair of passes, the second of which nearly resulted in the second interception of his season and career.
Ravens @PFF leaders in Week 7 vs. Lions (min. 10 snaps):— Ryan Mink (@ryanmink) October 23, 2023
QB Lamar Jackson (89.7)
TE Mark Andrews (78.8)
FB Patrick Ricard (74.6)
WR Odell Beckham Jr. (73.0)
WR Rashod Bateman (72.7)
DT Travis Jones (78.7)
OLB Odafe Oweh (74.5)
CB Brandon Stephens (73.7)
WR Rashod Bateman
The third-year wideout was targeted just three times on Sunday but made the most of his first two on the Ravens’ second drive of the game. The first came on the first third down of the possession with the offense facing a third-and-seven from their own 35-yard line when Jackson hit Bateman over the middle of the field for a clutch 16-yard gain to move the chains.
Good scheme opening the middle of the field for Rashod Bateman with Zay's motion outside.— Ryan Mink (@ryanmink) October 23, 2023
If Lamar's throw is a little more in front of Bateman, this may go for a touchdown. pic.twitter.com/07jb81iPIN
His second came just one play later, after the offense lost a yard on a carry by Edwards, with the offense facing second-and-11 from midfield. Bateman wasn’t Jackson’s initial read on the play but he got open, gained separation on a deep curl route, and picked up 20 yards. The Ravens would finish the drive in the end zone for the second straight time six plays later on a 12-yard touchdown reception by veteran wideout Nelson Agholor. But none of it would’ve happened without the work that Bateman put in to help set it up.
Lamar wanted that deep shot to Zay but didn't pull the trigger. Pretty impressive 27-(air) yard flick with his feet not set by Lamar Jackson. pic.twitter.com/W44VXOBS9E— Ryan Mink (@ryanmink) October 23, 2023
Those 36 receiving yards would go on to be the only stats he put up in this game with his next target not coming until the Ravens last drive of the game, on Tyler Huntley’s lone pass attempt. If he can continue to make the most of his opportunities when they come, more will come his way as the season goes on.