Photo Courtesy: USA Today

Studs and Duds From the Ravens’ Week 7 Loss to the Saints

October 22, 2018 - 12:04 pm
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By Joe Schiller

Studs

Joe Flacco

Flacco quietly had a fantastic game under center. He finished 23-of-39 for 279 yards and two touchdowns. The final drive, capped off by a 14-yard touchdown pass to John Brown, was impressive to watch and should’ve sent the Ravens into overtime, to no fault of Flacco.

Facing a future Hall of Famer in Drew Brees, Flacco stepped up and outperformed him at times. As we’ve seen this season, the improved receiving core has made a major impact in Flacco’s overall performance.

John Brown

After staying quiet for two straight games, John Brown caught seven passes for 134 yards and a touchdown against the Saints. The secondary was an area the Ravens hoped to exploit and Brown did that. His 56-yard catch in the second quarter led to Lamar Jackson’s touchdown. And as mentioned, the touchdown catch on the final drive should’ve forced overtime.

Brown is earning his paycheck and more after signing a one-year, $5 million contract this past Boffseason. His 19.1 average yards per catch on Sunday is a large reason why the passing offense has improved.


C.J. Mosley

No defender was more active in this matchup than C.J. Mosley. He led both teams with 16 total tackles and 11 came on solo efforts.

Matching up against the Saints’ defense was never going to be an easy feat. Mosley was part of a large effort that limited Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram to 96 combined rushing yards. The Ravens controlled this game defensively through three quarters and that should be recognized even despite the loss.


Orlando Brown Jr.

The Ravens were short-handed on the offensive line without Alex Lewis and James Hurst but the make-shift unit was impressive. Orlando Brown made his starting debut at right tackle and helped limit the Saints’ pass rush to just one sack on Flacco.

If Lewis’ injury is multi-week, Brown could see continued starting time. Given his size and strength, that should provide confidence for the coaching staff. James Hurst could slot in at left guard and Brown at right tackle.


Duds

Justin Tucker

There’s no escaping it. Tucker’s missed extra point, the first of his NFL career, cost the Ravens a chance for overtime and eventually a win. On a windy night, Tucker’s kick sailed right and he took full responsibility for it.

To be clear, while Tucker is the easy one to blame, he alone wasn’t the sole reason the Ravens lost this game. He just happens to be at the forefront given the circumstances. A miss was eventually going to happen and this one mistake doesn’t take him out of the conversation among the best kickers in the NFL.

Jimmy Smith

Marlon Humphrey’s absence was felt. Michael Thomas could only be contained for so long and when he did his damage, Jimmy Smith was on the losing end. Smith looked slow in coverage, drew multiple costly penalties throughout the game and whiffed on a key sack against Brees. 

The Saints exploited the mismatch and it was a frustrating game for the veteran corner. Given his age and injury history, Smith just doesn’t have the same step covering No. 1 receivers anymore.

Willie Snead

I thought Willie Snead would provide a breakout performance against his former team but it was the opposite. He finished with just three catches for 23 yards on seven targets, dropping multiple passes in the process.

The sure-handed Snead saw volume and couldn’t produce. Brown and Crabtree controlled the bulk of the receiving yards but a reliable security blanket was anything but yesterday.

Hayden Hurst

In his third game since returning from foot surgery, Hayden Hurst has been a surprise non-factor to this point. He failed to record a catch on two targets and dropped a catchable ball late in the game.

Hurst’s counterpart – Mark Andrews – has made the most impact at the position this season. And after spending a first-round pick on Hurst, the Ravens have yet to reap the benefits.