By Chris Schisler
1. The hard way comes at a cost for the Baltimore Ravens
The Baltimore Ravens could have blown out the Detroit Lions. They got out to a 13-0 lead. Even though the initial scores took a while to get on the board, the Ravens controlled most of this game. The defense was getting stops consistently for most of this game. The fact is that the defense got enough stops that this should have been an easy win. The Ravens left points on the field.
The Ravens had a ton of issues. Greg Roman was too conservative on third downs and took the ball out of Lamar Jackson‘s hands just to see a run up the gut get stuffed. Drops were a horrible problem for the offense. Nothing worked for the offense, even when it worked. I know it’s kind of a John Madden-like line, but that sums it up.
Even when things went right, the Ravens had a miscue that muted the excitement of the game. The Ravens’ offense prevented this from being a blowout. If it wasn’t for the best kicker in NFL history this would have been an unacceptable loss. That whole pile of frustration is the cost of doing things the hard way.
2. The offensive line can’t be trusted
Remember how in the Chiefs game, the offensive line surprised everybody with strong play. Well, the Ravens’ offensive line didn’t get fixed. This was just about as bad as the showing for the offensive line as the season opener was. The run game didn’t get going. Jackson was sacked four times and any other quarterback would have taken six or seven sacks. it was awful.
The middle of the offensive line was the biggest culprit. Kevin Zeitler hasn’t been the massive upgrade at right guard the Ravens were hoping for. Bradley Bozeman had a rough game but thankfully didn’t have any bad snaps. It didn’t matter who played at left guard, the linemen were all in the struggle. The unavoidable truth is that the Ravens didn’t win the battle at the line of scrimmage. This is the primary reason the Ravens were in so many bad third-down situations.
3. The defensive line can be better than we thought
The defensive line has more depth than we thought it did. Broderick Washington looked great. Much like is the case with Brandon Williams more often than not, Washington’s lack of numbers in the box score doesn’t mean he wasn’t doing well. Justin Ellis and Khalil McKenzie also helped the defense get through. While Calais Campbell didn’t have a sack, he had four tackles and was a dominant force up front. This was Campbell’s best game since the first half of last season.
4. Tackling is a problem area- a consistent one
This team needs to do some tackling drills. This is just unacceptable. There was one play where Tyus Bowser completely whiffed on the play and Marlon Humphrey ended up making the tackle right in front of the line to gain. Your cornerback shouldn’t be a better form tackler than your linebackers.
Patrick Queen had a frustrating game at the linebacker position. He looks mostly lost in pass coverage, and he needs to focus on technique with tackling. He keeps throwing shoulders rather than squaring up and running through the ball carrier. Open field tackling and the angles the defense took to the ball were a huge problem against the Chiefs. That problem carried over to the game against the Lions.
5. Lamar Jackson can carry the offense as a passer
Lamar Jackson had a pick trying to be Superman for this offense. It was a bad mistake and he threw the game away – Baltimore just got lucky if we’re being honest. It was a throw only a very frustrated quarterback makes. Jackson had to carry this offense. The MVP quarterback was 16-31 for 287 yards, a touchdown, and that interception.
Jackson would have been near 400 yards if Marquise Brown and others wouldn’t have dropped so many passes. Touchdowns and big gains should have been added to Jackson’s numbers. He dropped more dimes in this game than in any other game of the 2021 season. The Ravens asked for Jackson to make the plays with his arm in this game. He came through and he didn’t get the help he needed.
6. Marquise Brown’s issues with drops didn’t go anywhere
The start to the season was so promising for Marquise Brown. He played a great game against the Chiefs and had a strong showing against the Raiders. The one thing that has always haunted Brown is a case of the drops. It seems like a psychological thing. Brown has this hiccup in his otherwise very impressive set of traits.
He has to get this figured out. The problem is he’s a very important player for the Ravens and Baltimore never knows when this is going to come up again as a problem. Brown has to be better, this was unacceptable.
7. The Baltimore Ravens need a killer instinct
The Ravens were up 13-0 in this game. Does that sound familiar? The Ravens were up 14-0 against the Las Vegas Raiders to start the game. When the Lions were scoreless and chasing the Ravens with a two-score lead it wouldn’t have taken much for the Ravens to put the game away. The Ravens just needed to score a touchdown and put gain momentum that couldn’t be toppled. The Ravens have to be more aggressive and more mindful, the foot should have never gotten off the gas pedal when things started going right.
8. There is no main running back on the Baltimore Ravens
When you look at what the Ravens did in this game it confirms that there never has been the main running back for this offense. Latavius Murray got seven rushing attempts for 28 yards. Despite being exciting at times, Ty’Son Williams hasn’t necessarily been the guy. Williams only had 22 yards. At this point, the Ravens either need to pick a back and let him get the bulk of the carries or they need to see what Le’Veon Bell or Nate McCrary have to offer.
If you’re wondering why there’s no Justin Tucker mention here, there’s no lesson to be learned here. We already knew Tucker was the G.O.A.T. kicker. The Ravens got away with one. These are the things we have to see John Harbaugh and company thinking about as we move forward into week 4.