Posted in The good bad and ugly

Ravens 30 Packers 31: The Good, bad and the ugly

By Chris Schisler

The Baltimore Ravens had a valiant effort against the Green Bay Packers. In the end, the Packers inch closer to the number one seed, while the Ravens put themselves in a tough spot with three games left. The sun has come up – proving that there’s always another day. Since we have to process this game and move on to Cincinnati (literally) let’s talk about the good, bad and, the ugly vs. the Packers:

Whatever you expected, chances are that the Ravens surpassed your expectations. This game came down to the end. The purple and black had a lot of guys out of this game for injuries and the latest surge of Covid-19. The Packers won, but they did not get the easy win that they were supposed to have. They got a fight. The first thing you have to praise is the Ravens’ effort in this game. They wanted it and they protected The Bank honorably.

The Good:

Tyler Huntley continued to be the best backup quarterback in football. He’s going to be a starter somewhere else sooner rather than later. Baltimore let Huntley sling it. They didn’t change their offensive approach and go into an ultra-conservative ground and pound mode. Huntley completed 28 out of 40 passes for 215 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran for 73 yards and two touchdowns. Huntley put up a Lamar Jackson-like performance and he was incredibly fun to watch. 

Latavius Murray showed great burst and averaged 6.8 yards per rushing attempt. He only got the rock seven times, but he had some high-impact runs. Baltimore had 143 yards rushing, which is usually a good sign for this offense.

Mark Andrews was amazing in this contest. He had 10 receptions for 136 yards and two touchdowns. The Packers had trouble with Andrews on a regular basis in this game. He somehow kept slipping open. Eight Ravens caught passes in this game showing a healthy distribution and flow of the football. Huntley’s decisions were quick and the offense was efficient.

Defensively, you have to like what you saw. The Ravens were without Chuck Clark and only had five healthy cornerbacks for the game. When Tavon Young left the game hurt, the Ravens were even more shorthanded. If you would have told me that the Packers would only score 31 points and Rodgers would be held under 300 yards before this game, I would have a hard time believing you. The defense got a clutch stop that gave the Ravens a chance at the end. When you have Robert Jackson and Kevon Seymore filling in at cornerback, this is about as good as this thing can go.

The Bad:

Believe it or not, the Packers and Ravens had the same number of penalties. The Ravens had some very dumb things that hurt them in this area though. The Packers caught Justin Houston failing to get off the field in time and it got the Packers a free first down. The Ravens were going to go for it on fourth and one in the fourth quarter. They settled for a field goal when a false start penalty knocked them back five yards. The Ravens needed to play more flawlessly to win this game. They couldn’t afford the self-inflicted mistakes.

While the Ravens did spread the ball around in this game, Rashod Bateman seemingly vanished from the game. The rookie receiver looked unstoppable against the Cleveland Browns. His momentum completely halted in this game.

The Ravens had trouble getting off the field on defense. To be fair, this was to be expected. Still, one of the big problems in this game is that Green Bay won the time of possession battle. While it may look like the Packers didn’t do that much on the ground, their running backs had a huge mark on this game. Aaron Jones only had 58 yards but that came with a healthy 4.5 yards per attempt. Some of those runs were backbreakers – the front seven didn’t have the excuses that the secondary did.

The Ugly:

The play-calling and game management of this game could make eyes bleed. The Ravens march down the field at the beginning of the game. They had every chance to make a statement on the opening drive and they walked away with no points. On a seemingly long three-yard fourth-down attempt. Tyler Huntley was bottled up on a quarterback keeper. It was a fourth-down call with one option, remember that point for later.

It ended up working out. The Ravens got the Packers to punt. The Ravens marched back down the field and scored. Still, in a game where you have every disadvantage you have to take any points you can have. The Ravens lost 31-30. They didn’t need that many points. If they kick that field goal it would have played out differently. You can’t say the Ravens lost because they didn’t take the points on the first drive. You can say though, that the Ravens mismanaged that whole situation from the idea to go for it to the play-call itself.

Let’s fast-forward to the end of the game. With what Baltimore had to deal with, they get a pass for some things and the ugly section doesn’t need to be that intensive. The Ravens going for two at the end of the game… We have to talk about it. Whether or not you think it was the right decision the play-call gave the Ravens very little chance.

