Welcome to Overreaction Of The Week, my over the top, uninhibited, Baltimore sports-fan takes on this week’s Orioles activity.
On Monday Night Football, the Ravens defeated Indy 20-19 by virtue of a stop on a two-point conversion. The Ravens starters got a little more burn than in the previous game against the Rams, and they had their success. Though the Ravens have plenty of good film, there is certainly a lot to build on in the dress rehearsal that is preseason Game 3. Let’s take a look at the good, the bad, and the ugly.
The Good: Once again, Joe Flacco looked in complete command of the offense. My favorite was a throw he dropped into Michael Crabtree on the sideline in the soft spot of the defense. His touchdown throw to John Brown was the result of his recognition of a mismatch and good ball placement, just out of reach of the defender. The Ravens outside pass rush was also good, Terrell Suggs notched a sack on Andrew Luck and Tim Williams was a force once again. Williams also popped up in run support, which was one of the main knocks on him in the draft. If he can develop in that aspect, he’ll be a bigger piece for the Ravens than first thought. Making his preseason debut, I think Kenneth Dixon did what he had to do to re-establish himself in the Ravens backfield. He ran hard, averaging over 5 yards per carry, and caught three balls for 24 yards. He impacted the game in multiple ways and flashed the reasons why the Ravens were so excited about him coming out of the draft. Rookie corner Anthony Averett had an incredible goal line sequence in which he made a tackle against the run, broke up a pass, and stayed in perfect position on a fade route. We haven’t heard the most about Averett amongst the other corners, but he can be a valuable depth piece as the season progresses.
The Bad: Maybe the biggest news for the Ravens during the game was the loss of left tackle, Ronnie Stanley. He got rolled up on and left the game immediately, under his own power. Coach Harbaugh announced it’s just a sprain, so it looks like the Ravens avoided a disaster, but hopefully Stanley will be ready to step back in by Week 1. News of Jimmy Smith‘s suspension also caught some steam during the game, he was excused from the game for a personal matter, and it was just announced that he’ll be suspended for 4 games. Though the Ravens have a ton of depth at corner, losing a player of his caliber is a tough task to overcome. Lamar Jackson had another up and down performance backing up Joe Flacco. He started off very, very slow, but gained some steam in the two minute drill in the first half. The rookie threw a nice touchdown on a rollout to Chris Moore, but clearly has a long way to go. Maybe the worst part of the game last night, was Andrew Luck’s hat. It didn’t fit him right, had a bunch of folds, and made him look like a major dweeb.
I honestly can’t get over this thing, how did all those folds happen pic.twitter.com/YPyWxz2Pu8
— Tejus K (@itssocontejus) August 21, 2018
The Ugly: Special Teams Coordinator Jerry Rosburg cannot be happy with what his unit displayed Monday Night. All in all, the Ravens Special Teams lost two fumbles, missed a field goal (albeit a 59 yarder), and had a punt blocked. Usually a strength of the Ravens, the Special Teams were by far the worst unit on the field. Though they did force a turnover of their own and cover a few Sam Koch punts well, the Ravens need more out of this unit. Janarion Grant seemed to show more than Tim White in the return game, but lost a fumble too. If neither player can step up in this position battle, look for Rosburg to turn to Willie Snead, maybe Kenneth Dixon, or a camp casualty from another team to handle return duties.
The Ravens got after an Indianapolis team without T.Y. Hilton and with an obviously rusty Andrew Luck. The defense was more than up to the challenge, the starters did not allow any points. Suggs and company look like they’re ready to go for Week 1, the next game will just be for conditioning. Flacco continues to impress and show good rapport with his new weapons, he’s looking as sharp as he ever has in the preseason. I’ll keep my fingers crossed in regards to Ronnie Stanley and Jimmy Smith, but otherwise, Week 1 can’t get here soon enough for this team.