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Film Review: No passing? No problemby Spencer Schultz on December 5, 2019 at 6:00 pm
Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images On a rainy, cold day, two of the NFL’s most well-coached teams did battle. Both the Ravens and 49ers made plays, but the former won because they made plays when they had to. There seems to be a narrative that the Ravens were flawed or exposed while defeating the previously 10-1 49ers. In the freezing, pouring rain, the Ravens gained merely 101 yards through the air. No deep completions. Hollywood Brown doesn’t appear in the box score. Mark Ingram and Gus Edwards were contained, although bruising their opposition. They still won. The 49ers played just about as well as they’d hoped to. With the game on the line, the team that had only lost one game by an overtime field goal, couldn’t come out on top. This speaks volumes about the Ravens ability to improvise, adapt and overcome. Lamar Jackson played a game without forcing mistakes. He did lose a fumble, but that was the result of one of the most spectacular defensive plays I’ve witnessed in 2019. No. 8 also was hesitant at times, while rushed in others. His reads weren’t as sharp as they have been on the Ravens historic tear, but neither were Jimmy Garoppolo’s. The rain certainly forced both passers to attempt to judge what they could and couldn’t do under unique circumstances. Another one. Crossers with Boyle and Roberts. Watch how wide open Roberts is, Jackson was looking right at him and stuck with Boyle.Roberts is generally always open. So is Hayden Hurst. pic.twitter.com/BsBxFpo5Oc— Spencer N. Schultz (@ravens4dummies) December 5, 2019 Maybe the worst decision Jackson made all day— going inside. Receiver had outside leverage, Jackson gets to the 5 or scores if he rides the sideline with a step.Unreal play to strip the ball AND take it. Different game if Lamar goes outside. pic.twitter.com/bryF0XVF8Y— Spencer N. Schultz (@ravens4dummies) December 5, 2019 Jackson certainly left some points on the board in the passing game, although he made throws when he needed to. He seems to be able to elevate above his competition when it matters the most. Since the Ravens were unable to get much going through the air, the 49ers safeties didn’t play the deep ball. Instead, they loaded the box and stuffed the run game. The read option won the game for the Ravens, with Jackson’s ability as a runner carrying the brunt of the work. Goodnight. pic.twitter.com/VQ1rCOW6Jh— Spencer N. Schultz (@ravens4dummies) December 3, 2019 Run - 26 Pass- 11 PA - 15 RO - 13 RPO - 0 Screen - 0 Greg Roman dialed up a ton of bootlegs and options, with some play action sprinkled in. The Ravens offensive line man handled the 49ers front, keeping clean pockets all day. Ronnie Stanley is the best LT Nick Bosa has ever seen.Bullied him all day.I don’t think the rain helped Bosa’s footing, but hot damn. pic.twitter.com/qUEolRvBnr— Spencer N. Schultz (@ravens4dummies) December 5, 2019 Yanda banging down on the nose pic.twitter.com/1mJ5x45NBo— Brandon Thorn (@BrandonThornNFL) December 3, 2019 I mean the line truly dominated the 49ers front.Stanley handled Bosa with ease all game.I will attest from my own experience that keeping your footing while coming out of a 3 pt stance in the mud isn’t easy, have to keep a SUPER wide base. pic.twitter.com/D5cNsL4eIZ— Spencer N. Schultz (@ravens4dummies) December 5, 2019 @ZEUS__78 and Yanda are double teaming the best defenders in the NFL and driving them off the ball. Maybe the best 2x duo in the league.They COMPLETELY neutralize Deforest Buckner, one of the NFL’s premier defenders. pic.twitter.com/Y3BC9xBrJL— Spencer N. Schultz (@ravens4dummies) December 5, 2019 Ravens OL really did stonewall SF’s pass rush. This is 3rd and 10, SF can pin their ears back and rush 4.