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Ravens News 10/9: Team to Beat

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Baltimore Ravens v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Report card: Position-by-position grades for Ravens’ 17-10 loss to Steelers

Mike Preston, The Baltimore Sun

Offensive line

The Ravens held up well against Pittsburgh for nearly three quarters, especially in the second quarter, when the Steelers came with a lot of delayed blitzes. The Ravens did a nice job of helping right offensive tackle Patrick Mekari block outside linebacker T.J. Watt, especially chip-blocking with fullback Patrick Ricard in the first half. But pass-blocking is not a strength of this team, and it showed in the fourth quarter when the Ravens had to fight from behind. The Ravens can run-block as well as most teams in the NFL, especially if they are pounding the football, but pass-blocking is an area in which they struggle. The Steelers finished with four sacks, two of those in the fourth quarter. Grade: C-


I could understand coach John Harbaugh trying to draw the Steelers offside late in the second quarter to get closer and possibly attempt to score a touchdown, but there were only 19 seconds left in the half. They should have attempted a field goal and gone into the half with a lead of 13-3, not 10-3. The Ravens try to be too cute. This team wasn’t ready to play, and this game looked a lot like its loss to the Indianapolis Colts two weeks ago. The offensive and defensive units played well enough to win, but the playmakers didn’t make plays. Harbaugh shouldn’t use the term “operational” anymore. The Ravens have no clue what that means. Grade: D

NFL Week 5: Big questions, risers, fallers and takeaways

Jamison Hensley, ESPN


How big of a collapse was this for the Ravens? Baltimore went from seizing control of the division — over an 80% projected favorite, according to ESPN Analytics — to falling into a first-place tie with Pittsburgh and breathing life into its biggest rival. If the Ravens had won, they would have swept all three of their AFC North road games for the third time in franchise history. Instead, Baltimore let Sunday’s game slip away with a Lamar Jacksoninterception in the end zone, five dropped passes, its ninth fumble of the season and a blocked punt. Now the Ravens head to London, the site of their biggest margin of defeat under coach John Harbaugh.

Stock up after the loss: LB Roquan Smith. In 15 games with Smith, Baltimore has allowed an NFL-best 13.8 points per game. The Ravens’ defense hadn’t allowed a touchdown in nine straight quarters before that 41-yard touchdown catch by George Pickens.

Stock down after the loss: QB Lamar Jackson. Mistakes continue to haunt Jackson, who threw an interception and fumbled in the fourth quarter. This was Jackson’s fourth interception in the end zone of his career and seventh fumble of the season.

NFL Week 5 grades: Patriots get an ‘F’ after blowout loss to Saints, Jaguars earn an ‘A-’ for win in London

John Breech, CBS Sports

Pittsburgh 17-10 over Baltimore

Ravens C-

The Ravens had several opportunities to put the game away, but they never did. Late in the first half, the Ravens came up empty after Lamar Jackson was able to connect with Zay Flowers on fourth down deep in Steelers territory. Two possessions earlier, the Ravens had to settle for a field goal after Mark Andrews and Rashod Bateman both dropped passes in the end zone. Nelson Agholor would have likely scored (probably making it a 17-3 game in the process) had he hung on to Jackson’s deep pass late in the third quarter. Baltimore’s wideouts played a significant role in the loss, but the Ravens defense shouldn’t be left off the hook. While it played winning football for most of the day, the unit failed to come up with a momentum-changing play following Miles Killebrew’s blocked punt.

NFL Week 5 Game Recap: Pittsburgh Steelers 17, Baltimore Ravens 10

Gordon McGuinness, PFF

Offensive spotlight: The Ravens’ offense has the potential to be scary if they can fire on all cylinders, but once again they were their own worst enemies at times. Baltimore hadn’t had a dropped pass by a wide receiver through four games. By the end of the first half, they had three.

Lamar Jackson went 22-of-38 for 236 yards and the team racked up 125 yards on the ground, but those drops, along with a Justice Hill fumble and a curious decision to go for it on fourth down, will have frustrated fans. More drops and a costly Jackson interception in the fourth quarter turned what could have been a four-touchdown day into a loss.

The Steelers needed a spark on offense, and they got it in the form of George Pickens. The second-year player out of Georgia pulled in six receptions for 130 yards and the game-winning touchdown on 10 targets. He also added 16 yards on his lone rushing attempt. When Kenny Pickett needed a receiver to make a play, Pickens was there throughout the game.

Defensive spotlight: Marlon Humphrey‘s return boosted the Ravens’ defense, but he ultimately allowed the game-winning touchdown to Pickens.

Rookie spotlight: The Ravens continue to feed the ball to Zay Flowers. The rookie wide receiver saw 11 targets, catching five of them for 73 yards — although he did have two drops.

NFL Week 5 takeaways: Patriots, Mac Jones unravel again; Anthony Richardson injures shoulder

Ted Nguyễn, The Athletic

In perhaps the most strange game of the 1 p.m ET window, the Steelers rallied to beat the Ravens with the help of multiple Baltimore miscues. Pittsburgh blocked a punt that resulted in a safety, picked off Lamar Jackson and forced a game-sealing Jackson fumble — all in the second half — en route to securing the 17-10 win. The whole AFC North could be separated by a single game by the end of Week 5. Who is your current favorite to win the division and why?

The Ravens are the favorites and should have won against the Steelers by multiple touchdowns. I’ve never seen receivers let down a quarterback like they did Jackson in this game. And these weren’t just small drops. These were downfield, explosive passes that were in their hands. Zay Flowers even tripped on what looked like it could have been a long touchdown. The Ravens are just getting healthy, they have an elite defense and the receivers will improve. The Ravens are the team to beat.