Photo Courtesy: USA Today

Studs and Duds From the Ravens’ Week 1 Win

September 09, 2018 - 9:38 pm
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By Joe Schiller

The Baltimore Ravens steamrolled their way to a season-opening victory over the Buffalo Bills 47-3 on Sunday afternoon. There wasn’t much to fault on either side of the ball as John Harbaugh’s squad decimated a struggling Buffalo Bills team.

Following each week in the regular season, I will highlight the studs and duds for the Ravens. There will be no specific amount on either side and will depend on the result.

And because of the blowout win in Week 1, there are plenty more positives to highlight.

 

Studs

Joe Flacco

Any lingering questions about Joe Flacco’s ability as the Ravens’ starting quarterback were answered today. Flacco shined under center in soggy conditions, throwing for 236 yards and three touchdowns. More importantly, he avoided any costly turnovers – interceptions or fumbles – and looked sharp through the air.

Flacco’s performance was more than just the stat line but the throws he made. The touch on Michael Crabtree’s touchdown reception in the second quarter was something very few quarterbacks can do. Flacco’s passes had zip and he showed no hesitation moving around in the pocket when necessary.


Michael Crabtree/John Brown/Willie Snead

Each of the three new free agent additions caught touchdowns in their debuts, a promising sign for a passing attack which was virtually non-existent last season. The group has clearly built a strong rapport with Flacco and that’s already shown in just one game. Coming off a strong offseason, John Brown may prove to be a steal on just a one-year, $5 million contract.

Ozzie Newsome and the front office saw a need, went out and addressed it in the offseason. The trio of Crabtree, Brown, and Snead had many much more excited than Mike Wallace, Jeremy Maclin, and Michael Campanaro and this is exactly why.


Tavon Young

It’s not often the secondary is heavily involved in pressuring the quarterback – especially a cornerback that’s just 5-foot-11 – but Tavon Young made his presence felt in the backfield, racking up two sacks on Nathan Peterman. In his first regular-season action since tearing his ACL last offseason, Young was a standout performer among many on the defense and added three tackles to his stat line.

The nickel cornerback position becomes more common and crucial among NFL defenses, Young has excelled and has picked up where he left off from an impressive rookie season in 2016.

 

Marlon Humphrey

From a nickel cornerback to an outside cornerback, Marlon Humphrey continues to develop into a No. 1 option for the Ravens. The Bills’ receiving options were limited coming into Sunday but Humphrey was part of a secondary unit that allowed just 70 yards through the air.

Tasked with a tough matchup against a big-bodied receiver in Kelvin Benjamin, the 6-foot Humphrey made a string of impressive pass-breakups. And while it hurts missing Jimmy Smith, the Ravens can feel more comfortable knowing they potentially have a star cornerback in the making.

 

Duds

Alex Collins

Coming off a breakout season, facing a defense that struggled against the run and in ideal conditions for ground-and-pound football, Alex Collins was expected to have a big day. But despite an 8-yard touchdown, he finished with just 13 total yards on the day and struggled to develop a rhythm out of the backfield.

While Collins doesn’t fully absorb all of the blame and his performance isn’t something to overreact about, the Ravens have made it clear they are a team that wants to run the football. This team is at its best with a balanced attack and it’ll be Collins that'll have to play catch up.