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Ravens News 9/20: On the Money and more

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Baltimore Ravens v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Lamar Jackson’s accuracy has taken the Ravens QB to another level

Jamison Hensley, ESPN

In Sunday’s 27-24 win in Cincinnati, Jackson delivered one of the best passes of his six-year career, hitting rookie wide receiver Zay Flowers for a spectacular 52-yard completion. With only 0.7 yards of separation between Flowers and two Bengals defensive backs, Jackson placed the ball on Flowers’ hands on a pass that had a 33.8% completion probability, according to NFL Next Gen Stats.

This is the latest throw that shows how on point Jackson has been in leading the Ravens to a 2-0 start. His 74.5% completion rate ranks second in the NFL to Josh Allen (76.9%) and is far above his career completion percentage of 63.7%.

“He’s on the money,” Ravens tight end Mark Andrews said. “That’s ‘Money Lamar.’”

In the fourth quarter, Jackson delivered in another tight window, when he dropped a 17-yard pass over Nelson Agholor’s left shoulder and a closely trailing Bengals defender for a touchdown. This time, there was 1.8 yards of separation.

The Ravens have helped Jackson by increasing his time to throw as well as his viable targets. On Sunday, Jackson faced a career-low 9.1% pressure rate despite Baltimore missing two injured starters on the offensive line: left tackle Ronnie Stanley (knee) and center Tyler Linderbaum (ankle).

One thing we learned about each NFL team in Week 2: Bijan Robinson a top five RB; Chiefs have issue to tackle

Jeff Kerr, CBS Sports

Baltimore Ravens

Lamar Jackson is settling into his new offense sooner than we thought: Jackson threw two passes that demonstrated he’s thriving in Todd Monken’s system. The first was a 52-yard pass to Zay Flowers that led to a Mark Andrews touchdown followed by a perfect throw to Nelson Agholor that led to points. Jackson is completing 74.5% of his passes and has a 99.5 passer rating through two games, while also running for 92 yards (5.1 yards per carry). The Ravens also distributed the carries evenly between Jackson (12), Justice Hill (11) and Gus Edwards (10) evenly, still having that strong running game to go with the revamped passing attack. Baltimore is well balanced on offense, a scary feeling for opposing defenses.

Brandon Stephens and Ravens’ defensive backs rising to the challenge early on

Jeff Zrebiec, The Athletic

Baltimore Ravens young cornerback Brandon Stephens heard the team’s defensive game plan for the Cincinnati Bengals early last week, and it resonated immediately.

“The game plan was, we’re going to press every snap and make it tough on the receivers,” Stephens said Sunday. “I wanted to press.”

The Ravens did just that in Sunday’s 27-24 victory over the Bengals. They followed the lead of the Cleveland Browns, whose defensive backs got physical at the line of scrimmage with Cincinnati’s explosive group of wide receivers in a smothering Week 1 win and made life difficult for Joe Burrow and company.

Stephens helped hold Ja’Marr Chase to five catches for 31 yards. Chase, Higgins and Tyler Boyd didn’t have a single reception over 20 yards.

“We didn’t back off. We played our game,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said Monday. “We played press man, we played press zone, we played cloud zone. We bailed, we played off at times. We played (Cover) zero. We played everything we play and those guys played exceptionally well.”

Ravens safety Kyle Hamilton said the team prepared all week for the look the Bengals gave them when Burrow threw the interception to Geno Stone just outside the end zone. Hamilton and Stone discussed it before the snap as well, and then Stone disguised the coverage and baited Burrow. Now, about that interception return. Stone had a convoy of blockers, which included Patrick Queen, Washington and David Ojabo ready to lead him upfield. Instead, he chose to go out of bounds and hasn’t heard the end of it since. “He needs to cut that back, though, and take it to the crib,” Hamilton said. “He had some blockers.”

Defensive Notes vs Bengals Week 2

Ken McKusick, Filmstudy Baltimore


Macdonald employed modest numbers but made up for it with other deceptive elements which helped generate some pressure, primarily after halftime.

For the game, Burrow had ATS on 9 of 42 drop backs (21%) a low total. On those 9 plays, he went 5 of 9 for 36 yards (4.0 YPP), including Stone’s interception. He also delivered the ball before pressure could develop (BOQ) 20 times (48%, 7.2 YPP). The Ravens generated a pressure event on 13 plays (31%), including 1 sack but no turnovers. With pressure, Burrow was 6 of 12 for 36 net yards including a sack for -6 (2.8 YPP).

Macdonald dialed up 8 individual blitzes (.19 per pass play) from off the LoS including 1 pair. Of the 8 blitzes, 5 came from ILB, with a pair from Ar’Darius Washington and one from Brandon Stephens.

The Ravens showed simulated pressure on 8 occasions where 2 or more (3 players once and 4 players twice!) dropped from the LoS. Burrow completed 5 of those 8 passes for 48 yards (6.0 YPP).

Clowney led the team with contributions to 7 pass rush events including 5 pressures, 1 sack, and a QH where he was also credited with a PD. Pierce and Robinson also had 2 pressures each.

Grading all 31 first-round picks after Week 2 of the 2023 NFL season

Dalton Wasserman, PFF


Overall Rookie Grade: 74.8 (Rank: 4/11)

Principal Opponent: Cam Taylor-Britt

Week 2 Snaps: 58

Week 2 Grade: 70.6

Flowers made the biggest play of the day on either side, hauling in a 52-yard catch on a post route that set up an eventual touchdown. The rest of his day was quiet, as he otherwise caught three screens for 10 yards. His 13 catches through two weeks ranks second among rookies. He is the movable chess piece in Baltimore’s offense, and they’ll continue to find creative ways to get him the ball.

NFL power rankings, Week 3: Ravens suddenly look like favorites in AFC North

C.J. Doon, The Baltimore Sun

6. Ravens (2-0, No. 8)

Week 2: Win vs. Bengals, 27-24

Up next: vs. Colts

Now that’s the Lamar Jackson we all wanted to see. In perhaps the most impressive passing performance of his career, Jackson went 24-for-33 for 237 yards and 2 TDs, including a beautiful 17-yard strike to Nelson Agholor in the fourth quarter that put the game out of reach. According to the NFL’s Next Gen Stats, Jackson’s average time to throw through two games is 2.6 seconds, a stark contrast to his time of 2.96 last season, which ranked the longest among qualified quarterbacks. If the Ravens’ passing attack is going to be this consistent, combined with strong rushing from Jackson and lead backs Gus Edwards and Justice Hill, this team could be a much tougher playoff team than previous seasons.