Good Thing It Was The Jags

Sports and Bets — December 15, 2014 at 10:23 pm by

You’re not gonna be on top of your game every week in the NFL. The Ravens were clearly not on top of their game Sunday, yet they were able to snag a victory. On the other side of things, the Jags clearly came to play, as evidenced by their extremely physical play on defense, yet they couldn’t turn that effort into a win.

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Let’s face it, Raven’s fans, the game was way too close yesterday. A 20-12 victory over the Jags won’t send the Ravens shooting up anybody’s power ranking board, but a win is a win. We should consider ourselves lucky when considering all the things that went wrong. Justin Tucker had an off day and went 2-4. The offense couldn’t run the ball, despite staying with it throughout the game. The Jags controlled the time of possession, thanks in large part due to their two big special teams plays. Jacksonville used an onside kick to steal a possession from the Ravens’ offense, and they were able to execute a really cool fake punt that continued a drive.

The Ravens front seven was dominant as usual. I thought the Jags had a great game plan coming in against the Ravens, especially given their situation. They tried to run the ball and throw a ton of three and five step drops to keep the Ravens pass rush at bay. In part they were able to do it, because in the first half, Bortles was getting rid of the ball quickly and it led to four field goals. But ultimately, the Ravens pass rush just wore down Bortles and buried him, sacking him eight times in total. Suggs, Dumervil, and McPhee were disruptive as always, totaling five sacks between them. It was awesome to see Timmy Jernigan really come into his own while registering two sacks. He has big play potential from his defensive tackle position with his short area quickness. The commentators made a good point during the game, in that Timmy Jernigan is really gaining some valuable game experience while Ngata is serving his suspension.

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CJ Mosley had another big game with seven total tackles and a sack. To me, his case is made for defensive rookie of the year. Daryl Smith also played well, as the Ravens held the Jags to 83 yards on 23 carries

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Stop me if you’ve heard this one before- another Ravens’ corner went down with an injury. Asa Jackson crumpled to the ground holding his knee, and it didn’t look good. (He’s out for the year with a PCL injury.) In relief of Jackson, Rashann Melvin stepped in and played well. He definitely looks the part out there, as his build reminds me of Cary Williams. Hopefully he can keep the momentum of playing well in his first NFL game going into next week.

On offense the Ravens were never able to get into rhythm. It seemed like the offense barely had the ball in the first half. They scored on special teams the first time they were supposed to be getting the ball, and went four plays and out on their second drive. The third drive was cut short because of the Juszczyk fumble, and the Jags executed that onside kick on what should have been the Ravens fourth possession. They only ran 26 plays the entire first half, so getting in rhythm was impossible. The running game never got going and you have to credit Jacksonville. They were extremely physical up front, and were determined to make the Ravens beat them through the air.

The Ravens need to execute better in all phases of the game. They are in a unique situation in that they control their own destiny in the wild card race. All they have to do is beat two 7-7 teams.  Next week they go to Houston to face either Case Keenum or Thad Lewis at the quarterback position, and the Ravens finish at home against Johnny Manziel and the Browns. But as this week showed, nothing can, or should, be taken for granted. The Ravens need to take the team that won in Miami down to Houston, not the team that kind of went through the motions yesterday.

 

cover: pressboxonline

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