The offense is still a work in progress
After an impressive showing in a divisional win over the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 2, excitement was buzzing around the Ravens’ new-look offense under offensive coordinator Todd Monken. Despite missing left tackle Ronnie Stanley and center Tyler Linderbaum against the Bengals, the offensive line allowed the lowest pressure rate of quarterback Lamar Jackson’s career against a formidable Cincinnati pass rush. As such, Jackson flourished through the air and the ground game was able to put the game away in the fourth quarter. This was not the case in Week 3.
Jackson was pressured throughout the game against the Colts and was unable to find the same success throwing the ball as the week prior. Jackson put the ball on the ground multiple times while recently signed running back Kenyan Drake also fumbled on a big catch and run early in the contest that was recovered by Indianapolis. Despite these many mistakes, the offense still had multiple opportunities to drive for a win near the end of regulation and in overtime, but the unit was not able to capitalize.
Week 2’s performance against the Bengals may have given many the wrong impression that the Ravens’ offense was ready to wreak havoc across the NFL, but reality hit like a wall of bricks this past Sunday, reminding everyone that a new offense with several new faces and an injured offensive line can take some time to fully come to fruition.
Kyle Hamilton is the ultimate chess piece
The biggest positive to come from Sunday’s disappointing outcome was the play of second-year safety Kyle Hamilton. The former first-rounder's versatility was on full display against the Colts, as the 6-foot-4 safety played much of the game in the slot. Hamilton’s blend of speed and length makes him a terror off the edge as a blitzer from the slot, as evidenced by his three sacks on quarterback Gardner Minshew in the first half of the game, the third of which resulted in a fumble.
Hamilton’s impact did not stop there though, as he recorded two more tackles for loss and a pass defensed, finishing the game with nine total tackles. Hamilton has played well on the backend so far this season, but between last season and Sunday’s performance, it is clear how much of a playmaker he is closer to the line of scrimmage. Having a player with Hamilton’s skillset allows defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald to get even more creative with coverages and blitz packages.
The injuries just keep coming
Baltimore entered Sunday’s game against Indianapolis with a long list of injured players that only grew longer by the end of the day. Multiple new names were added to the injury report for the Ravens, including outside linebacker David Ojabo with an ankle injury, running back Gus Edwards with a concussion, and wide receiver Tylan Wallace with a hamstring injury. Wallace has since been placed on injured reserve, meaning he will miss at least four games, while Edwards and Ojabo’s status for next Sunday’s showdown with the Cleveland Browns is currently unclear.
Edwards and Ojabo join an injured list of the aforementioned Stanley and Linderbaum, cornerback Marlon Humphrey, safety Marcus Williams, outside linebacker Odafe Oweh, and wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. as players currently dealing with unclear timetables for return. Wallace joins defensive back Ar’Darius Washington, outside linebacker Malik Hamm, cornerback Damarion “Pepe” Williams, and running backs J.K. Dobbins and Keaton Mitchell on injured reserve. Meanwhile, outside linebacker Tyus Bowser remains on the physically unable to perform list.
Head Coach John Harbaugh was asked about the increasing number of injuries that have been a theme for the past several seasons.
“If you look at each injury this year, they’ve almost all been guys getting caught in piles,” Harbaugh said. “It’s all been football contact-related injuries. That’s what you’re looking at this year. I don’t think you can have a theme for that, other than it’s football, and that’s the way it’s been.”