Thursday, September 22, 2022

Top 5 Takeaways from Raven’s Brutal Week 2 Loss to Dolphins

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After a dominant performance in the season opener, the Baltimore Ravens’ defense was anything but in the fourth quarter of their home opener in Week 2 when they lost 42-38 to the Maimi Dolphins. They were in control for the first three quarters of the game but missed an elite MVP performance from their electrifying quarterback Lamar Jackson in the final 15 minutes. Corresponding About ESPN StatsThis was the first time in 12 years that a team lost a game in which they led by 21 or more points in the fourth quarter.

At the end of the third quarter, the Ravens were up 35-14 and had all their momentum on their side. Unfortunately, an old habit that has been a fatal flaw in many of the Ravens’ weakest losses in recent years reared its ugly head in the fourth quarter and ultimately cost them dearly. The Dolphins haven’t poked once the entire time because not only did they hit on all four of their drives, but they finished every one of them in the end zone, due in large part to the Ravens taking cover after the others have missed second and third levels of their defense.

Her secondary got into this crucial matchup when she hit one of her key depth plays a little up and down after veteran cornerback Kyle Fuller suffered a cruciate ligament tear in the season opener. The Ravens were forced to rely on three freshmen for bigger roles, and it’s been a mixed bag of results, to say the least. While the first-year trio of first-round safety Kyle Hamilton and fourth-round Jayln Armour-Davis and Damarion ‘Pepe’ Williams looked solid in the first 45 minutes of play, each producing some impressive hits, tackles and Footage garnered coverage, all fighting mightily when the team needed them most.

The Ravens blew a handful of covers for long wins, but none were more backbreaking and totally draining than Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa’s two long pitch-and-catch touchdowns against six-time Pro Bowl wideout Tyreek Hill that went for 48 and 60 meters. The second and longest came in a game where Hill had no one within 20 yards as he sauntered into the end zone to tie the game at 35-35.

Not only did their secondary fail to contain the dynamic and fast wide receiver tandem of Hill and sophomore Jaylen Waddle, they failed miserably as the two averaged two touchdowns, 11 receptions and over 170 receiving yards a year Piece.

Aside from Jackson’s Herculean contributions to run play, which occurs in scrambles and the occasional scheduled run or option play, the Ravens’ rushing attack is nonexistent. While the former league MVP and likely front-runner for the award this year was busy breaking another quarterback rushing record, the team’s running backs were busy collecting stuff at the line of scrimmage and behind the backfield .

The presence of their vaunted physical runners, JK Dobbins and Gus Edwards, continues to be sorely missed and the lack of pressure the offensive line generated was pathetic and highlighted by their inability to convert in close-range situations.

From the time Jackson was fielded as a full-time starter in his rookie year through the 2020 season, any down and distance four yards or less has almost always been an automatic conversion for the Ravens. That was far from the case against the Dolphins on Sunday and was evident on their second drive of the game as they marched 72 yards, 10 minutes and 52 seconds of rest and just over half an hour of real time needed the ball on four tries in 21 games not to hit over the goal line. They had three straight tries from the one-yard line, the last of which resulted in a fumbling handoff on a quarterback sneak for a momentum swing turnover on downs.

The Ravens’ most successful short-yardage plays of the game were a direct snap from under center on All-Pro tight end Mark Andrews, who went three yards, and a handoff to Pro Bowl fullback Patrick Ricard on a dive play , which lasted five yards . Both games came on the aforementioned long drive that didn’t result in any points, but for some reason none of the players touched the ball in such games at crucial times when the team had to move the chains.

A creative obvious answer to their short-range woes, at least for now, might be passing the ball to rookie offensive tackle Daniel Faalele. They drafted the 6ft 8, 380lb Australian ex-rugby player in the fourth round of this year’s draft from Minnestoa and he was quite an effective battering ram near the goal line in college for the Golden Gophers.

He was active for the first time on Sunday but only saw the field as an additional blocker, although he declared himself as an eligible receiver every time he checked into the game, so maybe a pop pass or a late leak at the game action goal in the near future is .

Veteran blocking tight end Nick Boyle has been inactive for the second straight week, despite training intensely over the two days he was on the practice field. The Ravens’ running game was at its best prior to his serious knee injury when he was a key cog in the blocking scheme with the way he helped ball carriers consistently bounce for solid chunks to long wins and touchdowns. Perhaps his return to the game plan could give the frantic attack a much-needed boost.

While the beginning offensive line was ineffective with their run blocking, they excelled at pass protection and allowed Jackson to make another sensational outing, pocketing the ball. He had a perfect passer rating in the first three quarters of the game and threw for three touchdowns for the second straight week. Supporting the “Pay Lamar Jackson” campaign was another MVP-level performance, where he finished 21 of 29 for 318 passing yards and passing and over 100 yards rushing.

His 79-yard touchdown streak to wrap up the third quarter was not only the longest of his career, it was also his 11th career game in which he ran for 100 yards or more, breaking the previous record set by his childhood idol Michael Wick.

For the second straight week, two players left the game with an injury, one in the first half and one in the second half. Like veteran attacking tackle Ja’Wuan James last week, veteran full-back Steven Means, who was just added to the active squad on September 14, 2022, had to be carried off the field with a lower leg injury. He was ruled out for the rest of the game with an ankle injury and as he couldn’t put weight on his leg and needed help to get to the dressing room the odds of him returning to action any time soon or this season are likely slim to none not, although head coach John Harbaugh had no news in his post-game press conference.

The other injury the team picked up came late in the game when standout wide receiver Devin Duvernay had a hard shot today after making a nice grab over the middle in traffic. He entered concussion protocol and was quickly eliminated for the remainder of the game. Before retiring, the third-year pro caught two passes for 42 yards but made his biggest play of the game on his first game when he returned the opening shot for 103 yards for the game’s opening points.

His status ahead of another AFC East matchup in Week 3 with the New England Patriots will be closely watched as he emerged as the team’s No. 2 receiver on offense against Rashod Bateman, who had a great game with a team that 108 receipts-leading yards with just four catches.

As heartbreaking and soul-wrenching as the end result was for the Ravens and their fans, there’s no need to hit the panic button, end the season, exaggerate the loss, or sound the alarm. It’s only Week 2 and they have 15 games left to address their issues, improve and bring back some of their injured players like Dobbins, Edwards, All-Pro Left Tackle Ronnie Stanley, Defensive Tackle Travis Jones and Outside Linebacker Tyus Bowser.

There were also very promising and impressive performances that were eclipsed and worth mentioning. Andrews recorded his first 100-yard reception game with 104 on nine receptions. The return of former four-time Pro Bowl edge rusher Justin Houston was one of the Ravens’ low-key moves of the offseason and continued to pay off as he had two sacks in two games and a string of pressure and quarterback hits. The Ravens appear to have landed a deal when they signed sixth-year pro Marcus Williams, who continued to look like an absolute deal compared to what he’s already done with three interceptions in two games.

The other injury the team picked up came late in the game when standout wide receiver Devin Duvernay had a hard shot today after making a nice grab over the middle in traffic. He entered concussion protocol and was quickly eliminated for the remainder of the game. Before retiring, the third-year pro caught two passes for 42 yards but made his biggest play of the game on his first game when he returned the opening shot for 103 yards for the game’s opening points.



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