The Baltimore Ravens entered Week 4 with questions about their ability to compete against the NFL’s elite. After an embarrassing display against the Kansas City Chiefs, the Ravens remained stung, nursing blisters of defeat.
A 31-17 victory over the hapless Washington Football Team was the salve that Baltimore sorely needed.
(PURPLE AND) BLACK AND BLUE
Figuratively and literally, the Ravens were still hurting.
Any Given Sunday is a fantastic film, but Oliver Stone himself could not direct Washington to a victory in this match-up.
Trading punts in the first two possessions, the big-money play came from the Ravens’ newly-minted $99 million man, CB Marlon Humphrey. On Washington’s second drive, Humphrey delivered a “Peanut Punch” to RB J.D. McKissic, forcing a crucial fumble. Baltimore capitalized with a 33-yard connection between Lamar Jackson and Marquise Brown, leading to a one-yard TD by Mark Ingram.
With sound and fury, Baltimore’s defense sang all the hits; a far cry from last Monday’s performance. In the first half alone, the Ravens allowed only 10 points, tallying two sacks and a takeaway alongside six QB pressures. By the final whistle, Baltimore would allow only 69 rushing yards and held Washington QB Dwayne Haskins scoreless through the air.
Conversely, questions linger for the Ravens’ offense.
Though victorious, much of Baltimore’s success still runs through Lamar Jackson. The ground attack, outside of Jackson, remains toothless. Of the Ravens’ 144 rushing yards, 53 came from Jackson, and no other runner broke 40 yards.
The Ravens will need greater contributions from their running backs, or else the narrative will continue that Baltimore has no offense outside of Lamar Jackson.
Despite this, the reigning league MVP returned to form, delivering a show by air and ground.
Jackson found Mark Andrews twice in the end zone, curing Andrews’ case of the drops. The third-year TE currently leads all players in receiving touchdowns (14) since the beginning of 2019, regardless of position. Speaking of accolades, Jackson added to his highlight reel, rumbling 50 yards for a score — the longest of his career.
Along with the rushing TD, Jackson completed 14-of-21 for 153 yards and two TDs through the air, accompanied by 53 yards on three carries.
Despite his three scores, 206 yards of total offense from the third-year QB is underwhelming by Jackson’s standards, especially compared to his first two games. Though the victory was never in doubt, the Ravens will need more from their entire offense if they have serious Super Bowl aspirations.
NO PLACE LIKE HOME
The first-overall pick of the 2020 draft, Burrow picked up his first career win in Week 3, and will look to keep his Bengals afloat in the competitive AFC North in Week 4.
However, Baltimore has notoriously feasted on young QBs: in 2004, the Ravens threw a notable welcome party for rookie Eli Manning, holding him to only 4-of-18 for 27 yards and two INTs, posting a career-low 0.0 QB rating in a 37-14 massacre.
The Ravens hope to preserve this long-standing tradition, as they continue their defense of their AFC North crown.
(Featured Image Credit: Shawn Hubbard / BaltimoreRavens.com)