Category Archives: Ravens

New boss same as the old boss in Baltimore

Category : Ravens

If you were anticipating an entirely new direction for the Ravens franchise after putting up with the same-old methodology that seemed stale ever since the team’s Super Bowl win in 2012/13, you might be disappointed. Team owner Steve Bisciotti has decided to extend head coach John Harbaugh’s contract through 2022, most likely at a guaranteed rate of $10 million per year; and the new GM (Eric DeCosta) is basically the carbon-copy protege of the old GM (Ozzie Newsome).
No one will openly admit it, but the Ravens as an organization are gambling the next four years of Ravens football on their belief that they have found a dynamic franchise quarterback in Lamar Jackson, who has coincidentally four more years left on his rookie contract.
That’s a huge gamble. Some critics are saying that Jackson’s emergence as a running-style playmaker in relief of the injured Joe Flacco was a fluke. Yes, the drastic change from a West Coast offense to basically a college read-option offense threw the league for a loop, getting the Ravens to a 10-6 finish after a 4-5 start. But in the playoffs, Jackson and his system of offense were dissected and dismantled by the San Diego Chargers. Hitching the next four years of Ravens football to the development of Jackson into a complete NFL quarterback is risky business.
Yet the owner and his management team are up to the challenge, based upon their saying all the right things.

At last Friday’s press conference, where Harbaugh’s new four-year contract was a major topic of discussion, the coach looked at DeCosta sitting in the auditorium and expressed enthusiasm about working with someone he knows so well.

“Taking the reins, man, taking the reins, and we’re excited,” Harbaugh said. “Eric’s energy and his passion and his ideas, it’s exciting. So, it’s a new start, yet we’ve been together, side-by-side, for 11 years.”
As to speculation that Harbaugh may have asked for final say in personnel decisions. Harbaugh said that wasn’t the case.
“[My role is] the same, and that’s all we ever wanted. That’s all I ever wanted,” Harbaugh said.
“I have great confidence in the way the organization is built, the way it’s been built from the beginning,” Harbaugh said. “This has never been an organization that’s about lines or silos or anything like that. This is an organization that works together. We cross paths and we talk everything out – football, scouting, medical, weight strength and conditioning, everything you can think of.
“To me, it doesn’t matter who has what say over what. It’s never been about that here, and I think Eric will probably reinforce that on Wednesday (during his press conference), but it’s always just about, ‘Let’s do the best thing for our team, and let’s talk it out and hash it out.’ We rarely ever have a disagreement in the end. … You want to call them disagreements, challenges, conversations, you better have all of that. Everybody willing to say what they think, nobody afraid to express their opinion. Top to bottom and sideways, in this whole organization, people are asked what they think. That’s like a regular conversation around here: ‘What do you think?’ To me, that’s the way it should be, and that’s why it works.”
Except it hasn’t really worked that well since 2012, save for a nice run in 2014 and then the Cinderella run in 2018.
In the end, nothing has really changed in Baltimore except the quarterback. That’s a fragile thing to bank upon if you’re a Ravens fan.


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NFL Rookie QB Power Rankings After Week 9

Nov 4, 2018; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) recovers a high snap as Miami Dolphins defensive end Cameron Malveaux (75) applies pressure during the second half at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
The second half of the 2018 NFL Season will officially wrap up after Monday Night Football. Unfortunately, we don’t have any rookie quarterback action once again this week in the primetime spotlight. Over the last few weeks, we haven’t seen a ton of bright spots from the 2018 starting rookie class.
Are guys hitting their rookie walls? It wouldn’t be shocking. After all, it happens to the best of them. This week, all of the rookies that played, their game ended up resulting in a loss. Meanwhile, two guys sat out this week. One being Josh Rosen since he has a bye. And the other being Josh Allen because he is dealing with an elbow injury.
For the guys that did play though, it wasn’t pretty. This list has been a roller coaster all season long, and it doesn’t seem to be remaining consistent at all. So, let’s get to it. After a long week of losing and resting, where do the 2018 starting rookie quarterbacks rank?
1 2 3 4 5 …6


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Fading away…Ravens lose crucial game to Steelers, 23-16

