Top 5 Takeaways From Ravens’ Brutal Week 2 Loss to Dolphins

Ravens CB Marcus Peters

Getty Ravens CB Marcus Peters gets beat deep for a touchdown in a regular season game on September 18, 2022.

After a dominant performance in their season opener, the Baltimore Ravens defense was anything but in the fourth quarter of their Week 2 home opener as they fell to the Miami Dolphins 42-38. They were in control for the first three-quarters of the game but squandered an elite performance from their electrifying quarterback, Lamar Jackson, in the final 15 minutes.

According to an ESPN Stats & Info statistic tweeted by ESPN’s Jamison Hensley, the loss marked the first time in 12 years that a team lost a game in which they led by 21 or more points in the fourth quarter.


1. Blown Coverages Led to Blown Lead

At the end of the third quarter, the Ravens were up 35-14 and had momentum on their side. But blown coverages cost the Ravens as the Dolphins scored four touchdowns. Miami didn’t have to punt a single time during the fourth quarter.

Baltimore’s secondary entered the game banged up, with cornerback Kyle Fuller out for the season with a torn ACL. The Ravens were forced to rely on three rookies to play larger roles, and it was a mixed bag of results, to say the least. Safety Kyle Hamilton and  corners Jayln Armour-Davis and Damarion “Pepe” Williams made impressive hits, tackles and plays in coverage in the first 45 minutes but struggled mightily when the team needed them most.

No blown coverages were more back-breaking than the 48- and 60-yard touchdown passes from quarterback Tua Tagovailoa to wideout Tyreek Hill. On the 60-yard play, no Raven was within 20 yards of Hill when he strolled into the end zone to time the game at 35.

The secondary also failed to contained Jaylen Waddle, who had 11 catches for 171 yards and two touchdowns.


2. Run Game Continues to Be Anemic

Outside of Jackson, the Ravens’ rushing attack is nonexistent. While Jackson contributed 119 yards and a touchdown, five others runners were busy getting stuff at the line of scrimmage and in the backfield and failing to convert in short-yardage situations. They combined for 16 carries for 36 yards. The Ravens continue to miss J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards.

On their second drive of the game, the Ravens marched 72 yards on 21 plays in 10:52 but then failed to punch the ball across the goal line in four tries, including three straight tries from the 1-yard line.

Baltimore’s most successful short-yardage plays were a direct snap to tight end Mark Andrews that went for three yards and a handoff to fullback Patrick Ricard on a dive play that went for five yards. Both plays came on the aforementioned long drive and neither player would have another rushing attempt.

 

A creatively obvious answer to their short-yardage woes at least for the time being could be handing the ball off to rookie offensive tackle Daniel Faalele. They drafted the 6-foot-8 and 380-pound former rugby player from Austrailia in the fourth round of this year’s draft out of Minnesota and he was quite the effective battering ram near the goal line in college for the Golden Gophers.

He was active for the first time in Sunday but only saw the field as an extra blocker although he declared as an eligible receiver each time he checked into the game so maybe a pop pass or late leak out on play action target is in his near future.

Veteran blocking tight end Nick Boyle was inactive for the second straight week despite practicing fully in the two days he did take the practice field. The Ravens run game was at its best prior to his major knee injury when he was a key cog in the blocking scheme with the way he helped consistently spring ball carriers for solid chunks to long gains and touchdowns. Perhaps his return to the gameplan could provide the rushing attack with a much-needed boost.


3. Lamar Jackson Has Another MVP Performance

While the starting offensive line was ineffective with their run-blocking, they were excellent in pass protection and allowed Jackson to have another sensational outing throwing the ball from the pocket. Through the first three quarters of the game he had a perfect passer rating and threw for three touchdowns for the second week in a row. The ‘Pay Lamar Jackson’ campaign was bolstered with another MVP level performance where he finished 21-of-29 for 318 passing yards and passing and over 100 yards rushing.

His 79-yard touchdown run to close out the third quarter was not only the longest of his career, it marked his 11th career game in which he rushed for 100 or more yards which broke the previous record held by his childhood idol Michael Vick.


4. Injuries Continue to Mount

For the second straight week, the had a pair of players leave the game with an injury, one in the first and one in the second half. Like veteran offensive tackle Ja’Wuan James last week, veteran outside linebacker Steven Means who just signed to the active roster on Septemeber 14, 2022, had to be carted off the field with a lower leg injury. He was ruled out for the remainder of the game with an ankle injury and given that he couldn’t put any weight on his leg and needed assistance getting to the locker room, the odds of him returning to action anytime soon or this season are likely slim to none although head coach John Harbaugh didn’t have any updates in his post-game press conference.

The other injury that the team sustained came late in the game when standout wide receiver Devin Duvernay today a hard shot after making a nice grab over the middle in traffic. He entered the concussion protocol and was swiftly declared out for the remainder of the game. Prior to his exit, the third-year pro caught two passes for 42 yards but made his biggest play of the game on its first play when he returned the opening kickoff 103-yards for the first points of the game.

His status heading into another AFC East matchup in Week 3 with the New England Patriots will be one to closely monitor as he has been emerging on offense as the team’s No. 2 receiver opposite Rashod Bateman who had a huge game with a team leading 108 receiving yards on just four catches.


5. No Need to Overreact

As gut-wrenching and soul-crushing as the final result was for the Ravens and their fans, there is no need to hit the panic button, bail on the season, overblow the loss, or sound the alarms. It is only Week 2 and there are still 15 games left on their schedule to address their issues, improve, and get some of their injured players back such as Dobbins, Edwards, All-Pro left tackle Ronnie Stanley, defensive tackle Travis Jones and outside linebacker Tyus Bowser.

There were also very promising and impressive performances that got overshadowed and should be mentioned. Andrews recorded his first 100-yard receiving game with 104 on nine receptions. Bringing back former four-time Pro Bowl edge rusher Justin Houston was one of the most unddratted moves of the Ravens’ offseason and it continued to pay major dividends as he has two sacks through two games and a bunch of pressures and quarterback hits. The Ravens seem to have gotten a steal of a deal when they signed sixth-year pro Marcus Williams who continued to look like an absolute steal of deal on his contract compared to what he has already done with three interceptions in two games.

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