Positive: The defense and the pass-rushing unit looked stronger than expected
It's been one of the offseason narratives around the Baltimore Ravens facilities. Can this defense, and mostly the pass-rushing unit, hold up and play to the level of the supercharged offense?
Welp, I guess if only for a week we have a (very positive) answer to that question.
Roquan Smith led all Ravens in tackles on Sunday and he also bested the mark put up by the most legendary of Ravens legends in Ray Lewis thanks to tackling 15 foes to Lewis' 14 in three different openings, according to Jamison Hensley of ESPN.
Patrick Queen finished the game with 11 tackles to his name, the third most among Ravens defenders and only topped by Smith and a game-wrecking Brandon Stephens (12) in the secondary.
Smith and Queen both put up at least one sack, one tackle for a loss, and one quarterback hit on top of their tackles.
Justin Madubuike had a hellacious game even though he only got two "official" tackles. He put pressure on the offensive line and quarterback C.J. Stroud in bunches. He eventually got his sack.
David Ojabo, who has been in the spotlight and under heavy criticism all summer long, was impressive and notched another strip-sack in just his third NFL game forcing a fumble recovered by Michael Pierce.
Starting outside linebacker Odafe Oweh couldn't get a sack but he got to Stroud three times for three QB hits while completing three tackles. Veteran Jadeveon Clowney went under the radar in the stat sheet but he was a steady and scary presence on the defensive front.
Even Ar'Darius Washington, who took on the nickel role to defend the slot in the absence of Arthur Maulet (inactive) got himself a sack, the first of his career.
For all of the questioning endured by the defensive line and the second level of the defense, this was a fantastic way to start the season. Let's see if they can keep up against stronger opposition.