Category : Ravens

Whether you’re a Ravens fan or not, this team is difficult to watch…not because they’re terrible, because they’re not, but because they continue a pattern of losing close games which feels like the franchise has been spinning its wheels for the past 4 years.
Mike Preston of the Baltimore Sun has a remarkably even-tempered (for him!) reaction to Sunday’s loss at home to Pittsburgh:
” [The Ravens] now reside on the fringes of the wild-card race, as they have too often in recent seasons. Faced with urgent concerns, the Ravens did nothing Sunday to suggest they’re moving in the right direction. Quarterback Joe Flacco missed open receivers on two precious opportunities for touchdowns. The injury-depleted offensive line faltered at an inopportune moment in the third quarter. The defense died by a series of 5- and 10-yard nicks.”
Big Ben Roethlisberger threw two touchdown passes, ran for a score and put up an unexpected left-footed punt to help the Steelers beat the Baltimore Ravens 23-16 Sunday.
James Conner rushed for 107 yards and caught a TD pass for the Steelers (5-2-1), who have won four straight since falling to the Ravens at home on Sept. 30.
Pittsburgh is averaging 31 points a game during its winning streak. Against Baltimore, the Steelers rolled up 395 yards, converted 10 of 16 third-down plays and held the ball for 36 1/2 minutes.
Pittsburgh did not commit a turnover, and Roethlisberger went 28 for 47 for 270 yards. His 1-yard run made it 20-6 in the third quarter, and the 36-year-old showed his determination by missing only one play after being flattened during a sprint from the pocket with just over 13 minutes left.
“Ben just got the wind knocked out of him,” coach Mike Tomlin said.
The Ravens (4-5) scored only one touchdown in their third straight defeat, managing two field goals in the first half while falling behind 14-6. Baltimore had converted 72.4 percent of its red zone opportunities into TDs — the fourth-best percentage in the NFL — but on this day a 1-for-4 performance didn’t cut it.
“To hold those guys to field goals in the first half when they were down there was significant,” Tomlin said.
Pittsburgh opened the second half with a drive that lasted nearly seven minutes and ended with a 1-yard plunge by Roethlisberger. The conversion sailed wide to the right, keeping the score at 20-6.
Down by two touchdowns and facing a potential two-game deficit in the AFC North, the Ravens reacted. Joe Flacco completed six passes in a 75-yard drive that ended with a 1-yard touchdown run by Alex Collins .
The defense followed by forcing the game’s first three-and-out, but the Baltimore offense failed to sustain the momentum.
After the Ravens punted. Roethlisberger was collared from behind by Za’Darius Smith and remained on the ground for several minutes. Joshua Dobbs came in, completed a 22-yard pass to JuJu Smith-Schuster, then gave way to Roethlisberger.
“That was a huge play,” Roethlisberger said of Dobbs’ first-down toss.
The drive led to a field goal for a 10-point cushion with 8:26 remaining.
Baltimore got another field goal to get within a touchdown with 5:23 to go, but never threatened thereafter. It was not at all the way the Ravens wanted to enter their long-awaited bye week.
“We’ll go into our bye week trying to get rested up, trying to get healthy,” coach John Harbaugh said. “We’ll try to come out swinging the last seven games and find a way to make the playoffs.”
INJURIES: Steelers: None reported…….Ravens: Starting offensive tackles Ronnie Stanley (ankle) and James Hurst (back) were on the inactive list. … CB Tavon Young hurt his right ankle in the fourth quarter and did not return.

Matchup

1st Downs
27
18

Passing 1st downs
18
10

Rushing 1st downs
8
5

1st downs from penalties
1
3

3rd down efficiency
10-16
4-12

4th down efficiency
1-1
0-1

Total Plays
76
56

Total Yards
395
265

Total Drives
9
9

Yards per Play
5.2
4.7

Passing
282
204

Comp-Att
29-48
24-38

Yards per pass
5.8
5.1

Interceptions thrown
0
0

Sacks-Yards Lost
1-10
2-14

Rushing
113
61

Rushing Attempts
27
16

Yards per rush
4.2
3.8

Red Zone (Made-Att)
3-4
1-4

Penalties
8-103
5-25

Turnovers
0
0

Fumbles lost
0
0

Interceptions thrown
0
0

Defensive / Special Teams TDs
0
0

Possession
36:29
23:31

 

Game Leaders

Passing Yards

PIT
B. Roethlisberger28-47, 270 YDS, 2 TD

BAL
J. Flacco23-37, 206 YDS

Rushing Yards

PIT
J. Conner24 CAR, 107 YDS

BAL
A. Collins9 CAR, 35 YDS, 1 TD

Receiving Yards

PIT
J. Smith-Schuster7 REC, 78 YDS

BAL
W. Snead IV7 REC, 58 YDS

Full Box Score


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Ravens ravished by Panthers, 36-21

