Ravens

Ravens vs. Rams: Key Takeways, Stock Watch & MVP

The Ravens earned their second victory of the preseason Thursday night, defeating the Los Angeles Rams in the first home game of the season.

Baltimore jumped out to a 17-0 lead after the first quarter and never let up, controlling the tempo on both sides of the ball.

The Ravens outplayed the Rams in almost every offensive category, holding a significant advantage in total yardage, passing yards, first downs and time of possession. Any chance of a Rams comeback was thwarted by two costly turnovers; an interception just before halftime and a fumble early in the third quarter.

Los Angeles played very few starters during the game, but it was an impressive all-around performance by the Ravens nonetheless. Baltimore has now won their last ten preseason games.

Here are some key takeaways:

First-Team Offense and Defense Look Sharp

The Ravens starting units on both sides of the field put forth impressive performances Thursday night.

Joe Flacco played just one drive, but made his mark early on. Surrounded by an almost entirely new group of weapons, Flacco orchestrated a ten-play, 70 yard touchdown drive.

Michael Crabtree already appears to be a welcome addition in Baltimore. After dropping a pass earlier in the drive, he eluded his defender and connected with Flacco for a 30-yard conversion on third down.

Crabtree figures to be Flacco’s top target this season, and it is definitely encouraging to see the two in-sync early on. Fellow newcomers Hayden Hurst and John Brown also caught passes on the drive.

Flacco certainly appeared to be in mid-season form. He threw for 71 yards and a touchdown on 5-7 passing, including a whopping 143.5 quarterback rating. Alex Collins ran the ball just two times, but gained 26 yards and looked decisive.

The opening drive was capped off with a six-yard touchdown pass to fullback Patrick Ricard, who did his best impression of the “Gronk Spike”.

The Ravens defense did not miss a beat, either. Baltimore had four sacks, four tackles for losses and six defended passes defended on the night. Until late in the second half, when they finally got on the board, the Rams had essentially no answers on offense.

Starting linebackers Terrell Suggs and Matthew Judon each had sacks, as did seventh-round pick Zach Sieler. Maurice Canady, who John Harbaugh considers a starting-caliber cornerback, had an impressive interception in the second quarter.

Tim Williams was another name who stood out. The defensive end/outside linebacker looks to be on the roster bubble after a quiet rookie season, but you could not tell by his performance Thursday night.

He had five tackles, a sack and forced a fumble after a crushing hit on Rams QB Brandon Allen.

Robert Griffin III Performs Again

“RGIII” had a second consecutive impressive performance. After taking over at quarterback in the third quarter, Griffin played the rest of the game and made his mark.

He capped off a seven-play, 72 yard drive in the fourth quarter by connecting with Breshad Perriman for a 32-yard touchdown pass.

Griffin threw for 88 yards on 5-7 passing, with a touchdown and 153.3 quarterback rating. It is obviously a small sample size, but Griffin has looked better than many expected after two preseason games.

If he can continue his strong play, it only strengthens the talent and depth at the quarterback position. The Ravens could very well opt to keep three quarterbacks on the roster this season.

Lamar Jackson Encouraging Signs

After a shaky NFL debut, Lamar Jackson looked much more polished in his second game.

Jackson spelled Joe Flacco early on and continued to play until midway through the third quarter. In his lone series with the starting offense, Jackson orchestrated a five-play, 73 yard touchdown drive. In what was his most impressive throw of the preseason thus far, Jackson connected with Chris Moore for a beautiful 36 yard reception.

It’s no secret that Lamar Jackson can run, too. His athleticism and elusiveness made him the most electrifying player in college, and we saw a glimpse of that same player Thursday night. Jackson escaped the pocket and shifted multiple defenders for a nine-yard touchdown run.

Jackson was not perfect by any means, and his accuracy remains a work-in-progress. For the second consecutive game, Jackson failed to complete 50% of his passes.

However, dropped passes from Jordan Lasley and Gus Edwards were not his fault. Neither was the lack of protection he received from the second-string offensive line for much of the game. On the night, Jackson threw for 119 yards on 7-18 passing.

Ravens fans should be encouraged by Jackson’s performance Thursday night. He improved upon his debut performance and showed significant strides. Look for much of the same in the three remaining preseason games.

Stock Up

Chris Moore – Moore’s contested catch was one of the highlights of the night. He started to come on towards the end of last season, and is all but locked into the number four spot on the depth chart.

Breshad Perriman – Perriman reminded fans he actually exists late in the second half, catching 3 passes for 71 yards and a touchdown. Hopefully we see more of this in the remaining preseason games.

Gus Edwards – The undrafted running back out of Rutgers was effective for a second consecutive game, rushing for 58 yards on 12 attempts. He continues to improve his chances of making the roster.

Tim Williams – As noted above, Williams was a standout performer Thursday night. Williams was disruptive on defense, and has serious potential as a pass-rusher.

Stock Down

Jordan Lasley – The UCLA product failed to make an impact, recording zero catches and notably dropping a well-thrown pass from Lamar Jackson.

Jaleel Scott – Scott caught just one pass for nine yards, despite being targeted three times. Like Lasley, Scott needs to produce more to stand out among the other bubble receivers on the roster.

Kamalei Correa – Correa failed to build upon last week’s impressive showing, recording just one tackle while other linebackers on the roster stood out.

MVP

It was certainly a team effort from the Ravens Thursday night. There were many standout performers on both sides of the ball, and it is hard to pinpoint any one player who deserves game MVP honors. This dancing fan, however, captivated the entire stadium and had everyone glued to the screen. Shout out to him for a huge performance.

What’s Next?

The Ravens travel to Indianpolis to play the Colts on Monday, August 20 at 8:00 PM.

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