Ravens vs. Panthers: The good, mainly bad and ugly for Baltimore
Another week, another recap from the Baltimore Ravens game. This week’s loss gives us plenty to discuss and analyze as the team starts to move forward.
In a disappointing loss to the Carolina Panthers, there were few if any bright spots from the game as a whole. One of those lone bright spots was rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson. Whether it was as a runner or as a passer, Jackson impressed.
Jackson ended his day going four-of-five passing for 46-yards and his first career NFL passing touchdown. Jackson was also used throughout the game as a runner, tallying 26-yards on three carries. What stood out the most about Jackson’s day, however, was that he got to finish the Ravens final drive as the starting quarterback with Joe Flacco on the sidelines. On the drive, Jackson looked poised and confident. Maybe we’re reading into all this too soon, but is there a quarterback controversy in Baltimore?
On the topic of quarterbacks, Flacco had his worst performance of the 2018 season on Sunday against the Panthers. Flacco went 22/39 for 192 with one touchdown to two interceptions. The first of Flacco’s interceptions was completely avoidable. It was so bad, in fact, that it has many, including myself, wondering if he’s ever thrown a worse interception in his entire career.
By this point in the season, we all know that the Ravens run game is pathetic. Whether it’s fair or not, that means it falls upon Flacco’s shoulder more than anyone else to guide the offense. He did not do that on Sunday, as the offense consistently stalled out and left opportunities on the board. If the Ravens want to get back to winning, they’ll need their starting quarterback to figure it out.
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Alex Collins barely avoids the “ugly” portion of this article because of his touchdown. However, Collins’ box score is exactly why you can’t rely on a stat sheet to tell you the whole story. Funny enough, Collins did a solid job getting chunk yardage and his 4.5 YPC are evidence of this. But, Collins’ YPC is far from the story-line he gave us today.
No, Collins lost his third fumble of the season and has lost the faith and support the fans gave him prior to the season. If not for a barren running back depth chart, Collins wouldn’t be sniffing any kind of starting touches. With the way Collins is playing, he may not even be on the team’s 2019 roster come the start of the year. Collins needs to get it going in a hurry or he’ll be out of Charm City sooner than he’d hope.
Left-interior offensive line:
Thank God for Marshal Yanda. If not for him, the interior of the Ravens offensive line would be among the worst in the entire league. While Yanda is a saving grace for the right interior offensive line, he can’t fix the left side. Sure, the left side has been decimated with injuries, but that’s only an excuse for so long.
There comes a point in time where you need guys to step up, and no one is doing that for Baltimore. Alex Lewis, James Hurst, Bradley Bozeman and others have all failed to be effective even when on the field. The interior of the offensive is near the top of 2019 draft needs for Baltimore.
C.J. Mosley and Jimmy Smith:
Of all the names on defense I never imagined would become the biggest liabilities, it was C.J. Mosley and Jimmy Smith. Yes, both have been banged up all year but they’re both looked upon as leaders of the defense. Instead, they’re both complete handicaps on what should be a dominant defense.
Mosley hasn’t looked right all season, but now he’s become a huge weakness in pass coverage and tight ends are routinely shredding the Ravens defense. Smith has been back for the last four weeks and looks sluggish and washed up. It’s a damn shame, because these two were supposed to be pillars of strength.
Now that we’re done taking licks at Mosley and Smith, it’s time we call out the defensive unit entirely. What happened to the defense that notched 11 sacks and shutout the Tennessee Titans? Since then, the Ravens have one sack and have allowed 60 points over the last two weeks. Not ideal for a defense that was supposed to be the league’s best.
Every time Baltimore needs the defense to stand tall, it seems like they just wilt over. It’s become an ongoing trend for the Ravens over the last few years, and until that changes Baltimore should continue to expect mediocrity and get comfortable on the couch in January. The way the Ravens have been playing is anything but inspiring and fans are starting to get pessimistic about the remainder of the 2018 season.