Category : Ravens

If you were wondering if the Baltimore Ravens had re-set a solid course to the AFC playoffs, you would be wrong.
They’re back to mediocrity as a way of life.
Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg threw a clunker of a game plan into the stew this past Sunday. Somehow he made the Ravens offense look worse than it really is. Sure, give credit to Luke Kuechly and his defensive mates, but Coach Marty gets a big assist.
“We’re 4-4. We’re an average team,” safety Eric Weddle said. “We just lost, got blown out, so we’re I wouldn’t say rock bottom, but we’ve got to look at ourselves and get back to work.”
Two weeks ago, the Ravens were atop the division. Now, Baltimore has projected 69 percent chance of making the playoffs, according to Football Power Index.
“We are obviously not in the most ideal situation possible, but we still have eight games left,” QB Joe Flacco said. “I feel like we have the opportunity to play really good football. We just have to make sure to keep the focus on that. I think there is obviously a bigger threat now to let this stuff affect you mentally, let it affect the team and how we are gelling together. We just have to combat that just by being ourselves and being as tough as we possible can.”
Flacco and Baltimore’s offense committed three turnovers and five penalties. Flacco finished 22-of-39 for 192 yards and two interceptions behind an offensive line that was without two injured starters (left guard Alex Lewis and right tackle James Hurst) and lost left tackle Ronnie Stanley for nearly two series.
For a team that couldn’t get on the same page during the game, the coaches and players were in unison after the fourth-largest margin of defeat over the past three seasons.
“We got our butts kicked today,” Flacco said.
“It was definitely a punch to the gut,” guard Marshal Yanda said.
“If we don’t perform how we want to next week, there’s definitely going to be some problems,” linebacker C.J. Mosley said. “Mentally and physically, we lost this game. But at the end of the day, we know what we have to do next week.”
Cam Newton completed 21 of 29 passes for 219 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 52 yards and another score as the Panthers soundly defeated the Baltimore Ravens 36-21 on Sunday for their ninth straight win at home.
Christian McCaffrey had two touchdowns and the Panthers continued to get electrifying performances from different players. This time, it was rookie wide receiver D.J. Moore, who turned in his best game as a pro with 129 yards from scrimmage.
“We present a lot of issues for defenses and that is what this offense was kind of built for,” Newton said. “We have dynamic players all around the field.”
Unlike last Sunday when they needed three fourth quarter touchdowns to erase a 17-0 deficit and beat the defending Super Bowl champion Eagles 21-17, the Panthers took it to the Ravens early and often.
After spotting the Ravens a 7-0 lead on the game’s first possession, the Panthers (5-2) scored on four straight drives in the final 16 minutes of the first half to break the game open and take a 24-7 halftime lead.
Newton threw an 11-yard TD pass to Greg Olsen , McCaffrey ran for a 11-yard score and leaped into the air to corral a 6-yard TD pass that ricocheted off the hands of safety Eric Weddle and into his arms in the end zone. And when Baltimore (4-4) climbed to within 13 late in the third quarter, Newton was there to calmly drive the Panthers 85 yards in nine plays, racing in untouched from 12 yards out on a naked bootleg to put the game away early.
The Panthers rolled up 386 yards against a Ravens defense that had come in allowing a league-low 280.6 yards and 14.4 points per game.
Baltimore seemed a step behind all day long, unable to figure out the Panthers multiple misdirection plays.
“They present a lot of misdirection and formations, different plays and was tough to get in a rhythm with them and Cam played an outstanding game,” Ravens safety Eric Weddle said.
The momentum-turning play came in the first quarter when defensive tackle Kyle Love crashed through the line and delivered a vicious hit on Ravens running back Alex Collins, jarring the ball loose. Defensive tackle Vernon Butler came up with the loose ball at the Ravens 12 after Luke Kuechly unsuccessfully tried to scoop and score. Three plays later, Newton found Olsen on a slant route giving Carolina a 14-7 lead it would never relinquish.
“Sometimes you’re unblocked and you have to make a play,” Love said.
It wasn’t for lack of guts that the Ravens lost. Leading 7-0 in the first quarter at Carolina, Ravens coach John Harbaugh went for a fake punt from his own 10-yard line on a fourth-and-1 — and Baltimore appeared to pick it up easily with Anthony Levine plowing ahead for an 8-yard gain. However, the Ravens were called for an illegal shift on the play, wiping out the first down, and they wound up punting.
Harbaugh also went for a first down on fourth-and-1 from his own 34 and got it on a Flacco sneak.
INJURIES: Ravens starting left tackle Ronnie Stanley was helped off the field in the third quarter with a knee injury, but did return. The Panthers reported no injuries.
UP NEXT: Ravens host Pittsburgh next Sunday.


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Ravens come up empty against inspired Cleveland Browns…

