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Baltimore Ravens Week 1 Recap


(Image Credit: Mark J. Rebilas/ USA Today Sport)


By: Connor Pelesh

Twitter: @cpelesh29


The Baltimore Ravens opened up their 2021 regular season on the road in Vegas vs the Raiders with an overtime loss. This game was a rollercoaster of emotions for over 3 hours. The Ravens held a lead of 14-0 in the second quarter then saw it dissipate into a back and forth affair until they eventually crumbled in OT. The Ravens lost 33-27 in overtime and now look to rebound vs the Chiefs on Sunday Night Football. Below I will give a quick game summary followed by an analysis of each position group on the Ravens.


Game Summary


This game had everything you would want to see as a fan of football looking for a great game. The Ravens, after being ravaged by injuries losing JK Dobbins, Gus Edwards, and Marcus Peters in the last two weeks, had a lot of new and inexperienced players seeing significant game action. The Raiders relied heavily on Darren Waller and their great pass rush to beat the Ravens in a now-classic Monday Night Football overtime thriller. The game seemed lost for the Ravens after Bryan Edwards for the Raiders stretched the ball over the endzone, but after further review, he was short of the pylon. The Ravens held the Raiders twice on the one-yard line then got an interception in the endzone to give the ball back to the offense with a chance to win the game. The Ravens offensive line completely broke down like it had most of the game and Lamar was stripped of the ball giving it right back to Vegas. The Raiders took a deep shot to WR Zay Jones on a cover zero blitz from the Ravens and the game was over for good on a walk-off touchdown.


OFFENSE:


Quarterback

Given the situation that Lamar Jackson was in with an entirely new running back core and only WRs Marquise Brown and Sammy Watkins making plays, he played very well. He threw the ball with accuracy and had good decision-making. He had two bad passes in the game that he needs to clean up constituency-wise, but I will take a few missed balls for his running ability any day. He had two fumbles which were costly, however, the second one in OT was completely on the offensive line giving him not even a second to maneuver in the pocket. Jackson puts a lot of pressure on himself and feels as if this game was lost because of him, but that could not be further from the truth.


Running Backs

Ty’Son Williams certainly had a great first-quarter debut on a national stage with a long touchdown run on 4th and 1. Latavious Murray had a rushing touchdown of his own and looked better as the game went on. However, it was evident that the Ravens were missing the play of Dobbins and Edwards. Issues exchanging the ball between Jackson and the running backs stunted drives at times. Towards the end of the game, the Ravens could not lean on their running game as they did in past years and it might have cost them the win. The play of the running back core should get better as the weeks go on, but the play of the offensive line will also open some more space to run.


Tight Ends

Not too much to speak of with this group. Mark Andrews was invisible most of the night and dropped a pass in overtime. Nick Boyle didn’t play because he is on short-term IR.


Offensive Line

This unit in my opinion had the worst showing in the game. Lamar was pressured 53% of plays compared to Carr’s 22%. Jackson had little time to throw because Maxx Crosby and Carl Nassib were after him all night and disrupted the whole offense. Ronnie Stanley struggled for his standards coming off a season-ending injury last year and gave up a decent amount of pressure. Tyre Phillips got hurt early and is out for the season. The real issue of the night was the tackles were being outmatched, especially RT Alejandro Villanueva. He was making his Ravens debut after playing for the Steelers. He was beaten constantly by Maxx Crosby and Carl Nassib all night. He also allowed Nassib to rush unblocked and hit Lamar in overtime causing the game-losing fumble. This unit has to improve or it will be a tough season for the Ravens and Lamar’s safety will be in jeopardy to finish out the entire season healthy. Shout out to Bradley Bozeman who had great snaps all night (a big issue last year for the team)!


DEFENSE:


Defensive Line

The Ravens were missing Derrick Wolfe this game, but Calais Campbell played great and Brandon Williams had solid as always run defense. They held Josh Jacobs in check most of the night although he had two touchdown runs. They provided decent interior pressure but definitely have work to improve as the season progresses. Justin Madubike is an intriguing player who will be a dominant force in the coming weeks.


Edge

Solid outing from the edge rushers of the Ravens. First-round draft pick, Odafe Oweh, had his first career NFL sack after having none last year in college. He showed great power and speed to force pressure on the quarterback all night. Tyus Bowser and Justin Houston had solid nights as well.


Linebackers

This game was a good showing for Patrick Queen as well as Malik Harrison. Queen had 6 tackles along with 3 assists and a sack. He looked fast and recognized plays much better than last year. Malik Harrison had some big hits and tackled well. Like all other units, there is room for improvement and this young duo will continue to grow throughout the year.


Cornerback

With the loss of Marcus Peters for the season and Jimmy Smith missing this game, the Ravens only had one experienced cornerback in the game (Marlon Humphrey) and it showed. Anthony Averett and Chris Westry saw their first extensive game action in the NFL and it certainly had its highs and lows. Some plays would be great and tight coverage was applied to the Vegas receivers, and other times their inexperience would show. It’s going to be difficult to make up for the loss of Peters this season, however as the weeks go on I expect the play to elevate from the secondary. This game was not a good performance for the secondary as a whole, especially with Darren Waller having as many targets as he did.


Safety

Chuck Clark and DeShon Elliott played very well in my opinion. Clark especially was good in coverage, but I feel as if the defensive game plan let the defense as a whole down. DeShon Elliott had his share of great plays but also had two costly missed tackles. Overall, I was pleased with the performance of the safeties and hope they are up to the task vs the Chiefs next week.


Special Teams

Justin Tucker’s performance was unfortunately outshined by the Vegas kicker, but he picked up right where he left off as the greatest kicker in the game. He was a perfect 2/2 on field goals and made all his extra points. Another note was the new long snapper from the Ravens played well and the unit looked coherent.


Next Week:

The Ravens come back home to Baltimore to play their home opener on Sunday Night Football vs the Kansas City Chiefs. This will be a big task for the defense to hold Mahomes and the explosive offense of the Chiefs. Lamar Jackson has never beaten Mahomes in his career (0-3) so we will see if the fourth time's the charm.



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