@BSBoze dealt with Buckner’s bull no problem-o pic.twitter.com/NCp59WncwL— Spencer N. Schultz (@ravens4dummies) December 4, 2019 So many battles went on in the trenches in this game. Niners ILB Fred Warner has great recovery speed.Lamar, as he said himself, consistently threw threw the ball behind receivers in this one, but Warner really made an amazing play to recover. pic.twitter.com/lKNwpoRnG5— Spencer N. Schultz (@ravens4dummies) December 4, 2019 Jackson will probably be sick watching tape, realizing how much more time he had to throw. He could’ve hung in the pocket, rolled, and let receivers find more soft spots. The lack of deep shots really didn’t allow Ravens receivers to get involved. Hollywood Brown’s lone catch was on a pop pass. San Francisco’s safeties were daring the Ravens to throw the ball over their heads, and as much as I would’ve liked to see more deep passing, the Ravens won without it. There need to be more one on one shots to Miles Boykin, but the Ravens won by playing keep away regardless. Offensive notes: Lamar is starting to get better with hard snap, making defense jup. His cadence can be a weapon, which adds another element to the puzzle that the Ravens offense presents. Hayden Hurst is about as reliable as it gets. His feel for where to be and when is coming up in huge moments. I’ll continue to scream from the mountain top that he needs more targets. When the Ravens offense takes field, the home crowd goes wild. It’s the first time in that the Ravens offense has been truly admired by fans in team history . . . as they should be. The Ravens offense has a chance to break NFL single season records in: • Points per possession • Percentage it drives ending in a score • Time of possession per drive • Rushing yards in a 16-game season The Ravens offense needs to be talked about as one of (if not the) best and most efficient offenses in league history. In close games, Lamar seems to rely a bit too heavily on Mark Andrews. It’s predictable. Conversely, Jackson needs to look to Seth Roberts and Miles Boykin more. They’re open. Patrick Mekari is looking like an upgrade from Matt Skura in some aspects. His pass protection is probably stronger as a whole. Defensive notes: The Ravens were stubborn to defend the outside zone runs. They seemingly were anticipating counters and weak side runs all game, before finally adjusting to shut down the Shanahan family staple at the end of the third quarter. 49ers simply had as many, or MORE blockers, lined up playside. The Ravens seemed to expect more counters, misdirections, reverses. Niners torched them until mid way through third, Ravens adjusted, Niners didn’t have another run over 5 yards pic.twitter.com/Q3ktkjtnrE— Spencer N. Schultz (@ravens4dummies) December 3, 2019 Onwuasor tries to tell Brandon Williams to shade outside guard and hold that gap.. Williams doesn’t.Jihad Ward gets washed all the way inside, doesn’t set edge.Peanut flies through trash to go wrestle Coleman down. Clark does a nice job making a mess. pic.twitter.com/d0I1GZlGDP— Spencer N. Schultz (@ravens4dummies) December 5, 2019 Fort had great vision. Understood what OL was trying to do all game.Judon gave Kittle the OLAY when Kittle tries to cut backside pic.twitter.com/3ZppC0mKiT— Spencer N. Schultz (@ravens4dummies) December 5, 2019 Bowser signals he’s coming back, Onwuasor needs to move WAY over to the edge. Ends up letting a receiver seal him off. Watch Josh Bynes, who gets held pretty badly and can’t shoot the gap because of it.Ferguson gets SEALED by Jusczyck pic.twitter.com/fsn0u3P7RX— Spencer N. Schultz (@ravens4dummies) December 5, 2019 Jaylon Ferguson couldn’t have been more lost here. Hard to see this one coming, but entire defense is running right, he runs left.Ferguson has been a tank over past month, this game will be good experience for him against a unique rushing attack. pic.twitter.com/C1DKEBKM3O— Spencer N. Schultz (@ravens4dummies) December 5, 2019 Ravens run D between the tackles was INSANE, per usual. Running inside is truly an act of futility at this point.I’m testing Ravens outside early and oftenVery same drive Ferguson made sure not to make the same mistake twice.He also had a better line of sight to the ball. pic.twitter.com/JZ65zUmwYR— Spencer N. Schultz (@ravens4dummies) December 5, 