The Baltimore Ravens hosted another NFC division leader for the second time in the last three weeks and came away with an even more dominating victory in a 37-3 over the Seattle Seahawks. In an contest that was expected to be highly competitive, the home team played arguably their best game of the year. The offense put up over 30 points for the third week in a row and the defense put together their most impressive performance of the season over a quality opponent.
Some of the top takeaways from the Ravens lopsided Week 9 victory:
Ravens have championship caliber defense
The Ravens didn’t feel like they played to their high standard following last week’s win over the Cardinals because they gave up three late scoring drives in the fourth quarter. Against the NFC West-leading Seahawks, they got back to that standard as they utterly dominated from start to finish.
Defensive Coordinator Mike Macdonald dialed up an excellent game plan and his players executed to near perfection as they held the opposition to just 151 yards of total offense, recorded four more sacks to increase their league-leading total to 35 and forced seven punts. They held Pro Bowl quarterback Geno Smith to season-lows in completions (13), completion percentage (46.4 percent), and passer rating (49.3).
“First, it starts with the standard, and then secondly, as a group, all 11 of us and some that aren’t starters, buying into that standard and trying to elevate each other, take the coaching and just produce that onto the football field,” veteran outside linebacker Kyle Van Noy said. “We have a lot of guys on this team that have chips on their shoulders or come from different backgrounds, whatever you want to call it, that are buying into each other, that believe in each other, and it shows on the football field.”
A pair of fourth-year pros who also happen to be two of their top performers saw their respective impressive streaks extended with clutch plays in the first half. Defensive tackle Justin Madubuike recorded at least half a sack for a franchise-record sixth game in a row, on third down to force a punt, and now leads all interior defensive linemen with a career-high 7.5 on the season.
“Even though we won the game, as a defense, we could have tackled better, we could have played better,” defensive tackle Justin Madubuike said. “We came in with a little bad taste in our mouth. We wanted to show the Seahawks who the big boss is, and that’s what it was.”
Safety Geno Stone recorded an interception for the fourth game in a row. He increased his league-leading total to six when he picked off a lofted pass from Smith in the second quarter. He nearly recorded his second interception of the game with a clutch pass breakup in the fourth quarter.
GENO TO GENO❗❗❗❗— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) November 5, 2023
Tune in on CBS! pic.twitter.com/MrNUAHCGun
“It’s a lot on Mike. It’s his game plan that he puts together each week,” Stone said. “He puts us in the right spots, right positions, and (we) make plays. It’s really all him.”
After only yielding a field goal to the Seahawks on Sunday, the Ravens’ defense is now only allowing a league-low 13.8 points per game as they continue to prove that they are the best unit in the entire NFL. According to TruMediaSports, they are giving up a touchdown on just 8.7 percent of opposing drives which is the lowest mark since the historic 2000 Ravens defense.
The 2023 Baltimore Ravens defense is allowing a touchdown on only 8.7% of opposing drives.— Benjamin Solak (@BenjaminSolak) November 5, 2023
Since 2000 (as far back as @TruMediaSports
has data), only one defense has been better.
That's the 2000 Ravens. pic.twitter.com/NEjHwlqNhL
“We don’t just go out there to win; we want to dominate,” Van Noy said. “We try to be the best defense in the country.”
Ravens were right to stand pat at trade deadline
There were countless fans who were disappointed when General Manager Eric DeCosta didn’t make a move to add a notable veteran player at either running back or edge rusher this past Tuesday. However, in Sunday’s blowout of the Seahawks, they got significant contributions from players already on the roster at both spots.
Veteran running back Gus Edwards scored multiple touchdowns for the second week in a row and has already tied his career single-season high with seven on the season in just nine games. He finished with 52 yards on five carries and the bulk of his yardage came on a 42-yard rumble on the first carry of the second half.
After missing last week’s game with a hamstring injury, undrafted rookie running back Keaton Mitchell had his breakout game and made the most of his limited opportunities by racking up a career and game-high 138 rushing yards on just nine carries. He recorded the Ravens’ two longest runs of the season including a 40-yarder for his first career touchdown and a 60-yarder that he nearly took to the house.
Mitchell showed everything a team could want in an explosive change of pace back that pairs perfectly with Edwards. He displayed excellent vision, patience, burst, contact balance, and the blazing breakaway speed that the offense has missed at the position since J.K. Dobbins’ rookie year in 2020.
“It’s many more games like this to come, so it will be alright,” Mitchell said.
On the other side of the ball, Van Noy continues to be a Godsend for the Ravens’ top-ranked pass rush. With his back-to-back sacks in the first half against the Seahawks, the 10th-year veteran now has five in just six games. His second sack resulted in a forced fumble that was recovered and set the offense up to tack on a field goal before halftime. He finished the game with two solo tackles including one for a loss and led the team with a pair of quarterback hits as well.
New-look offense hasn’t forgotten it’s roots
While the Ravens’ passing game has made tremendous strides in Todd Monken’s first season as the team’s offensive coordinator, they used their potent rushing attack to pummel the Seahawks into submission in a punishing fashion that would’ve made Greg Roman proud.
The unit finished with a season-high 515 yards of total offense and a staggering 298 of them came on the ground for their fourth-highest rushing total in franchise history and most since the 2020 regular season finale.
#Ravens finished with 298 yard rushing.— Jamison Hensley (@jamisonhensley) November 5, 2023
That's the fourth-most in franchise history:
404 (2021 at CIN)
343 (2003 vs. CLE)
308 (2009 vs. DET)
298 (2023 vs. SEA)
The Seahawks came into this game having only allowed 678 rushing yards in seven games combined and were allowing the third-fewest yards per carry in the league at 3.6. On Sunday the Ravens racked up just over 43 percent of their season total in one game and gashed them for an average of 7.3 yards per carry. The Ravens had four different players rush for 40 or more yards, three average six or more yards per carry, and two average over 10 yards per carry.
“It starts with the offensive line making great blocks but the running backs was doing what they do, making explosives,” quarterback Lamar Jackson said.
Mark Andrews continues to ball out, Odell Beckham Jr. breaks out
The three-time Pro Bowlers finished as the Ravens’ first and second leaders in targets, receptions, and receiving yards. Andrews extended his streak of consecutive games with at least four receptions and 40 or more receiving yards by leading the team with nine catches, 10 targets, and 80 yards. He made several clutch grabs that either moved the chains or set the offense up for third or fourth and short.
After mainly being a defensive pass interference magnet heading into this game, Beckham Jr. had his best game as a Ravens on his 31st birthday. He hauled in five of his seven targets for a season-high 56 receiving yards and scored his first touchdown since he played in Super Bowl 56 on February 13, 2022.
“God, he’s got a sense of humor for the touchdown to come on (my) birthday,” Beckham Jr. said. “I couldn’t ask for a better present.”