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Ravens News 11/15: Endgame Scenarios

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Detroit Lions v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images

Twelve Ravens Thoughts following Week 10 loss to Cleveland

Luke Jones, Baltimore Positive

Jerome Ford and the Browns deserve credit for being the more physical team, but one of the staples of this Ravens defense had been its tackling prior to Sunday’s major struggles in that department. Pro Football Focus charted 11 missed tackles, and it felt like even more than that.

You hope Ronnie Stanley doesn’t miss too much time after hurting the same right knee he injured in Week 1, but Morgan Moses sitting again despite practicing fully last week was also unsettling. You wonder if that shoulder is going to remain a real problem the rest of the way.

Good things tend to happen when Kyle Hamilton is playing the nickel in this defense. His batted interception return for a touchdown was a spectacular way to start Sunday’s game and Baltimore’s first Pick-6 since Chuck Clark victimized Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford in Week 17 of the 2021 season.

Ravens film study: Where does it all go wrong in the fourth quarter?

Jonas Shaffer, The Baltimore Banner

No fourth-quarter component is more Jekyll and Hyde than the Ravens’ defense. By almost every measure over the past two seasons, they have been one of the NFL’s best defenses through the first three quarters, if not the best. Over that span, they lead the league in points per game allowed (10), defensive success rate (61.8%), yards per play allowed (4.6) and defensive EPA per drive (0.88), which measures how much better or worse an offense is at the end of a possession than at the beginning.

In the fourth quarter is where things fall apart. Within those 14-point margins, the Ravens have more closely resembled the New York Giants, ranking 31st in points per game allowed (7.0), 28th in defensive success rate (57.0%), 30th in yards per play allowed (5.5) and last in defensive EPA per drive (minus-0.69).

While the Ravens’ run defense struggled late Sunday, giving up 45 yards (5.6 per carry) in the fourth quarter, their pass defense has been their biggest undoing since 2022. In those competitive endgame scenarios, they rank 30th in the NFL in yards per fourth quarter allowed (66.8) and last in EPA per drop-back (minus-0.25). That stands in stark contrast, once again, to their first three quarters, in which they rank first (131.9 yards per game) and first (0.16), respectively.

NFL General Manager Rankings: Eagles’ Howie Roseman, Chiefs’ Brett Veach lead Tier 1

Brad Spielberger, PFF


Eric DeCosta, Baltimore Ravens (since 2019)

DeCosta was the heir to Ozzie Newsome, arguably the greatest general manager in modern NFL history, and has largely adhered to his principles as he stewards the next chapter of Ravens football: maneuver both up and down the draft, extend your core pieces early, make occasional splashes in the veteran trade market as both buyers and sellers and tap into the free agency market later in the game after sitting out the first few waves and earning compensatory picks.

Two big moves that speak to DeCosta’s young tenure are trading away core pieces that were up for extensions, starting with tackle Orlando Brown Jr. DeCosta recouped a first-round pick from the Kansas City Chiefs as a part of the trade package, which turned into edge defender Odafe Oweh, who is currently PFF’s 15th-highest-graded edge defender and has produced a 15th-ranked 17.1% pass-rush win rate.

Next, DeCosta traded away wide receiver Marquise Brown, the first draft pick he ever made and quarterback Lamar Jackson‘s close friend, to the Arizona Cardinals. The first-round pick he netted from Arizona turned into center Tyler Linderbaum, currently PFF’s eighth-highest-graded center.

DeCosta reset the clock on rookie contracts and may have traded two good players who needed to be paid for two great ones who will provide several more years of surplus value. Moves like those are what enabled the splash trade for linebacker Roquan Smith.

Extensions for left tackle Ronnie Stanley, cornerback Marlon Humphrey, tight end Mark Andrews were well-timed. Free agent additions that didn’t affect compensatory picks but have made major on-field impacts include guard Kevin Zeitler, interior defender Michael Pierce and edge defenders Jadeveon Clowney and Kyle Van Noy.

There have been a few strange decisions along the way, but with the proper context, they make more sense. We’re primarily referring to the signing of wide receiver Odell Beckham a fully guaranteed one-year, $15 million deal, probably at least double his market value. But if we want to fold that into the Lamar Jackson extension, then it’s a wash.

NFL Power Rankings Week 11: Browns, Texans on the rise, plus head coach status check

Josh Kendall, The Athletic

6. Baltimore Ravens (7-3)

(Last week: 1)

Sunday: Lost to Cleveland Browns 33-31

Coach status: Solid

John Harbaugh is on his way to a sixth winning season in the last seven years, and he may very well be on the way to the Super Bowl even after losing to the Browns on Sunday. After making home run hires at defensive coordinator (Mike McDonald) and offensive coordinator (Todd Monken) in the last two seasons, Harbaugh is now 154-98 in his 16th season with the Ravens.

NFL Week 11 picks: Eagles upset Chiefs in Super Bowl rematch, Browns beat Steelers in AFC North showdown

John Breech, CBS Sports

Cincinnati (5-4) at Baltimore (7-3)

8:15 p.m. ET (Amazon Prime)

On one hand, we have the Bengals, who forgot to show up for the first three quarters against the Texans, but then still somehow almost won the game before losing 30-27 on a last-second field goal.

On the other hand, we have the Ravens, who lost a game they had no business losing. The Ravens were beating the Browns 31-17 with under 10 minutes left to play in the fourth quarter, and they somehow managed to blow that lead in a 33-31 loss.

For whatever reason, the entire team seems to melt down whenever they have a big lead in the fourth quarter and that starts with Lamar Jackson. Since the start of the 2021 season, Jackson has 13 touchdowns and 13 turnovers in the fourth quarter (To put that in perspective, Joe Burrow has 25 touchdowns and 11 turnovers). Jackson has been even worse when the Ravens have the lead over that span with just five touchdowns and eight turnovers. He also has a QB rating of just 60.7 in games since 2021 where the Ravens have a fourth quarter lead, which is the worst rating in the NFL for any QB who has at least 20 attempts in that situation.

If the Bengals lose on Thursday, that’s going to essentially kill any shot they have of winning AFC North, which is why I think we’ll see them in desperation mode. I am mildly concerned at the fact that the Bengals have lost 13 STRAIGHT road prime-time games, but no one has been better than Burrow at ending these ugly franchise losing streaks and I’ll say he ends another one on Thursday. To bring this pick full circle, I’ll go ahead and say the Ravens blow a fourth quarter lead and the Bengals win on a field goal.

The pick: Bengals 23-20 over Ravens