2018 Baltimore Ravens: The good, the bad and the ugly

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Baltimore Ravens

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND – DECEMBER 30: Tight End Mark Andrews #89 of the Baltimore Ravens reacts after a play in the first quarter against the Cleveland Browns at M&T Bank Stadium on December 30, 2018 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

The Baltimore Ravens went 10-6 and won the AFC North. It’s time to look at the good, the bad and the ugly:

The Baltimore Ravens started the season about as good as they could. If not for a symbolic field goal from Sean McDermott’s Buffalo Bills, the Ravens would have had a 47-0 season opening win. The Ravens got off to a 3-1 start. The crown jewel moment of the first quarter of the season was the Ravens 26-14 win in Pittsburgh. Week four saw the Ravens dominate the Steelers, in what was one of the most refreshing victories in recent years. Baltimore would eventually slip into a chaotic 4-5 record, but their will was strong this season. The Ravens came out of their bye week and went on a 6-1 streak to end the regular season with a division championship.

The Ravens winning their division is a big deal. The previous two seasons netted the Ravens with the 16th pick in the NFL Draft. They literally spent 2016-2017 being in the same exact spot. This year the Ravens earned a playoff berth. The Ravens didn’t win a Super Bowl, but this season was a successful one. The 6-1 stretch the Ravens had was a result of Lamar Jackson replacing Joe Flacco as the starting quarterback. Jackson showed a lot of promise towards the future, before having a brutal day in Baltimore’s playoff game.

The Ravens went from 4-5, to 10-6. Say what ever you want about the disappointment in the Wild Card game, Jackson and company made it a fun ride. Baltimore changed their entire offensive attack. Gus Edwards and Kenneth Dixon had a strong showing in that 6-1 stretch. Jackson totaled 1,201 passing yards and six touchdowns through the air to go with 695 rushing yards and five touchdowns on the ground. Edwards averaged 5.2 yards per carry and had over 700 yards. Dixon, who came into the mix late, averaged 5.6 yards per carry and got over 300 yards.

The purple and black had the number one defense in the league this year. They finished the year second in points allowed per game. Baltimore got more out of their defense than last season, with essentially the same players. Don Martindale did such a good job, that his name has generated some head coaching candidate buzz. Za’Darius Smith led the Ravens with 8.5 sacks. Terrell Suggs and Matt Judon both had seven of their own. Marlon Humphrey had a season as an elite cornerback and Michael Pierce was a forced to be reckoned with. When the season was on the line, C.J. Mosley came away with the season saving interception. You can’t talk about the good in this season without crediting the defense for an incredible season.

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