The Ravens rolled out to the right and looked for Andrews. That was it. The way the play unfolded, that’s all Huntley was even going to see. The Packers knew it was going to Andrews. Brown was technically open, on the run, Andrews was the one true shot the Ravens had. The Ravens failed to get the touchdown early and failed to get the two-point conversion. Both play-calls essentially gave the Ravens one choice and it wasn’t there. You can blame execution all you want, that’s bad concepts being played out.

Next Post: Baltimore Ravens who deserve a spot in the NFL Pro Bowl

When you consider that the Ravens were playing with all the cards stacked against them, this was the best possible bad situation. Even though the Ravens lost, they showed the team hasn’t given up. At the end of the day, the Ravens have their third straight loss and desperately need to beat the Cincinnati Bengals next week. When you look at what the Ravens had to work with, it has to fuel your belief in John Harbaugh and the Ravens’ mission this season. With everything this team has been through, they haven’t given up.

Posted in The good bad and ugly

Ravens Edge the Bears: The Good, Bad, and Ugly

By: Ashley Anderson

With a 16-13 win over the Chicago Bears, the Ravens now stand at 7-3. It was an odd day for Baltimore that required a miracle comeback for them to escape with a victory. Here is a recap of the good, bad, and ugly for the purple and black.

The Good:

Tyler Huntley found out Sunday morning that he would be making his first career start. It was far from a perfect performance, but Huntley played his heart out. Although he was sacked six times, Huntley went 26/36 for 219-yards and an interception. On the ground, he recorded 40-yards on seven carries. Most importantly, Huntley stayed cool under pressure, leading Baltimore on a game-winning drive with under two minutes in the game.

Running back Devonta Freeman was ultimately responsible for the go-ahead score. His day was good enough on the ground, as he led the team with 49-yards on 16 carries. Freeman has also shown a knack for contributing in the passing game. He notched six receptions for 37-yards.

It was also nice to see Sammy Watkins have a bounce-back performance. His return from injury was less-than-stellar against the Miami Dolphins. Against the Bears, however, he had three catches for 48-yards, including the 29-yard catch that set the Ravens up for the game-winning touchdown.

Defensively, Tyus Bowser finally has the breakout game everyone has been waiting for. He was responsible for five tackles, a tackle for loss, two quarterback hits, two sacks, and a fumble. When Bowser bulldozed his way into the backfield to prevent a Hail Mary try by Andy Dalton, fans let out an audible sigh of relief.

On his 32nd birthday, Justin Tucker was a perfect 3/3 on field goals and 1/1 on extra-point tries.

The best part of this game was that the Ravens found a way to win. Plenty of things went wrong for Baltimore, with a number of key players ruled out Sunday morning. However, they dug deep and pulled out a crucial win. It proved even more important as both the Browns and Bengals won as well. With Pittsburgh losing on Sunday night, Baltimore now leads the Bengals by one game in the AFC North.

The Bad:

Again, the Ravens allowed a big passing play moments after Dalton took over at quarterback. It seems Baltimore is allergic to defending screen passes, allowing a 60-yard touchdown pass to Darnell Mooney as a result of over-pursuit. Poor tackling was an issue as well as Chuck Clark had a clear whiff on the play.

Baltimore’s aggressive play-calling was as head-scratching as it was unsuccessful. On a fourth-and-11 late in the fourth quarter, Defensive Coordinator Wink Martindale called for a Cover 0, all-out blitz. When no one got home, Dalton found Marquise Goodwin wide open for a 49-yard score to give Chicago a late lead. Baltimore’s defense was down to three healthy cornerbacks against the Bears, and it showed on the stat sheet with two Bears receivers going over 100-yards.

The offensive line had another poor showing despite the return of Nick Boyle and Patrick Mekari. Huntley was under constant pressure, and he was sacked six times. The running backs barely found room to run, and Devonta Freeman and Latavius Murray both averaged under four yards per carry. Although the unit has undergone an insane amount of change, it is time for everyone to step up and protect the guy under center.

The Ugly:

Oh my goodness, was the injury list ugly this week. Lamar Jackson was unable to play as he continued to battle an illness. He traveled with the team but was ultimately ruled out Sunday morning.