Category : Ravens

You could see it in the emotional close-ups on the CBS TV broadcast of the game—Browns players (including guys on the sideline) were totally into every play of this game. It was a collegiate team atmosphere on the Browns bench. They wanted this upset win over the Ravens.
And they got it— 12-9 in overtime.
After almost 70 minutes of stifling the stumbling Ravens offense, it came down to this:
Greg Joseph‘s low, line-drive kick somehow went through the uprights.
Baker Mayfield, who QB’ed an efficient game for the Browns under pressure, opened his mouth in disbelief. “Did we win?!!”
Yes, Baker, y’all did it…with a lot of help from Ravens mistakes and a general malaise in playcalling from Baltimore’s offensive brain trust, led by OC Marty Mornhinweg.
After Mayfield made a clutch third-down throw to help drive the Browns (2-2-1) into position, Joseph, who was cut by Miami this summer and signed after Week 2 following Zane Gonzalez’s release, came through to give Cleveland its first AFC North win in 19 tries.
“I couldn’t decide whether I wanted to look at the kick or not, so I turned around at the last second and saw it was pretty low,” said Mayfield, who passed for 342 yards and a touchdown in his second NFL start. “It wasn’t a pretty kick but it went in. It also wasn’t a pretty win, but it counts.”
The Ravens (3-2) had plenty of chances, but Joe Flacco threw a costly interception in the first half and the Browns blocked one of Justin Tucker‘s field goal tries.
In his first start at home, Mayfield threw a 19-yard TD pass to Rashard Higgins, but his biggest play was a 39-yard completion to rookie Derrick Willies on Cleveland’s winning drive.
“Baker just makes plays, man, and he knows what to do in tough situations,” Browns guard Joel Bitonio said.
The Ravens, who got another strong effort from their defense, also had a chance to win it in the final minute of regulation, but wide receiver Michael Crabtree couldn’t hold onto Flacco’s pass in the back of the end zone.
“I should have made that catch,” Crabtree said. “The game would have been over. I put that on me. If I have to catch 2,000 balls a week in practice, I’m going to have to do that.”
Tucker then tied it with a 32-yard field goal with 52 seconds left.
On their third possession of OT, the Browns started at their own 5-yard line and were at their 18 facing a third down when Mayfield zipped a pass over the middle to Willies, who didn’t have any catches coming in and was playing after Higgins went out with a knee injury.
Duke Johnson ripped off a 15-yard run and had two more short carries before the Browns sent in Joseph, a college walk-on who was released by the Dolphins after training camp but got a another chance after Gonzalez missed four kicks in a Week 2 loss at New Orleans.
Cleveland’s win was also the Browns’ first in 37 tries on a Sunday, and it gave Jackson his first victory inside the division in three seasons.
Flacco finished 29 of 56 for 298 yards and one interception, but Baltimore’s offense struggled to get into a rhythm all day.
“We had our chances,” Flacco said. “In these kind of games when you have little chances, you have to be able to take advantage of them. The couple that we had, we probably just didn’t execute well.”
Browns rookie cornerback Denzel Ward continues to dazzle. The No. 4 overall draft pick intercepted Flacco in the first half on a tipped ball on a questionable playcall near the goal line (thanks, Coach Marty!), and then blocked Tucker’s 48-yard attempt on the final play of the first half.
Ward has three interceptions this season, and he’s impressed his teammates with his toughness. “The dude was everywhere again,” Browns defensive end Myles Garrett said. “He’s just on top of guys at all times.”
The Browns have an above-average defense (when they’re not playing the Raiders), but the Ravens left at least 17 points on the field due to miscues and mind-boggling playcalls in the red zone.
Cleveland was called for 10 penalties, while Baltimore was only whistled for four, and one of them came in overtime and wiped out a big run by Alex Collins.

Matchup

1st Downs
25
20

Passing 1st downs
14
13

Rushing 1st downs
10
6

1st downs from penalties
1
1

3rd down efficiency
4-16
6-19

4th down efficiency
1-1
0-1

Total Plays
84
76

Total Yards
410
416

Total Drives
15
15

Yards per Play
4.9
5.5

Passing
294
304

Comp-Att
29-57
25-43

Yards per pass
5.0
6.3

Interceptions thrown
1
1

Sacks-Yards Lost
2-4
5-38

Rushing
116
112

Rushing Attempts
25
28

Yards per rush
4.6
4.0

Red Zone (Made-Att)
0-3
1-3

Penalties
4-41
10-66

Turnovers
2
1

Fumbles lost
1
0

Interceptions thrown
1
1

Defensive / Special Teams TDs
0
0

Possession
33:42
36:16

Game Leaders

Passing Yards

BAL
J. Flacco29-56, 298 YDS, 1 INT

CLE
B. Mayfield25-43, 342 YDS, 1 TD, 1 INT

Rushing Yards

BAL
A. Collins12 CAR, 59 YDS

CLE
C. Hyde17 CAR, 63 YDS

Receiving Yards

BAL
M. Crabtree6 REC, 66 YDS

CLE
J. Landry5 REC, 69 YDS

Full Box Score
It was an all-around frustrating performance for the Ravens made even more difficult to take because, as The Baltimore Sun’s Jen Badie put it, “this could have been a Ravens victory.”‘Major Regression’ for the Revamped Offense: Despite finishing with 410 yards of total offense, the Ravens attack didn’t get into sync throughout the afternoon. “This was a major regression for the revamped offense,” Bo Smolka wrote.


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