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3 takeaways from the Ravens' 23-17 win against the Cardinals

3 takeaways from the Ravens' 23-17 win against the Cardinals

BALTIMORE — The Ravens had to sweat out their home opener Sunday, but they earned an important win, moving to 2-0. 

Here are three things to take away from the Ravens' close win over the Cardinals: 

1. Jackson’s Big Day

If not for Lamar Jackson, the Ravens offense would have been in a world of hurt. 

Jackson finished with 272 yards passing, two passing touchdowns and a passer rating of 104.8. He also showed off his legs after a quiet week one on the ground, rushing for 120 yards on 16 carries. 

He was both the team’s leading rusher and leading passer. His best throw of the day came with the game potentially on the line. With just over two minutes to go, he found Marquise Brown down the sideline for a beautiful 41-yard catch that was essentially the nail in the coffin.

Jackson continued his hot start to the season with another excellent start. He and Mark Andrews were the team’s only consistent sources of offense throughout the afternoon. 

2. Tight ends to the rescue

Jackson’s tight ends this year have been a safe haven for the quarterback. Against the Cardinals, he relied on them more than any other group.

Andrews had the best day of any tight end, leading the Ravens' receiving corps with his second-straight 100 yard game. He finished with eight catches and 112 yards. 

Hayden Hurst added a one-yard touchdown in the second quarter, and Nick Boyle had a catch of his own. 

The star, however, was Andrews, as he’s been the Ravens' most reliable receiver in the early part of the season. Andrews has two touchdowns through two games. 

3. Kyler Murray

Murray played like the No. 1 pick on Sunday afternoon against one of the best secondaries he’ll see all season long. 

The Ravens' secondary struggled against the quick passing game of the Cardinals, allowing Murray to pass for 349 yards and one touchdown. 

Christian Kirk and Larry Fitzgerald each went over 100 yards receiving on the afternoon, as the Ravens secondary had trouble dealing with the Air Raid offense. 

Despite some difficulties, the defense held when it needed to, forcing three red zone field goals on the afternoon. The Cardinals scored just one touchdown in the game.

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Former Ravens Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg denies wanting to move Lamar Jackson to wide receiver

Former Ravens Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg denies wanting to move Lamar Jackson to wide receiver

According to a report from former NFL general manager Michael Lombardi, former Ravens offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg wanted to move Lamar Jackson to wide receiver. 

Mornhinweg, and the Ravens, claim that’s not true. 

Tuesday morning, Mornhinweg and the Ravens released a statement that claims the conversation Lombardi reported never happened. 

“That didn’t happen,” Mornhinweg responded, according to the release. “Never said that. My thoughts before the draft, and even more when we started working with Lamar, was that this young man was going to be a special quarterback. Very early we saw that along with all of his throwing and escape abilities, he reads the field as well as any young quarterback I ever worked with.”

Mornhinweg, who was the Ravens’ offensive coordinator for three years and with the organization for four, left the organization after last season ended.

The original report from Lombardi, which was on the GM Shuffle podcasts that he hosts, stated that Mornhinweg wanted to move Jackson to wide receiver. 

“Here’s what happened,” Lombardi began. “The first time he (Lamar Jackson) comes in, Marty Mornhinweg — remember, we’re building the team around him — Marty says to the coaches, this is fact, ‘When are we gonna move him to receiver?’”

Lombardi was a scout for the 49ers and Browns before working for the Eagles, Raiders, Browns (for a second time) and the Patriots. He was the general manager and VP of the Browns in 2013-14. He currently works for The Athletic.

“Organizationally, we were on the same page with Lamar, and I thought Ozzie (Newsome) and Eric (DeCosta) did a great job to take him where we did,” coach John Harbaugh added in the release. “Marty was excited from the beginning to coach Lamar and was instrumental in helping him progress through his rookie season.”

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Ravens don't have to worry about Rob Gronkowski returning for the NFL Playoffs

Ravens don't have to worry about Rob Gronkowski returning for the NFL Playoffs

Sitting atop the AFC North and East divisions at 8-2 and 9-1 respectively, the Ravens and Patriots could face each other again in January for either the divisional round or AFC championship.

One thing is for sure -- even if Baltimore has to face the Patriots in Foxborough, the Ravens will not have to worry about crafting a game plan for retired tight end Rob Gronkowski.

The five-time Pro Bowl receiver is guaranteed to be in Miami for Super Bowl LIV, but not to play football -- instead, throwing a party off the field that he calls Gronk Beach.

Gronk told ESPN that a return to playing for the NFL is "always an option in the back of my head. It's not like I'm not staying in shape and not doing anything."

"I wouldn't say 'never coming back,'" Gronk told ESPN after announcing his Gronk Beach festival, that includes performances by Diplo, Kaskade, Rick Ross and Flo Rida. "I'm feeling good, but you know, one year off could possibly be the case. Or maybe two years off, man."

Baltimore already bloodied New England 37-20, handing the Pats their first and only loss of the season thus far when they visited M&T Bank Stadium in Week 9, but both teams should almost certainly anticipate a postseason meeting. Arguably the greatest tight end in league history, Gronk knows his team could use his talents again.

"With the offense, they're finding ways to make it work like they've always done, putting guys in the right situation to make plays," Gronkowski told ESPN about watching the Patriots games closely this season. "But man, they're missing some guy who is 6-6, 260 [pounds]," referencing himself.

Baltimore, you're in the clear this year. But that's all Gronk can guarantee.

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