The Ravens limp into their bye week on the heels of four straight losses after a humiliating loss to the downtrodden New York Jets. The rookies on the defensive side of the ball put forth a solid performance while the few healthy offensive youngsters struggled.
First, the bad:
The rough ride at left tackle continues for Alex Lewis. For the second straight week, he committed penalties on consecutive plays with the ol’ false start/holding 1-2 punch in the second quarter. The holding was devastating, negating Terrance West’s 52-yard gain that would have put the Ravens in position to take a 20-6 lead. Lewis consistently surrendered significant pressure to the Jets’ rushers, which, combined with a few other poor performances up front, led to few clean pockets for Joe Flacco.
Kenneth Dixon touched the ball just twice, for a net loss of a yard. He has yet to crack into Terrence West’s workload (to be fair, not even West got many looks Sunday), but Coach John Harbaugh indicated Dixon has looked healthier and more “juiced up” in practice this week.
You could say Chris Moore was somewhat of a bright spot, reeling in two receptions for 11 yards, and making a clutch hit on the punter who was scrambling to retrieve a fumbled snap, which allowed Moore to fall on the ball for Baltimore’s lone touchdown—a unique first career score. Then again, Moore failed to make a play on Joe Flacco’s final pass as the rookie never seemed likely to secure the jump ball on the 4th down go route.
Now, the good:
Matt Judon had a career day, registering his first two sacks. On the first, he displayed a quick first step to beat the tackle outside, and finished the play with agility to avoid an airborne Za’Darius Smith and hustle to make the (career-threatening?) tackle on Geno Smith, who came up injured.
His second sack was even prettier. As you can see below, Timmy Jernigan makes the play happen with a tremendous outside stunt occupying the right guard, while Judon loops inside to take advantage of a clear lane to the quarterback.
But the stunt would not have been so effective if it were not for Judon’s (a) quick burst off the snap and (b) rapid change of direction, as he quickly flipped his hips so that his body was parallel to the line of scrimmage. He powerfully stuck his left foot in the ground and cut inside for an excellent sack.
Moving on, the big man up front, Michael Pierce, continues to make his presence felt at and behind the line of scrimmage. He abused Jets left guard James Carpenter to record his second career sack early in the third quarter. Pierce consistently got off blocks very well for three solo tackles and two tackle assists.
Tavon Young was on the field for 53 defensive plays, and mostly kept the action in front of him. The fourth-rounder had a good tackling day (in on six stops) when the ball was caught in front of him.
Even Kamalei Correa got in on the action, stripping Matt Forte in the red zone for Jernigan’s ill-fated fumble recovery. Correa saw action on 31 defensive snaps, by far his most to-date, and had a decent outing setting the edge.
Starting left tackle Ronnie Stanley missed his fourth straight game Sunday. Count me among those who think his return will greatly improve the team’s offensive production, but we’ll have to believe it when we see it, as a cloud of mystery has seemed to emerge around his foot/lower leg injury.
Willie Henry was active for the first time in his young career, but he is still considered surplus along the defensive line, as he was unable to log a single snap. He was active simply because the Ravens struggled to dress enough healthy bodies.
Undrafted rookie linebacker Patrick Onwuasor was active for the second consecutive week and after being promoted to the 53-man roster and contributed on 21 special teams plays.