The Baltimore Ravens fell to 2-2 after the Buffalo Bills earned a 23-20 win to go 3-1 on the season. It was the second time this season that the Ravens gave up a big lead to allow their opponent back into the game. After the frustrating loss, John Harbaugh’s side faces the improving Cincinnati Bengals in Week 5. Without further ado, here is the Baltimore Ravens news roundup heading into the divisional clash.
ICYMI: Last Week’s Baltimore Ravens News Roundup
Baltimore Ravens News Roundup: J.K. Dobbins’ Return, Odafe Oweh Developing, Injury Update
Week 4 Recap
The loss to the Bills was a grave disappointment for the Ravens. Baltimore dominated in the first half of the ball game, earning themselves a 20-3 lead. However, towards the end of the half, Josh Allen’s offense found some rhythm and scored 20 unanswered points to take the victory. This marked the second time this season that the Ravens have given up a big lead. Against the Miami Dolphins in Week 2, Baltimore gave up a 21-point lead in the fourth quarter and lost the game 42-38.
While the defense was blamed for conceding the comeback against the Dolphins, this time the offense was blamed for not finishing the Bills off when they had the chance.
On the game, Lamar Jackson completed 20 of 29 for 144 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions. He added 73 yards on the ground via 11 rushing attempts. Baltimore’s reliance on Jackson’s elite talent has led to many supporting his MVP campaign. It was generally a solid performance against the Bills but was ultimately not enough. Jackson had Buffalo by the throat during the first half – they could not keep up with his arm or legs.
Defensively, the Ravens were stout for most of the game. They had a superb start as Marlon Humphrey intercepted Allen early on. In total, the defense managed one forced fumble (and recovery) and one sack on the game and Kyle Hamilton showed some promise. Perhaps the most impressive aspect was the fact that they even held the high-powered Bills offense to less than 25 points. The defense’s strong start could not be sustained though as they ultimately crumbled after some big plays from Devin Singletary.
Coaching Under Fire
What went wrong for the Ravens then? They simply failed to produce in the second half. Adjustments by the Bills proved too much for Jackson’s offense, and they struggled to gain any offensive momentum. Their lack of execution ultimately saw the game rest on a final fourth down.
The coaching staff has mostly come under fire for the loss due to their controversial fourth down call in the closing moments of the game. With the score tied at 20-20, the Ravens were given the chance to seal the game with a fourth-and-goal opportunity on the Buffalo 2-yard line. Unfortunately for Baltimore, Jackson’s pass was intercepted by Jordan Poyer at the back of the endzone. With four minutes left, Allen was able to drive down the field and run down the clock, allowing Tyler Bass to seal the victory with a walk-off field goal.
Why did the Ravens not take the field goal? The answer is simple: Josh Allen. Allen’s Bills were moving the ball with ease on the Baltimore defense in the second half. Thus, there was little faith that, even if the Ravens had taken three points, the Bills could be held to anything less than six. Why did the Ravens not run the ball, considering they were on the 2-yard line? This is more unclear. It is speculated that, had Gus Edwards been available for the game, the Ravens would have trusted their short-yardage back.
J.K. Dobbins Lifts Running Game
Jackson’s lack of rhythm in the passing game through the second half against the Bills unsurprisingly impacted the receiving production too. Just one receiver had over 50 yards (Devin Duvernay). J.K. Dobbins was the only player that caught a touchdown. Mark Andrews, one of the league’s premier tight ends, was limited to just two catches for 15 yards.
On the other hand, the rushing game found a little more rhythm – though much of this was in the first half. Justice Hill ran for 45 yards on eight carries while Dobbins accumulated 41 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries.
Dobbins played against the New England Patriots in Week 3’s 37-26 victory but did not see anywhere the level of production that he had against the Bills. The young running back missed all of last season with a torn ACL. Back and fully healthy, it was expected that Dobbins would take a while to get back to NFL speed. While his 2022 debut was underwhelming, he showed fans just why the Ravens are so positive about him with a two-touchdown spectacular against the Bills.
Dobbins’ return has also improved the production of Hill. With Dobbins as the feature back, Hill occupies a more complementary role that he has excelled in.
