Ryan Mink, BaltimoreRavens.com
The Cardinals dropped a lot of defenders into coverage and did a good job of masking their intentions pre-snap. Arizona played Cover 4 on 37.5% of Lamar Jackson’s dropbacks and Cover 1 28.1% of the time, per Next Gen Stats.
The Cardinals had less than four rushers on six plays, which doesn’t sound like a lot, but it was nearly 20% of the Ravens’ dropbacks. Conversely, the Ravens never sent fewer than four pass rushers on any of the Cardinals’ 39 dropbacks.
This clouded the picture for Jackson and made for tighter throwing windows, which led him to hold the ball longer at times and more incompletions. Jackson was sacked four times.
Jackson made up for the offense’s unsteady start with some spectacular plays that only he can seemingly make. He flipped the ball on the move to Gus Edwards for a key pick-up, completed a pass to Rashod Bateman despite being knocked into by his own blocker, and threw a touchdown to Mark Andrews on one leg.
Baltimore had a 70% pass rate in the first half of Sunday’s game. In the second half, the Ravens started running more against those light Cardinals’ boxes.
Much of their success came up the middle behind center Tyler Linderbaum, left guard John Simpson, and right guard Kevin Zeitler. Linderbaum and Zeitler had their highest-graded games from Pro Football Focus of the season.
Running back Gus Edwards also showed good patience in his three-touchdown, 80-yard performance. Per Next Gen Stats, Edwards got more yards than expected on a season-high 58% of his runs.
Luke Jones, Baltimore Positive
Though Sunday wasn’t the prettiest performance, completing a stretch of four out of five on the road with a 4-1 record should never be taken for granted. The next three at home won’t be easy, but putting away your suitcase until after Thanksgiving has to be a good feeling.
Yes, Justin Tucker is 1-for-4 on field goals from beyond 50 yards this season, but the other two unsuccessful tries prior to him missing a 53-yarder in the second quarter were from 59 and 61 yards. That it’s even a talking point speaks to how incredible his career has been.
The entire punt team has been a sore subject this season, but Jordan Stout landed four of his five kicks inside the 20 and is now tied for third in the NFL in that department with 17. Though still chasing consistency, the 2022 fourth-round pick has made progress this year.
Despite the maddening tendency to play with their food against lesser opponents, the Ravens are now tied for the AFC’s best record and have a sizable lead in DVOA, a highly regarded efficiency metric. A difficult schedule awaits over the second half of the season for them and Cincinnati, however.
Dalton Wasserman, PFF
Overall Rookie Grade: 70.1 (Rank: 8/14)
Principal Opponent: Antonio Hamilton Sr.
Week 8 Snaps: 49
Week 8 Grade: 59.7
Flowers had his quietest day as a pro this week, racking up just 19 yards on five receptions. Utilized almost exclusively on screens and short passes, Flowers wasn’t given much opportunity to make explosive plays. Despite the meek performance, Flowers is still, by far, the Ravens’ highest-graded wide receiver. He also has more than double the receiving yards of any other wide receiver on the team. He and Mark Andrews are propping up Baltimore’s passing game.
Jamison Hensley, ESPN
4. Baltimore Ravens (6-2)
Team QBR: 59.4 (12th)
Lamar Jackson is living up to the five-year, $260 million contract he signed this offseason. In his first year in Todd Monken’s offense, Jackson is more accurate than ever, completing 70.5% of his passes (third best in the NFL). He’s still dangerous with his legs, whether it’s extending plays or delivering big gains on the ground. His 380 yards rushing tops all quarterbacks. Jackson’s playmaking ability is why Baltimore is tied for the best record in the AFC and holds a 1½-game lead in the AFC North.
John Breech, CBS Sports
Seattle (5-2) at Baltimore (6-2)
1 p.m. ET (CBS)
In his 18 starts against NFC teams, Jackson has totaled 37 touchdowns and just seven interceptions. He basically turns into Super Lamar, which is kind of frightening to think about, considering he already looks super even when he’s not super. My theory on why Lamar does so well against NFC teams is that they only get to see him once every four years and it’s a total shock to their system when they see him up close and realize what kind of speed he plays at.
The problem for the Seahawks is that even if they bottle him up, that won’t guarantee them a win. In Week 8, Jackson totaled just 174 yards, but the Ravens still won handily because they have one of the best defenses in the NFL. The Ravens have surrendered the fewest points per game this year and the third-fewest passing yards, and Geno Smith hasn’t done quite enough to make me think he can be productive against a defense like that.
The pick: Ravens 19-16 over Seahawks