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Grading the Ravens offense vs. the Patriots

Grading the Ravens offense vs. the Patriots

Whatever momentum the Ravens generated in a 38-6 rout of Miami two weeks ago evaporated in New England on Monday night as the Ravens lost, 30-23, to fall out of a playoff spot with three games left.

Frankly, only a couple of gifts by the Patriots in the form of fumbles deep in Patriots territory made this a game.

For most of the night, the offense -- with no running game, no rhythm, and certainly no sense of urgency late in the game -- resembled the unit that has slogged its way unimpressively through the first three months of the season.

And the defense was picked apart by Tom Brady, who even without favorite target Rob Gronkowski threw for 406 yards and three touchdowns.

It's time to hand out the report cards for Monday night's game, beginning with the offense.

 

QUARTERBACK: C-

For the second straight week, Joe Flacco set a franchise record for completions, as he was 37-for-52. But all that slinging the ball around added up to just 324 yards, as the Ravens used dumpoffs and checkdowns as the major portion of their offense.

The Patriots dropped back in zone coverage, but Flacco gave up too quickly on downfield options and dumped off to a running back. Flacco's accuracy was not what it needed to be, either. He underthrew receivers at times, and even some short completions were high, hurting the chance for yardage after the catch.

Overall, Flacco looked too much like the inconsistent Flacco from earlier this season.

And it's up to Flacco to come up with better options than a 1-yard dumpoff on third-and-12.

 

RUNNING BACK: B-

Each week the Ravens say they won't abandon the running game, and then each week they do. Monday night, the Ravens ran the ball just four times in the first half for a total of 7 yards.

Kenneth Dixon finished with 39 yards on a 11 carries and also had a team-high eight receptions (on a team-high 11 targets) for 42 yards. He runs hard every time in the ball is in his hands and continues to impress.

Terrance West was a missing man much of the night. He played just 14 snaps and finished with two carries for 2 yards. He also had four receptions as the running backs remained too big a part of the Ravens passing game.

Fullback Kyle Juszczyk had a career-long 40-yard catch-and-run reception, but he was also overmatched as a lead blocker on the play that resulted in a safety.

OFFENSIVE LINE: C

Flacco was sacked twice, but it didn't appear to be a breakdown in protection that led Flacco to dump off the ball so often. Jeremy Zuttah was beaten badly on a sack, and the Ravens were hurt by a few key penalties. A Rick Wagner false-start penalty on 2nd-and-1 led to a punt two plays later.

The Ravens averaged 3.0 yards a carry. With first-round pick Ronnie Stanley and Marshal Yanda on the left side, it seemed curious how often the Ravens ran to the right.

TIGHT ENDS: C-

The Patriots game plan seemed to be to deny the middle of the field, where Dennis Pitta had done so much damage against the Dolphins. Pitta was a nonfactor with four catches for 18 yards.

Darren Waller caught a 3-yard touchdown and Nick Boyle had three catches for 15 yards. But there wasn't much yardage after the catch for this group, which is a problem when they routinely run patterns short of the first-down marker on third down.

WIDE RECEIVER: C

The Ravens threw as many passes to running backs as they threw to Mike Wallace, Steve Smith and Breshad Perriman.

Mike Wallace had five catches for 52 yards, but he had a couple of passes slip through his hands, although Flacco also underthrew him at times and overthrew him at others. Wallace shouldn't have to make a leaping catch on a 4-yard pass.

Breshad Perriman (3-52) had a 47-yard catch on one of the rare balls that Flacco aired out, and Steve Smith had four catches for 57 yards.

Kamar Aiken had just one catch. Like all the Ravens receivers, he wasn't targeted often enough considering Flacco threw the ball 52 times.

More Ravens: RAVENS SAFETY ERIC WEDDLE TAKES BLAME FOR PATRIOTS' FINAL TOUCHDOWN

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Lamar Jackson, Ravens rookies report to training camp

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USA TODAY Sports

Lamar Jackson, Ravens rookies report to training camp

Football is back in session for the Ravens.

Their rookies are set to report to the Ravens' training facility in Owings Mills, Md Wednesday. Veterans report next Wednesday, the 18th.

The team is reporting to training camp a bit earlier than most NFL teams. Due to Ray Lewis being enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame Aug. 4 in Canton, Oh, the Ravens will face the Chicago Bears in the annual Hall of Fame Game on Aug. 2. Teams participating are eligible to begin training camp earlier.

This rookie class is already generating national attention. While the Ravens stand by Joe Flacco as their QB1, first-round pick Lamar Jackson could cause a shakeup at some point during the season. And when it comes to much-needed offensive help, tight ends Hayden Hurst and Mark Andrews could begin to provide relief. 

Third-round pick Orlando Brown Jr. begins his journey with the Ravens in a more sentimental fashion. His father, Orlando "Zeus" Brown, also played tackle for the Ravens from 1996-98 and then again from 2003-05. Brown passed away in 2011. 

Stay with NBC Sports Washington throughout the next several weeks as we keep a close eye on the Ravens' preseason. 

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Early 2018 NFL playoff odds have Ravens in similar situation

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Early 2018 NFL playoff odds have Ravens in similar situation

There's only six months until the NFL playoffs and we've got no time to waste.

OK, maybe we're getting a little ahead of ourselves but online betting site, Oddshark, released their early 2018 NFL playoff odds and the Ravens are in a similar situation as previous years.

The Ravens are sitting at +135 — tied for 13th with the San Francisco 49ers — for the best odds to play January football. This would place them in the seventh seed among AFC teams and just outside contention.

The Patriots (-1500), Steelers (-550), Chargers (-145), Jaguars (-140), Texans (-135), and Chiefs (+120) are seeded above them respectively. 

During the 2017 season, the Ravens were constantly in the hunt for the fifth or sixth seed in the AFC playoff picture. Several weeks ahead of training camp, Vegas is predicting that to be the case in 2018.

Playoff odds in July mean nothing, but considering their offseason changes, the Ravens' 2018 season should bring positive change.

They added weapons for Joe Flacco in free agents Michael Crabtree, Willie Snead and John Brown, and drafted tight ends Hayden Hurst and Mark Andrews.

Then there was the late first-round draft pick of QB Lamar Jackson. Flacco remains the starter for now, but it will be interesting to see if that changes midway through the season or if they get them both on the field at the same time.

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