With Dobbins slowly resurrecting the lacklustre running game, the Ravens will surely look to give the former Ohio State Buckeye more touches going forward.
Odafe Oweh Showing Promise
Oweh has been criticized by many Ravens fans for his lack of production. Baltimore drafted the Penn State product in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft. Many criticized the selection at the time due to Oweh’s lack of college production. He did, however, flash elite athleticism. It was his explosiveness and unique size-speed-strength blend that made Eric DeCosta sold on his potential.
Since entering the league, many fans have been unimpressed by Oweh’s performances. He has struggled to beat offensive linemen and has also looked a little lost at times. Such is the expectation when dealing with young players. But Oweh’s critics have pointed to the strong performances of Gregory Rousseau (Buffalo Bills) and Joe Tryon (Tampa Bay Buccaneers). Both were both edge rushers drafted either side of Oweh.
Oweh has been far from perfect this season. He has shown promise though. Towards the end of the game, he was nearly able to generate a forced fumble to flip the game on its head, but the Bills were ultimately able to retain possession. Throughout the first few weeks of the season, Oweh has demonstrated his ability to rush the passer too, generating a lot of QB pressures.
Odafe Oweh leads all defenders with 15 QB hurries this season 😈 pic.twitter.com/KTXIC9y8yf
— PFF BAL Ravens (@PFF_Ravens) October 4, 2022
This is all on top of the fact that Oweh is part of one of the league’s worst (and most injured) outside linebacker groups. Indeed, against the Bills, Oweh was forced to play 100% of defensive snaps as a pure edge rusher.
Injuries Starting to Pile
The Ravens saw their primary wideout, Rashod Bateman, sit out of the second half of the Bills game. He supposedly has a foot injury but the extent to which it will affect future games is unclear. If Bateman is to miss time, the Ravens will need to rely on Devin Duvernay, who has had a great season so far.
Left tackle remains a conundrum for the Ravens. Daniel Faalele had an average game against the Bills but was largely helped by interior support or assistance from Pat Ricard. Patrick Mekari continues to deal with an ankle injury while Ronnie Stanley logged two full practices last week before one DNP on Friday. He was marked as inactive against the Bills. Stanley is expected to suit up soon but exactly when is unclear. The team will need to assess both Mekari and Stanley during the week, but Faalele could potentially see another start at left tackle against the Bengals.
Something to watch is that both Dobbins and Hill logged DNPs on Wednesday. They are slated to play in Week 5 for now but the situation may change. The more positive news is that Edwards was back in action at the Ravens facility. With the news roundup officially concluded, let’s look ahead to the Baltimore Ravens upcoming opponent.
Week 5 Preview
The Ravens face another stern test in Week 5 as they come up against their division rivals, the Bengals. The Bengals’ most recent outing saw them overcome the Dolphins 27-15 in a comprehensive victory. The win took Cincinnati to 2-2, the same record as the Ravens. The Dolphins had previously beaten the Ravens, but it should be noted that the Bengals’ win over Miami saw Tua Tagovailoa taken out for a concussion.
After starting 0-2, the Bengals have found some form. Burrow had told fans not to worry and it seems he was right as things are starting to click for Zac Taylor’s side. Last season, the Bengals humiliated the Ravens in both their fixtures. They beat Baltimore 41-17 the first time round and 41-21 the second time round. There is no doubt that the Ravens will be looking to re-claim bragging rights in their upcoming matchup.
One of the keys to the Bengals’ victories last season was receiver Ja’Marr Chase. Chase torched the beat-up Ravens defense on multiple counts. He remains one of the league’s top receivers and leads a clinical receiving corps including Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd. With a stronger secondary this year, the Ravens will look to Marcus Peters, Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Williams to handle the Bengals’ lethal air attack.
Like last season, the Bengals offensive line has been poor. They have had good moments, but the consistency simply is not there. If the Ravens are to get anything out of this game, they will need Oweh, Jason Pierre-Paul and Justin Madubuike to generate pressure on Burrow and force turnovers. If Justin Houston can play, he will also be a great help.