Ravens Review: Three Up, three down vs Raiders
9/23/2015, 8 a.m.
There is no doubt that the loss to the Oakland Raiders put a damper on the start of the season for the Baltimore Ravens. All is not lost. Here are three positives and three areas of concern that can be pulled from the Ravens loss to the Raiders:
The Ravens found another threat in the passing game
Much has been made about the Ravens lack of play makers outside of Steve Smith Sr. They needed to find another player that can alter the game plan for opposing defenses. Crockett Gillmore may be the answer. He was able to break big plays on a seam route and deep cross. The Raiders had to make a halftime adjustment because of how Gillmore played in the first half. He will continue to be a favorable matchup against most teams.
The running game showed signs of reliability
The Ravens ran the ball well when they attempted to. Justin Forsett carried the ball 15 times for 68 yards. He averaged 4.5 yards per carry. Forsett picked up a couple of crucial first downs in third down situations. One of the first downs that he picked up was on 3rd & 15, just before halftime. He gained 15 yards on a dive play which breathed life into the Ravens final first half drive. Lorenzo Taliaferro made his 2015 debut and gained 34 yards on seven carries, an average of 4.9 yards per rush. Taliaferro also ran for a seven yard touchdown. This should provide reason for Marc Trestman to dial up more rushing plays in the coming weeks.
Joe Flacco wasn’t sacked once and had time in the pocket
The Ravens offensive line didn’t give up a sack against the Raiders. Khalil Mack and Aldon Smith were not able to get pressure on Flacco. The Ravens were able to execute some of their longer developing passing plays thanks to lack of quarterback hurries given up by their offensive line. This is definitely a positive after the constant duress that Flacco endured against the Denver Broncos in the season opener.
Poor coverage in the secondary
The Raiders were able to get big plays against both zone and man coverage from the Ravens. The game got off to a shocking start when Amari Cooper made a 68 yard touchdown reception against man coverage from Jimmy Smith. Smith failed to jam Cooper at the line of scrimmage and Cooper was able to convert an easy touchdown as a result. Kendrick Lewis also failed to provide any help over the top.
The Ravens also allowed Michael Crabtree to get open numerous times. He got open against two deep coverage and made a crucial catch late in the game. Will Hill was caught out of position when Carr rolled out to the opposite side. Derek Carr delivered the ball back across the field to Crabtree for a 29 yard touchdown. The Raiders were able to pass for 351 yards against the Ravens.
Lack of a pass rush