Ravens: The offensive line shined in Week 2 victory over Chiefs

Ravens, Alejandro Villanueva Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
Ravens, Alejandro Villanueva Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports /

The Baltimore Ravens offensive line was one of the biggest reasons the team fell short in their Week 1 matchup against the Las Vegas Raiders.

The unit was a disaster in the team’s season opener as Lamar Jackson was pressured a whopping 54 percent of the time he dropped back. The Raiders totaled three sacks and seven quarterback hits.

Maxx Crosby alone registered a whopping 13 pressures which were by far the most in the NFL that week.

One week later, the Ravens offensive line as a collective unit allowed a total of zero pressures, per Pro Football Focus. From surrendering 13 pressures to one player to not allowing a single pressure to an entire team.

What happened? How did the offensive line flip the script so quickly?

The Ravens offensive line balled out against the Chiefs in Week 2

There’s something to be said about the fact that the Ravens lost two starters, shuffled around three positions, and still played much, much better the following week.

Ronnie Stanley was a mess in Week 1. The All-Pro left tackle evidently wasn’t himself as he allowed nine total pressures against the Raiders. He allowed just 10 total pressures in 15 games in 2019.

His absence actually benefitted the Ravens’ offensive line because it allowed Alejandro Villanueva to move back to his natural left tackle position.

Villanueva was arguably Week 1’s biggest culprit with the longtime Pittsburgh Steelers tackle surrendering 10 total pressures (most in the NFL) and finishing as PFF’s fourth-lowest rated tackle.

That’s what makes it so shocking that he was able to perform as well as he did just six days later.

Playing left tackle, Villanueva was significantly more effective as he allowed no pressures and finished as PFF’s second-highest graded offensive tackle and the Ravens’ highest-graded player.

It was a turnaround for the ages —  one that served as the impetus for Baltimore’s dominance in the trenches.

But it wasn’t just Villanueva that improved.

Alejandro Villanueva wasn’t the only Ravens offensive lineman that improved

Center Bradley Bozeman was the fifth-highest graded Ravens player earning a 76.4 grade that ranked among the best players at his position.

Patrick Mekari took Villanueva’s place at right tackle and exceeded all expectations finishing with a 64.4 PFF grade and an excellent 77.6 pass-blocking grade. He, like the other four starters, allowed no pressures.

Even aside from the pass protection which was much improved, the offensive line’s run blocking can’t be overlooked either.

The Ravens averaged over 6.0 yards per carry. Lamar Jackson topped 100 yards on the ground while Ty’Son Williams added 77 yards on an efficient 5.9 yards per attempt. Even Devonta Freeman rattled off a 31-yard run on his first carry with his new team.

The Ravens offensive line controlled Sunday night’s game. You can point to Jackson, Odafe Oweh, the coaching staff, or whoever else you want.

Next. 5 players who led the Ravens to a thrilling victory in Week 2. dark

The offensive line is why the Ravens won on Sunday. And considering where the unit was positioned a week earlier, that’s nothing short of miraculous.