Steel City Underground

Baltimore Ravens Rival Report

For weeks, the Baltimore Ravens locker room has been hearing and fielding questions about their offense. On the road against the Oakland Raiders, the Ravens responded by standing in the face of pressure and posting a final score of 30-17. The Ravens move to 3-2 on the season, tied with their AFC North rivals in Pittsburgh (the Steelers own the tiebreaker).

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Flacco: Every win is big

Against the Raiders, the Ravens put together their most effective offensive performance during the 2017 NFL season. Joe Flacco orchestrated five scores on eight drives and things shot off in the right direction early when he found receiver Mike Wallace on the first offensive play for 52 yards.

After seeing themselves shut out in the first half the past two weeks, the Ravens scored 24 points in the first half and then fought off a resurgent Raiders team by allowing Flacco to march the offense 72 yards on 12 plays for a field goal that stalled all momentum for Oakland.

It was Flacco’s best performance of 2017 and though he wasn’t able to find the end zone, he finished the game completing 19-of-26 passes for 222 yards and a 98.6 passer rating. He looked more like the Flacco Ravens fans have come to expect. On top of that, he snapped a ten game interception (thrown) streak.

Every win is big. I think this is more significant because (of) what it does for the mentality and confidence of the football team. – J. Flacco

Flacco entered the game ranked 32nd among NFL quarterbacks in passing yards (601) and No. 31 in quarterback rating (65.0). He carried the league’s longest streak of consecutive games with at least one interception thrown (10 games).

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Collins, Allen step up for injured West

When running back Terrence West fell to the ground after a nice gain in the opening offensive series on Sunday, he was forced out of the game due to a calf injury. Calling on their teammates to rally, Alex Collins and Javorius ‘Buck’ Allen became the two-headed rushing beast in response.

Behind an offensive line that rallied in a big way in Week Five, Collins and Allen combined for 33 carries and 128 rushing yards. Both showed a nice combination of power and speed and Allen’s burst into the end zone finished a drive and gave Baltimore a 21-3 lead in the second quarter.

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Coordinator Dean Pees dials up tough defense

The tough mix of plays that Ravens defensive coordinator Dean Pees threw at the Raiders began on the Ravens’ first defensive snap. All three of his cover corners were in press man coverage and he followed that by sending Lardarius Webb on a blitz from the slot. That play set up a fumble recovery touchdown by Jimmy Smith. And that was just the beginning.

By mixing a stacked box and man coverage throughout the game, dialing up unique blitz packages, the Ravens were able to keep Oakland’s offense guessing the entire game. Tony Jefferson and Eric Weddle combined on a double edge blitz that resulted in E.J. Manuel being dropped to the turf. Anthony Levine and Terrell Suggs got in on the action as well and the overall effect was an inefficient offensive performance from the Raiders and too much pressure for Manuel to handle in his first start since Derek Carr was injured in Week Four.

The Ravens will host the Chicago Bears – who lost to the Minnesota Vikings on Monday Night Football with Mitchell Trubisky as their quarterback – in Week Six. Under John Harbaugh, the Ravens have a perfect 10-0 record against rookie quarterbacks at home. The offensive line could be shorthanded as right guard Matt Skura injured a knee against the Raiders





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