What a week it was to be a Baltimore Ravens fan. Sunday’s win over the Kansas City Chiefs could prove to be a pivotal moment for the franchise and for this season.
Not only did the team vanquish its biggest kryptonite, but its performance also provided a glimpse at answers to some of the biggest questions surrounding the roster.
One of the biggest questions that needed answering was along the offensive line. On Sunday night the offensive line had one of the standout performances, and arguably the biggest factor in the Ravens’ huge victory.
A particular question which needed answering was the left guard spot, vacated by Tyre Phillips’ injury against the Las Vegas Raiders. After filling in for Phillips last week, Ben Powers started the game at left guard, but rotated with draft favorite Ben Cleveland as the game progressed.
The rotation worked as both players performed well — well enough for John Harbaugh to signal this rotation might be used going forward.
Powers, a fourth-round pick in 2019, has played in 19 career games, starting seven games last year and then this Sunday’s game against the Chiefs.
Cleveland, meanwhile, was a third-round pick in this year’s draft, and was immediately somewhat of a favorite to be a big contributor this year.
Ben Powers and Ben Cleveland both shined in the Ravens’ Sunday night win
On Sunday the duo both saw meaningful playing time, with Powers seeing the larger share of snaps, 44, and earning the start, while Cleveland saw 32 snaps. Interestingly, though, the vast majority of Cleveland’s snaps came after Anthony Averett intercepted Patrick Mahomes.
Cleveland was turned to for both scoring drives, before making way for the final drive of the game. He was on the field largely when the Ravens were running the ball more, while Powers’ split was far more even.
Given Cleveland’s profile coming out of college, being a big, physical mauler, that could maybe be expected. Though transitioning back to Powers for the final drive does confuse any guessing as to the method behind the rotation.
Heading into Week 3 it will be telling to see which of the two receives more work in practice, and how any rotation looks as the two continue to work.
The Ravens were excited to draft Cleveland, so him being on the field for the most critical drives of the game is not likely a coincidence. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Harbaugh transition to him as he gains more experience.
Either way, based on Sunday’s performance, the Ravens can feel confident no matter who occupies left guard.