Cornerbacks Jimmy Smith and Anthony Averett were both scratched as well. Neither seemed to have an issue during the week, but they developed mysterious injuries somewhere after Friday’s practice. That left Baltimore painfully short-handed in the secondary, with Chris Westry making his first start.

Starting wide receiver Marquise Brown is dealing with a thigh injury, and he was surprisingly ruled out after a limited practice Friday.

NEXT POST: Baltimore Ravens sneak past Bears: 7 lessons on victory Monday

If Jackson is unable to play against Cleveland, it will be a massive blow for Baltimore. The Ravens will also be keeping their fingers crossed that Smith and/or Averett find a way to get healthy. It was a minor miracle that the 49-yard score late in the fourth quarter did not sink Baltimore’s ship. They will likely not get that lucky when the Browns come to town.

Posted in The good bad and ugly

Baltimore Ravens vs Colts: The ugly and the glorious from 31-25 win

By Chris Schisler 

Baltimore Ravens fans…Wow! We’re doing this differently this week. Normally is the time for the good, bad, and ugly post recapping the Ravens game with some succinct analysis. This week we’re doing the glorious and the ugly. We’re also going to lead with the ugly just like the Ravens did themselves against the Colts. It was one of the most glorious come-from-behind wins in Ravens history. It was riddled with problematic football. Let’s get the ugly portion of this post out of the way. 

The ugly:

The Ravens gave up a long touchdown on the first drive for the Colts. On a third and what seemed like forever, a swing pass to Jonathan Taylor went 76 yards. It was absolutely unacceptable because the Ravens had to be ready for that type of play call. The Ravens saw their defenders run themselves out of the play.

The Ravens couldn’t stop the Colts at the beginning of this game. The Colts had a quick strike initially, then it was the Colts abusing the Ravens in time of possession. Tackling had been an issue all year long. Linebackers in coverage had been a problem all year long. All of this remained a problem on Monday night.

To start the second quarter, the Colts had a 3rd & 10. You guessed it, the Ravens gave it up on a Zach Pascal comeback route. How did the subsequent 3rd & 1 go? You guessed it. The Ravens gave it up, losing the battle at the line of scrimmage. It was a frustration you could feel. The Colts had the answers from the jump of this game. The Ravens looked unprepared on both sides of the ball. The effort of the players wasn’t the problem but mistake after mistake put the Ravens in a bad spot. 

The Ravens’ start to this game was certifiably horrible. A game in which they were heavy favorites started about as bad as it could get. 

Okay, let’s fast forward a bit because the first half was almost entirely the ugly section.

The Colts had a 4th & 11 in the final seconds of the first half. The Ravens gave up the fourth down attempt and allowed a field goal attempt. The Colts missed the kick but there was an offsides penalty. The Colts got a mulligan and Rodrigo Blankenship made the kick. At halftime, it was 10-3 and the Ravens were lucky to be in the game. 

Before the comeback could happen, the Ravens had an impossibly frustrating turnover. Lamar Jackson fumbled right near the goal-line. Instead of a much-needed touchdown, the Colts got the ball. Jackson forced a rushing attempt when he should have committed to the handoff. He then fumbled as he went down. The Ravens were lucky that in the review of the play the Colts’ touchdown for running back the fumble was taken away. 

The Ravens defense had a bad performance. There’s no getting around it. The Colts put up 513 total yards. Jonathan Taylor rushed for 53 yards and had 116 yards receiving. Marlon Mack had 47 yards on the ground with an insane average of 9.4 yards per attempt. Anthony Averett got worked hard in this game, though nobody on the defense had much to write home about. 

If it wasn’t for Calais Campbell blocking a field goal in the fourth quarter with a little over four minutes left, the Ravens win couldn’t have happened. We’re talking about a game where the Colts were averaging a bit over eight yards per play. The Colts had very little trouble moving the ball and had multiple chances to put the Ravens away for good. Remember the Ravens had to come back down 22-9 There is a lot to work on. 

There are almost too many things to hit on in the ugly section: 

Tavon Young almost cost the Ravens the game. After the comeback tied the game up, the Colts had the last crack with the football in regulation. It looked like the Colts were going to squander their chance to get into field goal range when Young committed a personal foul. Young clearly had his head knocked into the ground with force, yet he was the reacting party and his outburst got the penalty. The Colts moved into field goal range. Luckily for Baltimore, Blankenship missed the kick. 