2019 Ravens got beat for long Mostert touchdown... respond with... no inside linebacker?Earl Thomas 8 yards off was the closest thing.Go ahead and take this one off the call sheet when you’re getting gashed on the ground. pic.twitter.com/dQOz6QNwzM— Spencer N. Schultz (@ravens4dummies) December 5, 2019 The Ravens line up, adjust, and play this like the KNEW a counter was coming...NOPE! Just the same play that Kyle Shanahans dad ran for 20 years, and Shanahan has run for 5 years, then all game in the first half, including a 40 yard touchdown...The outside zone pic.twitter.com/b9OwVTCOoN— Spencer N. Schultz (@ravens4dummies) December 5, 2019 Now the Ravens FINALLY have it right. Clark is in the box on the strong side. Wormley is head up over tackle.Judon does an awesome job taking on Kittle then preventing FB from reaching anyone. pic.twitter.com/rXDTRxh0Ti— Spencer N. Schultz (@ravens4dummies) December 5, 2019 This is where it all ended.Wormley adjusts with motion, makes sure to ride outside. Bynes knows the Niners are going back to the well and blows it upBowser scraps and fights to let nothing outside of him.At this moment, the Ravens won the game. pic.twitter.com/JdKzhtFDaV— Spencer N. Schultz (@ravens4dummies) December 5, 2019 The 49ers run the ball well and gave the Ravens similar trouble to what the Cleveland Browns presented in Week 4. Earl Thomas III popped George Kittle and sent him out of bounds, Earl made good plays against run aside, from being juked by Raheem Mostert. Thomas also recorded his career first sack. @Earl_Thomas notched his first career sack and he earned it!Thomas cut off both of Jimmy G’s reads, comes up and sticks him. pic.twitter.com/P5Jl2WRCiR— Spencer N. Schultz (@ravens4dummies) December 3, 2019 Thomas also laid a cold shoulder on Kittle out of bounds. Marlon Humphrey also knocked into Kittle and blew him backwards near the first down marker. Speaking of Humphrey, the third-year corner has exclusively taken over slot corner duties. It’s a bit of a conundrum. Humphrey is one of the premier boundary cornerbacks in football. He also is a force as an outside corner in the run game, who forces everything back inside and can blow up screens. He also happens to be the most well-equipped man for the job as a slot corner. He has the best feet, he’s a great tackler and covers over routes well. There is certainly drop off with Humphrey being moved inside, but the Ravens have no other option. It will help in the long run, so hopefully Humphrey is a quick learner. The Ravens blitzed on 21 of the 49ers’ 26 drop backs, which forced Jimmy Garoppolo to be a bit trigger happy. Chuck Clark’s forced fumble was a pivotal play in the game. “Wink” Martindale was never going to let Jimmy G’ get comfortable. The defense had a few fluke plays, which happens in extreme weather conditions. They were able to hold the 49ers to just three points in the second half, despite having significant problems stopping the run. The Ravens surely tighten up on third down and in the red zone, which is what any defensive coordinator strives for. Final thoughts: The 49ers were holding, blocking in the back, hitting late, grabbing and cut blocking in an attempt to out physical the more physical team. To beat the Ravens, that’s the best you can hope for, especially on the road. The Ravens heroes aside from Lamar Jackson were Chris Moore, Hayden Hurst, Chuck Clark, Josh Bynes and L.J. Fort. Oh, and that dude Justin Tucker. The Ravens operate as a whole, where the role players step up when called on. Every player seems to be patiently waiting for their turn to make a game defining play, yet without causing any headaches in line. Baltimore’s offensive line is playing the type of football that takes teams far in January and into February. This game was supposed to be the unstoppable force vs. the immovable object, headlining Lamar Jackson and the 49ers vaunted defense. In the fourth quarter, the game turned into the unstoppable force being protected by immovable objects. The offensive line was the MVP of this game, alongside Justin Tucker.
