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BALTIMORE RAVENS

Week 5 Offensive Film Room: Decisions, decisions

Week 5 saw a very one-sided game between the Ravens and Bengals, however Lamar Jackson still struggled to move the ball. It was certainly not his best game, and attempting to pass the ball 37 times was a questionable decision from the coaching staff. Baltimore handedly won this game, but the puzzling decisions and unfortunate executions left an odd taste after the game. Today, we’re gonna take a look at three plays from the Baltimore vs. Cincinnati game, and why these examine why they are important. Our first play comes with 12:13 left in the first quarter on 2nd-&-3. Baltimore has a lot of big bodies on the field with only one wide receiver out wide left and the other, Duvernay, in the slot on the right side. The Bengals have a wall set up behind the line, discouraging any sort of run up the middle. The play is a triple option, where Lamar Jackson can either keep it himself, give it to Ingram, or give it to Duvernay whose running in the opposite direction of the other two. Once the play starts and both Ingram and Lamar move to the right side, you can see every single Bengals defender move to that side, fully prepared to take on either. Jackson hands it off to Duvernay and he finds salvation in all that daylight, as well as an easy 42 yards. This play is significant because it’s a perfect example of what Baltimore could be doing on a play-by-play basis. Everyone knows the strategy at this point, running shrouded in the misdirection of who and where will be running it. When the world predicts your misdirection, add more more misdirection. That’s what we have here, the play is perfect in design and execution. I could watch 10 grown men all get faked out simultaneously every day for the rest of my life, but unfortunately, I have to work for a living. Our next play comes later in that same drive on a 3rd-&-7. Jackson is in the shotgun with nobody else back there with him. The play sends Duvernay and Snead on in-routes over the middle as well as Andrews over the top. The linebacker in Duvernay’s zone was falling back, and left Duvernay open to potentially hit him in stride for a first down, but instead Lamar takes a shot to the covered Andrews — resulting in an incompletion and fourth down. The reason I dislike this play isn’t because it’s an awful play call from the coaching staff, but Jackson makes a bad decision going for the big yardage rather than just trying to get seven yards. Even if they don’t get the full seven, they could always go for it on 4th-&-short, which is something they consistently converted last year. The play is designed to get Duvernay, Snead, or Andrews open in the middle of the field, depending on which one the defenders choose to cover. The defenders covered Andrews, but Lamar threw to him anyway. The play call was fine, the decision the quarterback made was not. Our final play comes with 8:45 left in the third quarter on 2nd-&-7. Baltimore is up 17-0 in a game that’s been mostly lead by their dominate defense. Jackson is in the pistol with Edwards behind him and Ricard in motion just behind the line. As the play begins there is a clear disproportion in blocking assignments as they have one person double teamed and another person seemingly triple teamed on the left side. All of that leads to instant penetration from the defensive line, and Lamar never even has a second to throw. This play is a symbol of a lack of planning, The Bengals only rushed four guys and the Ravens had six blockers, they should never be able to get pressure that fast in this situation. Clearly there was a miscommunication somewhere, or maybe the play is designed to have two double teams going at the same time. You could also point to Patrick Ricard, who instead of looking back to make sure that side was covered he just ran forward. Baltimore’s pass blocking hasn’t been all that stellar so far in this season, and this is yet another example, maybe a bit of an extreme one, of someone not knowing their assignment. The play was clearly designed to get either receiver on the right side open, yet the blocking seemed to all be stacked on the left side. Also they have an extra defender on the field in that referee, and that’s just unfair.
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BALTIMORE RAVENS

Patrick Queen named AFC Defensive Player of the Week

After a standout performance against the Bengals in Week 5, rookie LB Patrick Queen has been rewarded by earning AFC Defensive Player of the Week honors for the first time in his young career. Queen’s finger prints were all over the Ravens 24-point victory and dominant defensive performance. He led the Ravens in tackles with nine, contributed in the sack department, forced a fumble, and recovered a fumble and returned it for a 52-yard touchdown. In addition to a gaudy stat line, Queen earned an impressive PFF grade of 88.7. It was a masterful performance from the former LSU Tiger, who got the best of his former collegiate teammate Joe Burrow. Humphrey ripped the ball loose from Bengals WR Mike Thomas, and Queen was in the right place at the right time. He scooped up the fumble and ran 52 yards untouched into the end zone. Queen has been a healthy source of statistics and impact plays all season long, but like most rookies, inconsistencies had plagued him at times through Week 4. However, against the Bengals, Queen put everything together for his best all-around showing of the year, one that can be described as near-perfect. The arrow is pointing up for Queen and this figures to be one of many times he represents the AFC as Defensive Player of the Week.
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BALTIMORE RAVENS

NFL Power Rankings Roundup: Ravens are a consensus top 5 team once again

Led by a dominant performance by their defense, the Ravens blew out the Bengals 27-3 on Sunday. Subsequently, they have slightly risen in this week’s power rankings and are a consensus top-five team for the first time in two weeks. ESPN kept the Ravens at number four and cited their passing offense as their biggest weakness. The Ravens were hoping to see Lamar Jackson take the next step as a passer, but that hasn’t consistently happened through five games. Baltimore ranks 31st in passing, averaging 178.8 yards per game. Only the banged-up New York Jets are worse. Jackson recently acknowledged he is “not happy” with the passing game but said he believes there’s plenty of time left in the season to turn it around. With the running game not being as dominant as last season, Jackson has to become more accurate and efficient in throwing the ball if Baltimore wants to beat the likes of the Steelers, Colts, Titans and Patriots in November. — Jamison Hensley CBS Sports moved them up to number five. They still haven’t clicked on offense yet. The defense was impressive against the Bengals last week, but they need more from the offense. They moved up to fourth in Sports Illustrated’s rankings. There are questions on offense, a lot of them stemming from the rocky performance from the interior line (which is what happens when your Hall of Fame right guard retires after an All-Pro season). But what this defense did to poor Joe Burrow on Sunday was a bit much, and their Week 1 trouncing of Cleveland will come in handy in the three-way AFC North race (that’s the only game so far between Baltimore-Cleveland-Pittsburgh). Yahoo gave the Ravens their highest ranking of the week by placing them at number two. The Ravens’ four wins have all come by double digits, with an average margin of 21.8 points. They have played some bad opponents but also beat the 4-1 Browns by 32 points. There are some undefeated teams behind them, but I’ll still stand by the Ravens being the second-best team in football. NFL.com was impressed by their defensive performance against the Bengals and ranked them third overall. The Ravens’ defense threw a party on Sunday. Seven sacks, each one by a different player, and 15 quarterback hits in a 27-3 win over the Bengals. Baltimore’s front seven made Joe Burrow look like a rookie, holding the No. 1 overall pick to just 183 yards passing with two turnovers (one INT, one fumble). The Bengals managed just 205 total yards in a game that felt like it was over by the second quarter. The defensive dominance provided cover for a pedestrian performance by Lamar Jackson, who will need a hellacious run in the final 11 games to repeat as league MVP. Eye-popping stat of the day: Jackson finished the game with three rushing yards. The offense exists as a work in progress, a surprise through five weeks. As for the rest of the AFC North, the Steelers were given an average ranking of 4.6 after their victory over the Eagles. The Browns were a top-ten selection by four outlets (ESPN, CBS Sports, Yahoo, NFL.com). Finally, the Bengals took a slight fall after their 3-27 loss to the Ravens; they received an average ranking of 26.2.
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