Ravens OLB Tyus Bowser continues to prove his unmatched value

Tyus Bowser, Ravens. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
Tyus Bowser, Ravens. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images) /

The Baltimore Ravens may not have won the lottery with linebacker Tyus Bowser, but they’ve still earned a decent sum of prize money.

The fifth-year linebacker has been doing it all in the Ravens’ outside linebacker unit with an especially impressive performance in Week 12 against the Cleveland Browns, playing so well that John Harbaugh gave him the game ball.

The Ravens offense didn’t do much to deserve the ball whereas Bowser made his presence felt everywhere on the field.

Not many outside linebackers can set the edge effectively and drop back to cover opposing teams’ wide receivers or tight ends. But in Week 12, Bowser shut down tight ends Austin Hooper and David Njoku all game, closing out the fourth quarter with a perfectly timed tackle in coverage.

The week prior against the Chicago Bears, Bowser also closed out the game with a sack on Andy Dalton.

Bowser’s defensive snaps have been steadily rising throughout his tenure in Baltimore, from playing 15 percent of snaps in 2017 to 71 percent of snaps in 2021.

Outside linebacker Tyus Bowser is the versatile core of this Ravens defense

In Week 12 against Cleveland, Bowser played a career-high 95 percent of defensive snaps, which is almost unheard of (one would expect safeties and cornerbacks to record those numbers, not outside linebackers).

In hindsight, the Ravens’ decision to let Matt Judon and Yannick Ngakoue walk in free agency turned out to be less catastrophic than most believed — largely because of Bowser’s rise to the top of the linebacker unit.

Baltimore saved a huge chunk of money by re-signing Bowser, who may not have the elite pass-rushing abilities of Judon or Ngakoue but contributes to the defense in a plethora of other ways.

Wink Martindale’s defensive schemes ask a lot out of outside linebackers, but Bowser has served as the ultimate Swiss-Army knife, the jack of all trades who leads the team with 5.5 sacks but also has a 39 combined tackles.

Currently, Bowser ties veteran Justin Houston for the third-highest PFF grade on the roster through 11 games (78.3), trailing Mark Andrews and Calais Campbell.

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If there’s anything Bowser can’t do, we haven’t seen it yet. He’s well on his way to his first-ever Pro Bowl nod this season.