The Baltimore Ravens pounded the Miami Dolphins on Thursday night football in an extremely dominant 40-0 win. The defense absolutely destroyed Miami’s offense and pitched their second shutout of the season. How good is this Ravens defense actually?
The headlines surrounding the Ravens after the first two weeks of the season was how dominant their defense was. They forced 5 turnovers in each of their first two games and only allowed 10 points. Things fell off big time after that though. They were blown out by the Jaguars and let the Steelers, Bears, and Vikings all have their way running the ball. People were beginning to think this defense was all hype, but then they flashed how great they can be again.
The Ravens defense held Jay Ajayi to 23 yards, 21 of which came on his first run of the game; meaning the Ravens held him to only 2 yards on his remaining 12 carries. As well as containing Jarvis Landry and Kenny Stills all night, the defense had two interceptions returned for touchdowns and 3 sacks on Matt Moore, while holding him to under 200 yards passing. The most important stat of all though is the big fat zero next to the Dolphins on the scoreboard. This was the Ravens second shutout through 8 games this season (the first being against the Bengals in week 1).
Which version of this defense is the real one?
I had to eat my own words after proclaiming the Ravens had the best defense in the NFL after week 2. They have still been solid, but definitely not the best (or even top 5 for that matter). This win against Miami has me believing in them again though. The same dominance we saw in the first two games was back on full display against the Dolphins. Now, I know, the Dolphins have had an abysmal offense, but that doesn’t take away from the Ravens’ performance.
Two shutouts and three dominant defensive performances through 8 games aren’t too shabby. Consistency is what this defense (or the whole team for that matter) has lacked. The run defense took a huge hit after Brandon Williams went down with an injury, causing him to miss several games, and fellow starting lineman Brent Urban was lost for the season. That was two of the teams three starting defensive linemen gone, and the defense suffered for it. The Ravens finally have Williams back though and helped to keep the Dolphins under 50 total rushing yards.
If the Ravens can contain the run, with the talent they have in the secondary, there is no reason they cannot dominate like this consistently. Jimmy Smith is playing like a top 3 corner in the league, Terrell Suggs is doing his thing, and C.J. Mosely continues to prove he is one of the best young defensive players in the NFL. If safeties Eric Weddle and Tony Jefferson continue to play like they did against the Dolphins (how they were hyped up), and Brandon Carr continues his high level of play, then this is one of the best defenses in the NFL.
The offense plays a role in the defense’s performance as well.
A big reason for the defense falling off could be the fact the Ravens offense has been straight up bad. Constant three and outs by a team’s offense will make any defense tired, and eventually, they will break. The offense must sustain drives to give the defense rest. The defense must also do their part in forcing more three and outs against opponents as well though. Consistency and both sides of the ball contributing is key to this defense living up to its high potential.