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Ravens News 9/11: Costly Victory and more

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NFL: Houston Texans at Baltimore Ravens Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

NFL Week 1 Game Recap: Baltimore Ravens 25, Houston Texans 9

Gordon McGuinness, PFF

Offensive spotlight: The Ravens’ new offense was on display, as the team lined up in 11 personnel on 43.8% of its snaps. However, as much as this was the debut for their new offense, it’s clear that Lamar Jackson’s rushing ability is still going to be key to what the Ravens do. The 2019 unanimous NFL MVP led the team with 38 rushing yards on six carries.

A big concern for the Ravens offense coming out of this game is the lack of ball security, as Jackson coughed up a pair of fumbles and an interception. However, the biggest news was a suspected torn Achilles injury for Dobbins, which would almost certainly end his season if confirmed. They also lost left tackle and center Tyler Linderbaum during the game, something to keep an eye on in the coming days.

Defensive spotlight: The Ravens were able to apply plenty of pressure on rookie C.J. Stroud in his NFL debut, with Baltimore knocking him down with a hit or sack 11 times. Second-year edge defender David Ojabo had the play of the day on the defensive side of the ball, sacking Stroud and forcing a fumble in the fourth quarter. Both teams saw key injuries at safety in this game, with the Ravens’ Marcus Williams and TexansJalen Pitre both missing the entire second half.

Rookie spotlight: Zay Flowers is going to be a big part of this offense. In this first quarter alone, he received four targets and one rushing attempt and finished the game with 87 rushing and receiving yards on 11 total touches.

Report card: Position-by-position grades for Ravens’ 25-9 win over Texans

Mike Preston, The Baltimore Sun

Offensive line

Texans defensive end Jonathan Greenard beat Ravens left tackle Ronnie Stanley consistently in the first half, and the Ravens failed to get Stanley any help during that time. Left guard Kevin Zeitler also struggled in pass protection, as did right tackle Morgan Moses. Timing is still a problem with this group, but center Tyler Linderbaum and left guard John Simpson turned in decent performances. The Ravens allowed four sacks, and to make matters worse, Stanley (knee) and Linderbaum (ankle) exited with injuries in the fourth quarter. Grade: C-

Defensive line

End/tackle Justin Madubuike had a strong game, even though he was credited with only two tackles. He got most of the pressure on rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud, finishing with one sack. Madubuike, though, needs to cut down on the penalties (two face mask calls) along with reserve nose guard Travis Jones (roughing the passer). The group became more dominant in the second half, but the Texans were more physical in the first two quarters. Houston had only 72 rushing yards on 23 attempts. Grade: B-

NFL Week 1 grades: Bengals get an ‘F’ for blowout loss to Browns, 49ers get an ‘A’ for destroying Steelers

John Breech, CBS Sports

Ravens B+

After sleepwalking through the first half, the Ravens seem to kick things into gear during a dominating second half where they outscored the Texans 18-3. The Ravens defense suffocated C.J. Stroud, sacking the Texans rookie five times on a day where they also held Houston to under 75 rushing yards. Although the Ravens were mostly impressive on defense, the same can’t be said for the offense, which looked a little rusty at times. Lamar Jackson turned the ball over twice, but the he did seem to turn up the gears during a third quarter where the Ravens scored two touchdowns. Sure, the win wasn’t pretty, but all wins count the same in the NFL and that’s all that matters.

2023 NFL season, Week 1: What We Learned from Sunday’s games

Michael Baca,

Ravens still adjusting to Todd Monken’s offense. Baltimore was in a dogfight with the upstart Texans for a majority of the season opener thanks to an offense that struggled to find its footing. Lamar Jackson looked rusty, fumbling twice (lost one) and throwing an interception in the first half. But Baltimore’s star quarterback completed 77.3 percent of his passes (17 of 22 for 169 yards) and flashed his ability to make plays with his legs (38 rushing yards). The Ravens’ defense eventually settled things down in the second half and took the pressure off an offense still acclimating to its new offensive coordinator’s system, but they will be forced to deal with an added hardship going forward with running back J.K. Dobbins suffering a torn Achilles on Sunday.

Next Gen stat of the game: Zay Flowers gained 54 of his 78 yards after the catch (69.2%), the highest YAC percentage by a rookie WR in a game over the last two seasons.

NFL Research: Scorigami! 25-9 is the first such final score in NFL history.

Ravens’ J.K. Dobbins has torn Achilles, out for season: How will Baltimore move forward without RB?

Jeff Zrebiec, The Athletic

Ravens seal win vs. Texans, but injuries are major concern

Cornerback Marcus Williams was the first Ravens starter to go down. He hurt his shoulder late in the second quarter and didn’t return. Then, it was Dobbins who went down in the third quarter. Stanley was the third starter to leave the game as he went down clutching his right knee. Finally, Linderbaum left the game after his ankle got rolled up on. This victory came at a significant cost for the Ravens who have to go on the road and play Cincinnati next week.

Justice Hill and Gus Edwards can certainly handle bigger workloads as the expected one-two punch. The Ravens have veteran Melvin Gordon on the practice squad and he figures to be elevated as the No. 3 back. Undrafted rookie Keaton Mitchell, who had an impressive summer, will be eligible to come off IR in time for Week 5. So the cupboard isn’t bare for the Ravens, but Dobbins will remain a tough guy to replace.