By Chris Schisler
1. The Baltimore Ravens passing game can carry the offense against a good defense
The Baltimore Ravens leaned on their passing game against the Broncos. They did that last week, but it almost didn’t count because it was against the winless Detroit Lions. This was the first time the Ravens played an incredibly talented pass defense and asked Lamar Jackson to throw for the victory. It’s important to remember that the Broncos came into the game with the top pass defense in the NFL. This was a defense that was stifling their opponents and the Ravens just had over 300 yards passing.
Lamar Jackson was next-level good against the Broncos. His deep ball has never looked so good, and many of his strikes were perfectly on the money. The criticism that “Jackson can’t throw” has always been laughable. Jackson has gone beyond proving that he can throw the old pigskin. Jackson is saying that if the game dictates it he can beat you through the air like an Aaron Rodgers or a Patrick Mahomes.
The Ravens are no longer built to win just one way. They didn’t do what they’ve done the last two weeks last season. For that matter, they wouldn’t have mounted a fourth-quarter comeback against the Chiefs last season. The Ravens have a better balance this year and the passing game can carry its weight.
2. James Proche can make an impact
James Proche had five receptions against the Broncos and looked like a player that belongs in this offense. Five receptions for 74 yards is a good stat line to see from a young and developing wide receiver. Proche has seven career receptions so it’s safe to say that this was the start. In his first real and fair opportunity to show up, Proche made important plays. The mostly sure-handed second-year player from SMU could be the possession receiver the Ravens need.
3. The Ravens will be in a tough spot if Alejandro Villanueva misses time:
Alejandro Villanueva was questionable in this game with a knee injury and he left the game with a knee injury. If Villanueva misses a game (or multiple games) the Ravens are in a very bad situation. Who would the Ravens play at left tackle? Ronnie Stanley is out for a while. Tyre Phillips may be the best answer once he returns from injury (once he returns being the keyword).
Phillips is not a very appealing answer yet he would have more going for him than Andre Smith, who looked as if he was hoping not to get the next man up call. Ben Cleveland could play tackle, that’s a rough spot to put a rookie guard in.
He does have experience at offensive tackle as a Georgia Bulldog. Villanueva may not be having a great season but he’s incredibly important. He’s a starter for a reason. The Ravens’ tackle depth is non-existent. Should Villanueva go down while Ronnie Stanley is still out for an unknown time, it will force a make-shift plan for the Ravens. At least Lamar Jackson is fast and elusive…
4. Odafe Oweh is as good as advertised
Odafe Oweh is worth every bit of his first-round selection. Oweh put on a show off the edge in this game. Funnily enough, the Broncos’ offensive line was decimated inside and the Ravens abused the starting offensive tackles. Oweh had a sack in which he blew past the tackle without much of a struggle. It was a ferocious play and it was good for his second sack of the young season.
Oweh may not have made a huge imprint in the box score other than that sack, but Denver had a lot of problems with him. He got great pressures and it’s amazing how many holding penalties he should have drawn. It was probably four or five times that he got held without consequence to the Broncos. Oweh is the real deal. I spent all offseason preaching patience with Oweh. Nah. He’s ready to rock and I was wrong there.
5. The Baltimore Ravens can win on the road without a lucky finish
For the Ravens Flock, this is a great win. It was nice to have your heart beating through your Ravens jersey louder than a marching band, wasn’t it? The Ravens were in full control of this game. Once they survived a bad start Baltimore enforced their will on the Denver Broncos. The Denver crowd doesn’t have to like that last play that got the Ravens the record but that’s about as fun of a way to end a game as there is. Deal with it, Denver.
The Ravens didn’t let this game get too close, even if they took their time finishing the thing. The Ravens found a way to win without a massive comeback in the fourth quarter or a historically long field goal. That’s what you like to see, especially on the road against an undefeated team. The Ravens are capable of taking care of business without giving us heart failure and for that, we should be thankful.
6. The secondary is still a plus for the Baltimore Ravens
Can the Baltimore Ravens secondary stand up so it can get recognized? Everyone clap. Courtland Sutton is one of the better wideouts in the NFL. He was held to three receptions for 47 yards. Noah Fant had six grabs and a touchdown but he was under 50 yards receiving also.
The Broncos had no shots down the field. Teddy Bridgewater dinked and dunked almost exclusively. Drew Lock took some ill-advised shots down the field, but all Denver could do was run slants and crossing patterns. What a glorious day for the Ravens’ secondary (and they did it without De’Shon Elliott)!
Marlon Humphrey, Anthoney Averett, Tavon Young, and Jimmy Smith all had great games. By the way, if Averett doesn’t make that interception in garbage time, the Ravens don’t get their rushing record. The secondary should get as much praise as Lamar Jackson in this game. It’s still a strength of this team. It’s only getting better with Smith back and Young getting his rustiness behind him.
This was a big win for the Baltimore Ravens. These lessons are good ones to take in.