The Ravens couldn’t run the ball very well. If you take out the 62 rushing yards of their quarterback, the Ravens would have had 24 yards on the ground. Some of that you have to think is because the Ravens were playing catch-up throughout the game. Still, the offensive line was not creating daylight for the running backs. Latavius Murray averaged 2.8 yards per attempt. Ty’Son Williams had an average of 1.5 yards per attempt. 

Ben Cleveland got hurt in this game and left the game. We have to wait and see what’s wrong with him yet he was carted off the field and didn’t return. Kevin Zeitler also left the game with an injury. It was the last thing a struggling offensive line needed to see. Injuries are always the ugliest part of this sport. 

The Glorious: Baltimore Ravens comeback

Lamar Jackson had over 500 yards of total offense. In his best day ever as a passer, Jackson had 442 passing yards, four touchdowns, and just six incomplete passes. Jackson put the Ravens team on his back and found a way to win. He showed toughness and poise to get the scores the Ravens needed late in the game. 

Jackson’s deep shot to Marquise Brown started everything off. The ball just launched out of his hand like a rocket. Jackson’s passing was historically good. It was the best completion percentage of a 400-yard passing performance in NFL history. Jackson never flinched. He went from having just over 100 yards in the first half to one of the most explosive finishes ever.

Mark Andrews and Marquise Brown were amazing in this game. Andrews and Brown scored on the two final two-point attempts. Andrews had 11 receptions for 147 yards and two touchdowns, while Brown had nine receptions for 125 yards and two touchdowns. When the Ravens opened up the offense and had Jackson show off his arm, these are the weapons that did most of the damage. 

Going into the fourth quarter, the Ravens trailed 22-9. Things had to go a very specific way for the Ravens to even have a chance. The Ravens took a weird and going to bed inspiring Monday Night Football game and they turned it into an instant classic. Baltimore outscored the Colts 16-3 in the fourth quarter. They tied things up and with some luck, the game went into overtime. 

Jackson marched the Ravens down the field for what seemed like an easy score in the extra period of play. As obvious as it felt that the Ravens were having a bad night at halftime, in overtime it was equally apparent that the Ravens weren’t getting stopped. 

NEXT POST: Baltimore Ravens: Analyzing third-down problems for the offense

In the end, the Ravens just found a way to get the job done. It’s what they’ve done all season. This will go down as one of the most memorable wins in the Baltimore Ravens lure. It took every little thing to go right. It took a forced fumble by Odafe Oweh in the first half that stopped the bleeding a little bit early. They needed Calais Campbell having the blocked field goal. Most importantly it took another MVP caliber performance from Lamar Jackson. 



Posted in The good bad and ugly

Ravens handle the Broncos: The good, bad and ugly

By Chris Schisler

The Baltimore Ravens beat the Denver Broncos 23-7. Overall it was a good day for the purple and black and we’ll begin our recap with the good.

The Good for the Ravens:

The Baltimore Ravens faithful has less to complain about this week than they have in the past weeks. The Ravens held their opponent to one touchdown. The Ravens substantially outgained the Broncos. Once the Ravens took control, the game was never in any real jeopardy.

The Ravens took control when Lamar Jackson took over the game. A little bit of hitting Mark Andrews was all it took for the passing game to come alive. Jackson had 316 yards and a touchdown passing and had his first game of the season without a turnover. Jackson still chipped in as a ball-carrier with 28 yards, but the MVP quarterback won this game with his arm.

He got a more diverse set of weapons involved this week. James Proche and Mark Andrews both had five grabs. Marquise Brown caught four passes and the most beautiful touchdown of the Ravens’ season on a bomb down the field. Sammy Watkins had four receptions and Devin Duvernay got into the action with three. In a game where the run game was less effective than usual, Jackson and his receiving corps led the way. Duvernay had a huge punt return that set up a last-minute field goal before halftime.

Even with three sacks given up, the pass protection was much improved for the Ravens. When Andre Smith replaced Alejandro Villanueva things got dicey, but the pass protection was about as good as it’s been all season. The Ravens put up 406 total yards in the contest and ran one last play to keep their 100-yard rushing streak alive.

