How Ravens QB Lamar Jackson used play action successfully vs. 49ers

How Ravens QB Lamar Jackson used play action successfully vs. 49ers

Coming into Sunday's battle in Baltimore, the Ravens had the best rushing offense in the NFL. That still is true, but the 49ers actually held the Ravens in check, despite losing 20-17

The Ravens, who average well over 200 rushing yards per game, ended with 178 on 38 carries. San Francisco's defense allowed only 4.7 yards per carry while its own offense had 174 yards rushing on 29 carries, good for a 6-yard average. 

But quarterback Lamar Jackson did gain 101 yards rushing on 16 carries and scored once on the ground. Jackson only had 105 passing yards, but the threat of he or running back Mark Ingram carrying the ball still hurt the 49ers. 

Jackson was significantly better passing with play-action Sunday as opposed to no play action, and his wide receivers gained much more separation against the 49ers' vaunted defense. 

Baltimore's only touchdown through the air came off play action, with Jackson hitting tight end Mark Andrews to tie it up 7-7 in the first quarter. 

[RELATED: Ravens will be ready for Super Bowl rematch with 49ers]

Any run-action from Jackson will keep a defense on its toes. The 49ers won't face another dual-threat QB until their rematch with Russell Wilson and the Seahawks, who they also lost to earlier in the year, when San Francisco goes to Seattle for the regular-season finale. 

But if the 49ers do face the Ravens in the Super Bowl as they hope, there will be plenty to digest from the film, especially with defending play action.

Watch 49ers' Javon Kinlaw replicate Aaron Donald knife training drill

Watch 49ers' Javon Kinlaw replicate Aaron Donald knife training drill

Javon Kinlaw isn't afraid of a few deadly weapons.

The 49ers rookie showed off a seemingly dangerous drill on social media Friday in a video posted by defensive line trainer Cam Spence.

You're correct, those are in fact a pair of knives being wielded and sent in Kinlaw's direction as he bats them away. We've seen a similar drill from two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald.

[RELATED: Richard Sherman calls out report on 2020 NFL season negotiations]

Kinlaw was the 49ers' first selection in the 2020 NFL Draft, going No. 14 overall. The South Carolina product plugged up the middle for the Gamecocks' defense, picking up six sacks and recovering two fumbles. He likely will have an immediate chance to contribute, as All-Pro DeForest Buckner's departure to Indianapolis leaves a void in the 49ers' defensive line.

The rookie, along with a few returning players looking to earn a contract, will be imperative to make sure that void is filled in order for the 49ers to replicate the dominance the team enjoyed in 2019.

[SPORTS UNCOVERED: Listen to the latest episode]

49ers' Brandon Aiyuk sixth-best rookie receiver in Madden 21 ratings

49ers' Brandon Aiyuk sixth-best rookie receiver in Madden 21 ratings

The Brandon Aiyuk hype among 49ers fans has grown exponentially ever since he was drafted 25th overall in April.

The sixth receiver to come off the board in the 2020 NFL Draft, Aiyuk is expected to make an immediate impact with his elite breakaway speed, which he showcased numerous times during his two seasons at Arizona State.

But based on the just-released Madden 21 ratings, Aiyuk isn't even among the fastest wide receivers in his rookie class. In fact, he's just the sixth-best rookie wideout according to the video game's new ratings, checking in at 72 overall.

[SPORTS UNCOVERED: Listen to the latest episode]

The rookie receivers' overall ratings were almost identical to their draft positions, with the Denver Broncos' Jerry Jeudy and the Dallas Cowboys' CeeDee Lamb swapping places being the only alteration.

When it comes to speed, however, Aiyuk checks in as the 10th-fastest rookie wide receiver, behind a handful of players drafted well behind him.

[RELATED: George Kittle 'really proud' of team's offseason work, effort]

Aiyuk's 40-yard dash time at the NFL Scouting Combine wasn't exactly elite (4.54 seconds), but during his senior season, he was tracked with a top in-game speed of 21.97 mph -- a mark bested by just three NFL players in 2019.

Game speed is different than track speed, and Aiyuk brings game speed in spades every time he takes the field.

Guessing those ratings might be adjusted once Aiyuk actually sees some on-field action in a 49ers uniform.