Baltimore Beatdown Game Picks: Week 14by Frank J. Platko on December 5, 2019 at 5:00 pm
Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images An up-and-down week for much of the staff in Week 13 did little to alter the standings. With four weeks left in the regular season, our writers are still playing catch-up to you guys, the readers and voters. Be sure to vote on all the matchups this weekend in the polls below! Updated standings: 1) BB readers 126-66 2) Vasilis 122-70 3) Frank 114-78 4) Kyle 113-79 5) Jake 111-81 Unanimous selections All of our writers were in consensus on the following picks: Vikings > Lions Texans > Broncos Ravens > Bills Packers > Redskins Eagles > Giants After a tough loss to the Seahawks this past Monday, our writers envision the Vikings bouncing back in a favorable matchup against the Lions. Same goes for the Texans, who are playing the Broncos after a convincing victory over the Patriots. Elsewhere, the team sees the Ravens continuing to roll against a streaking Buffalo squad, led by an improved Josh Allen. The Packers are heavy favorites to defeat the Redskins, as are the Eagles in their MNF matchup against the Giants. Our writers are going chalk on both of these games across the board. “Lone Wolf” The following writers veered from the norm with these picks: Jake is the only staff member to pick the Bears over the Cowboys Jakob is alone in picking the Dolphins to upset the Jets Dustin is rolling with the Bengals over the Browns in an AFC North showdown In a Thursday night showdown, Jake is by himself in choosing the Bears to handle the Cowboys at home. Dallas is coming off a disappointing defeat at the hands of the Bills, who they lost to on thanksgiving. Jakob went out on a limb in picking the Dolphins to beat the Jets, although the former is coming off an upset victory over the Eagles, while the latter just handed the Bengals their first win of the season in Week 14. “Coin flip” Colts (5) > Buccaneers (4) Saints (5) > 49ers (4) Chargers (4) > Jaguars (4) Titans (5) > Raiders (4) Steelers (5) > Cardinals (4)
Lamar Jackson wins AFC Offensive Player of the Month for Novemberby Kyle P Barber on December 5, 2019 at 3:42 pm
Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images These numbers are ridiculous After winning three out of four AFC Offensive Player of the Week awards in November (he was robbed of the fourth), it comes as no shock to see the Ravens franchise quarterback earn the AFC Offensive Player of the Month award. The AFC Offensive Player of the Month: @Lj_era8 ‼️#ProBowlVote pic.twitter.com/jn92c6wZVP— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) December 5, 2019 It’s now time to look back and stare at these ridiculous numbers put up by Jackson. Averages 77.0 completion percentage 194.3 passing yards 3.3 passing TDs 136.2 QB Rating (158.3 is perfect) 75 rushing yards 8.2 Yards Per Carry Also, this was against some of the NFL’s heralded top-flight defenses and he produced all of this without a single interception or lost fumble. I don’t have every four-game stretch by a quarterback or offensive player in front of me but I’m confident this is one of the better ones in history. What is also shocking is this being Jackson’s second year in the league and he’s only 22 years of age. If this young man continues to progress, I’m not sure what can stop him.
Ravens News 12/5: Cast-offs, offensive continuity and moreby Vasilis Lericos on December 5, 2019 at 1:00 pm
Photo by Todd Olszewski/Getty Images Lamar Jackson is NFL MVP favorite, but Ravens’ coaches and front office deserve credit for revamping team - Jason La Canfora Of the 22 men who started Sunday’s possible Super Bowl preview against the 49ers, one of the most anticipated games of this season so far, nearly half were what you could term steals – players whose presence in such prominent roles is a testament to the tremendous work of general manager Eric DeCosta and his predecessor, Ozzie Newsome. Of those 22 starters, three were undrafted free agents on their rookie deals (DT Michael Pierce, DT/FB Patrick Ricard, C Patrick Mekari), four were drafted in the fifth-round or later (LB Matt Judon, S Chuck Clark, G Bradley Bozeman, TE Nick Boyle), one was acquired for a fifth-round pick in-season (CB Marcus Peters) and one was a veteran-minimum free-agent signing midseason to strengthen a struggling linebacking group at the time (LJ Fort). That is nine of 22 starters, folks, and when you add in undrafted free-agent linebacker Patrick Onwuasor, who generally plays regularly on defense as well but missed time with injuries on Sunday. Plus, LB Josh Bynes, who played more than half the snaps Sunday, and, like Fort, was signed off the street a month ago. And C Matt Skura, an undrafted free agent who was excelling as a starter until his season-ending injury opened a spot for Mekari, you get an ever clearer picture out of how well the evaluations have gone. Heck, defensive linemen Jihad Ward and Domata Peko, who were also signed off the street recently due to injuries, have