Now let’s talk the good from the defense:

Defensively, there were two main positives. First, the pass rush was outstanding. Secondly, the defensive backs played great football, it was a strong showing for a team missing the starting free safety, De’Shon Elliott. Tyus Bowser had two sacks while Odafe Oweh, Justin Madubuike, and Justin Houston all had one sack.

Chuck Clark may have had his best game with the Ravens and had one of the biggest hits of the season. Marlon Humphrey and Anthony Averett were outstanding. The defense had issues, but overall this was what you want to see. Giving only seven points and just 252 total yards is a good day at the office.

Denver couldn’t throw the ball down the field. It just wasn’t on the menu. It didn’t matter that Teddy Bridgewater left the game with a concussion, Drew Lock dealt with the same problem. The short passing game was the only thing working for the Broncos outside of their running game. Playing catch-up with the Ravens prevented the frustrating efficiency of Broncos running backs Melvin Gordon and Javontae Williams from mattering.

The Bad:

The Ravens had plenty of chances to finish this game. Possibly the most frustrating moment was when the Ravens had a touchdown pass to Mark Andrews taken off the board because of a facemask by Andre Smith. It could be argued that finding a true killer instinct is still a problem for Baltimore.

The Ravens got off to a what can only be described as a tortoise slow start. The Ravens got down 7-0. Baltimore didn’t score any points in the first quarter and their second-half scoring consisted of two Justin Tucker field goals in the fourth quarter. The Ravens had two more penalties than the Broncos and they were penalties that made this game harder than it had to be.

While Devin Duvernay had a strong showing overall he made a couple of questionable decisions as a punt returner. By letting the ball bounce the Ravens got pinned deep inside their territory. The slow start wasn’t helped by the Ravens losing the field position battle.

The Ugly

The Ravens defense has a profound tackling problem. On the Broncos’ one scoring drive a long run by Javontae Williams was aided by a missed tackle in the backfield and several missed tackles. Tackles not being made kept several plays alive for the Broncos well past their should have been expiration. Patrick Queen had another bad performance in this area.

I checked his Pro Football Focus score, and it’s a drastically low 37.1. Queen’s score is 62.4 in run defense and an even 30 in pass coverage. PFF scores aren’t everything but I checked it because the eye test wasn’t helping the 2020 first-round pick out. The Ravens need better play from Queen and his fellow inside linebackers. The middle of the defense is where the Broncos wanted to attack most of the game.

The Ravens struggled on third downs on offense. The play-calling was the main culprit. The Ravens kept going with an obvious dive play up the gut on third and short. This was problematic for three reasons. First, it took the ball out of Jackson’s hands during pivotal plays. Secondly, it was the most obvious call each time. Finally, the run blocking was problematic in this game, and the manageable third downs were mismanaged. It was as if Greg Roman was unaware of how the game was going.

The Ravens went seven for 17 on third-down conversions. At least a handful of those third down misses were a failing of the offensive coordinator. The Ravens had a lot of promising drives stall on third down.

Le’Veon Bell didn’t make a positive impression in his first game with the purple and black. It’s important to note that with the way the Ravens were run blocking that’s not entirely fair. The Ravens certainly were not enhanced by his activation from the practice squad. You have to wonder if the Ravens were missing the yards per pop impact of Ty’Son Williams, who wasn’t activated for this game.

NEXT POST: Lamar Jackson: Looking at his crazy start to the 2021 season

Bell got four carries and had 11 yards. Latavius Murray led the team with rushing and he only had 59 yards and averaged 3.3 yards per attempt. It wasn’t a typical day for the Ravens rushing game and it’s almost miraculous that they kept their history-making streak of 100 yards on the ground alive. Blocking wasn’t great but let’s not pretend the Ravens have answers at the running back position.


Posted in The good bad and ugly

Justin Tucker saves Baltimore Ravens win: Good, bad and the ugly

By Chris Schisler 

The good

The Baltimore Ravens offense finally got a scoring drive near the end of the first half. Devin Duvernay scored the touchdown and that’s how long it took to find a positive at the end of a Ravens offensive drive.

The defense looked fantastic in this game. The expectations dropped a bit when a Covid-19 situation depleted the defensive front. The players that needed to step up did. Broderick Washington played well. He won the battle in the middle of the defensive line. Calais Campbell was great as well.

Don Martindale called another great game as the defensive coordinator of the Ravens. The blitzing was on point. The pressure bothered Lions quarterback, Jared Goff. Every time Goff had to pass and the Ravens knew it, the defense was ready to rock.

Lamar Jackson looked sharp. Drops really hurt his stat line. He had decent numbers in the game even though the box score doesn’t do the MVP quarterback justice. 

Justin Tucker saved the day. The 66-yard field goal was the longest kick in NFL history and it gave the Ravens a win. Okay, now it gets iffy. There is a little bad and then a whole lot of ugly.

The Bad for the Baltimore Ravens

On the first Ravens drive, they were backed up inside their own three-yard line. They ended up with a 3rd & 2. The Ravens ran a play everyone in the stadium was waiting for. The Ravens may be run-oriented but they really had to put the ball in the air there. It was an uninspired call by Greg Roman that took the ball out of Lamar Jackson’s hands on a key play.

The offense got off to a slow start. They wasted good stops by the defense. The first time the offense got going Justin Tucker uncharacteristically missed a field goal. The Ravens couldn’t stay on the field in the first quarter. That was the opposite of what they needed with their depth-strapped defense.

The offense was unflattering. On the last drive of the first quarter, you had a Mark Andrews drop, a play with two penalties, and a very timid call on 2nd & 15 that set up a 3rd and long. Jackson ran for a couple of yards and the Ravens punted. The first quarter was the opposite of fun.

In the second quarter, the offense started throwing it down the field. Jackson missed on a couple of deep shots though Marquise Brown arguably should have caught one of them in the end zone. Tucker got a field goal but the Ravens kept their streak of not picking up first downs on third down.

The Ugly

Marquise Brown was absolutely and unequivocally bad in this game. He had multiple drops with perfect passes hitting him in both hands. This may have been the worst game of his career, a sentiment that could have been rightfully believed before the halftime intermission. Brown has no excuse, these drops were all the way on the awful meter.

The offensive line was poor for much of the game. The Ravens offensive line forced Greg Roman’s play calls in this game. An expected run-heavy game turned into more of a passing day.

When the Lions finally scored the offense revisited the running game. It must have made you wonder why did they get so removed from it in the first place?

Jackson got bottled up a handful of times in the pocket. On one deep pass that could have been a touchdown in the third quarter, Jackson missed Andrews. Pressure may have knocked his accuracy off course.

The Ravens got out to a 13 point lead in this game. They failed to put Detroit away. The Lions put together a touchdown drive in the middle of the third quarter. Open field tackling became an issue. It’s a reoccurring problem. 13-7 was a nervous spot for the Ravens, especially when they controlled most of the action to that point.

The very ugly:

To be fair this was expected because of the circumstances, but the running game of the Lions got harder to stop as the game went on. There were a few moments where the Ravens were simply getting gashed. De’Andre Swift was the main problem, but Jamaal Williams also had some nice runs against Baltimore.

A gassed and exhausted defense gave the Lions another touchdown. All of a sudden it was a two-point game. All of the sudden a win was on a nervous footing for the Ravens. The defense gave up the score. The offense created this situation by squandering perfect chances and putting the defense in tough spots all game long.

Jackson forced a pass on third and long after the Lions score. It was a bad throw, forced in the direction of Marquise Brown. He wasn’t open and the pass was hopeless.

It was a throw that continued Jackson’s three-game run with an awful and unforgivable turnover. The stretched-thin defense had to try to save the day. Take a moment, throw something before we continue.

The defense gave up two wide-open passes that cut the Lions’ distance to a glorious win in half. This thing was just going that way. The Ravens were looking at a loss to Detroit of a win that didn’t make anyone in the Charm City feel good.

John Harbaugh inexplicably challenged a catch. The Ravens wasted a timeout. Then the Lions quickly got into scoring position. Again, if you need to throw something I totally understand, take a second if you must. Spoiler alert, the Lions scored the field goal with 1:04 left on the clock. You have to be kidding me!

NEXT POST: Baltimore Ravens: Top 10 tight ends in franchise history

The Baltimore Ravens took two sacks and faced a 4th and long. That’s it for the ugly, it got glorious for a second and the Ravens got away with one.