contributed well, also, for the most part, and round out a cast of cast-offs or players other teams didn’t want. Patrick Ricard’s Extension Part of Long-Term Plan to Maintain Offensive Continuity - Ryan Mink The two-year extension signed by fullback/defensive lineman Patrick Ricard on Tuesday means every starter on the Ravens’ offense is already under contract for next season. Wide receiver Seth Roberts is the only regular offensive contributor whose contract is set to expire in March. As the Ravens predicted, their offense has revolutionized how the game can be played. Now the building blocks are in place for sustained success. “I think we’re happy with that situation on offense. I know [General Manager] Eric [DeCosta] is and I know I am,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said. “Hopefully we can do more of that.” “We have a young team, fast team,” Jackson said. “We have a difficult system we’re running, and the guys who are here, we’re running it smoothly. We’ve been progressing each and every week, each and every day, so it’s best when everyone is doing their job and keeping the guys here.” Lamar: It would be an honor to break Vick’s record - Nick Shook “It would be an honor,” Jackson said Wednesday. “You know, like I said, Michael Vick’s my favorite player. For me to do such a thing, it’s incredible. He had that record for a long time. It would be pretty cool.” Thirteen years later, we’re in the heart of the spread offense era. Jackson is averaging 7.0 yards per carry in an offense built around his ability to run and pass, carrying over concepts seen much more in college (zone read, inverted option) than on Sundays. Greg Roman’s attack has weaponized Jackson’s rare combination of agility and speed, helping create opportunities for his quarterback, running backs, tight ends and wide receivers because the defense must always first account for the danger of Jackson with the ball in his hands. Baltimore Ravens vs. Buffalo Bills: 4 advanced stats that could tell the story - Aaron Kasinitz Josh Allen averages 9 intended air yards per pass Many of the toughest opponents the Ravens have faced during their winning streak — like the Steelers, Patriots and 49ers — center their offenses around short passes. The Bills are different. Buffalo likes to lean on the running game and then let Allen air the ball out deep. His 9 air yards per pass attempt are tied for the sixth most in the NFL, according to NextGen Stats, and it helps that Allen has a target at his disposal like wide receiver John Brown. The former Raven has averaged 14.5 yards per catch this season and helps the Bills stretch the field. Baltimore cornerbacks Marcus Peters, Jimmy Smith and Marlon Humphrey will face a challenge Sunday. Top 7 storylines for Bills vs. Ravens | Week 14 - John Murphy RAVENS OFFENSE – A THROWBACK OR TREND-SETTER? Thanks to Jackson, the Ravens offense is the talk of the NFL. They’re second in the league overall, first in rushing – averaging 208 rushing yards per game. No team, since the creation of the 16-game regular season, has rushed for 200-or-more yards per game through an entire season. They average 5.6 yards per rushing attempt. If they finish the season at that pace, they’d finish second all-time to the 1963 Cleveland Browns. “They’re a powerful running team,” says Brian Baldinger, former NFL offensive lineman and now a color analyst on the NFL on Fox. “They can run power at you. They can run read-option at you. They can run misdirection at you. They’re really good. “ “The one thing you cannot do is you cannot be discouraged,” he said, “because Lamar is going to make plays. He’s going to ‘wow’ you. He did it against the 49ers, there are things he’s just going to do. You cannot get demoralized, you can’t hang your head after a big play—you just gotta play the next play.”
Podcast: Viva Lamar with Barstool Banksby Jacob Louque on December 4, 2019 at 6:23 pm
Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images It’s a Wednesday episode for all of your listening enjoyment! The boys have the pleasure of welcoming in Banks of Barstool Sports, who does a great job covering the Ravens for Barstool, and has a tremendous Twitter presence (@BarstoolBanks). They quickly cover a few news bits before jumping right into the discussion which is long and far ranging, covering everything from Banks getting into the blogging game with Barstool back in the day, touching on his beginnings as a Ravens fan, and his thoughts on how this dream season is currently shaping up. If you like what you hear, don’t forget to get involved in the Lights! Camera! Jackson! T-Shirt giveaway contest by subscribing to the show, giving it a five star rating with your social media handle as the title, and roasting the boys up in your description. Funniest roast wins a shirt, and the announcement will come down on Sunday at halftime of Ravens at Bills, so be sure to get them in as soon as you can. In the meantime, follow the show on Twitter @PodcastBeatdown, and it’s two hosts @Jakelouque and @ravens4dummies.