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Stock up, stock down: Rating the Ravens as they move to 2-0 on the season

Stock up, stock down: Rating the Ravens as they move to 2-0 on the season

BALTIMORE — With the Ravens now at 2-0, there’s a lot to like about the team’s first two weeks and their outlook moving forward. 

But since every win can’t be a 49-point blowout, there were a few more things that went wrong in the 23-17 win over the Cardinals Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium.

Here are a few players whose stocks are on the move:

Stock up: Lamar Jackson

Jackson enjoyed the most complete game of his career, as he was responsible for 392 of the 440 total yards the Ravens gained on offense. 

He threw for 272 yards, rushed for 120 more and tossed two touchdown passes. It was his final pass, a 41-yard shot down the right sideline, that sealed the deal for the Ravens, as he capped off his day with a rainbow throw to Marquise Brown.

Jackson is the only player in league history to throw for 270 yards and rush for 120 additional yards in the same game. 

Stock down: The Ravens defense (before the red zone)

That’s an important clarification. For the most part, the Ravens defense struggled against the Cardinals Air Raid attack. 

Kyler Murray threw for 349 yards on 25-of-40 passing. Christian Kirk and Larry Fitzgerald both went over 100 yards as the Cardinals found the red zone four times on the afternoon. 

“It’s a spread-open offense, and sometimes you get into some zone-coverage situations, and you have to get lined up fast and you have to communicate fast,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh explained. “The route matches are not simple. They’re not simple for any team. And when you have a bunch of receivers on the field, that’s what that offense is built to do.”

Arizona didn’t have much of a run game to speak of, a credit to the Ravens' front seven, but they didn’t need to as Murray played like the No. 1 pick most of the day.

Stock up: The Ravens defense (in the red zone)

While the Ravens allowed the Cardinals into the red zone four times, they only gave up 17 points in those trips. One of those drives could have swung the game, but the Ravens defense held strong. 

“We did a good job of covering them, which we didn’t do when they went down there and scored,” Harbaugh said. “They had us on the ropes a little bit there. We covered really well, and we presented in fronts that they couldn’t really get it in with.”

Yes, the Ravens have things to clean up in the secondary. But the team’s red zone defense played well enough to keep the Cardinals at bay.

Stock down: The referees

The referees didn’t decide the game, nor did they impact the final result in a large manner. 

But late in the fourth quarter, Marquise Brown was hit from behind before the ball arrived. The play looked like pass interference, but the referees determined it was clean.

Even after the Ravens challenged, the play stood. Harbaugh said he thought Brown had no chance to make the play. 

Al Riveron, Senior Vice President of Officiating for the NFL, released a statement after the game that there wasn’t enough to overturn the play. 

“We do see contact, but the contact has to rise to the level where it significantly hinders the opponent’s opportunity to make a play on the ball,” the report read. “And the only way we can see it is through clear and obvious video evidence. So contact by itself is not a foul.”

Stock up: Marquise Brown

The rookie had his breakout game last week, but he was a more consistent factor against the Cardinals. 

He was targeted 13 times and had eight catches for 86 yards. On the touchdown throw to Mark Andrews on the Ravens' first drive, the Cardinals were so concerned with Brown they left Andrews wide open. 

Brown was shifty, speedy, and showed excellent hands. All reasons why the Ravens made him the team’s first round pick in April.

Stock up: Mark Andrews

Andrews posted his second straight 100-yard receiving game with 112 yards on eight catches. He also added a touchdown on the team's first drive of the game.

He was seemingly always open for the Ravens over the middle, as the Cardinals were forced to choose between him and Brown. 

Paired together, Andrews and Jackson have become quite the formidable duo for the Ravens this season. 

Stock Down: Competition in the AFC North

The Steelers fell to 0-2. The Bengals were blown out, falling to 0-2. The Browns play Monday night in New York, and are 0-1. 

The Ravens are guaranteed to have at least a one-game lead in the division at the end of Monday, which is a significant hole for the rest of the division to climb out of. 

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Ravens cut Justin Bethel, lose Pernell McPhee likely for season

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Ravens cut Justin Bethel, lose Pernell McPhee likely for season

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Just a day after a hard-fought win in Seattle, the Ravens have two roster spots to fill on defense.

The Ravens released special teams standout Justin Bethel on Monday, and coach John Harbaugh announced that Pernell McPhee is likely out for the season with a torn tricep.

Bethel was released after the Titans released Brent Urban last week.

The reason for Bethel's release was that Urban was due to give the Ravens a compensatory fourth-round pick. He signed a one-year deal in the offseason with the Titans as he left the Ravens. 

But Urban, who signed with Chicago on Monday, failed to impress in Tennessee and was released before the Week 10 compensatory deadline. Meaning, the Ravens would have lost the fourth-round pick they were scheduled to receive for John Brown's departure were it not for Bethel's release.

Bethel had six special teams tackles this season and was arguably the Ravens' best special teams player that doesn't snap or kick.

"Justin Bethel unfortunately had to be released due to a funky rule that the NFL has with these compensatory picks," Harbaugh said. "A judgement has to be made in terms of for the future as well. That's tough for us. I told him I think he's the best special teams player in the NFL, and he's playing that way."

Additionally, McPhee will likely be out for the season with a torn tricep. McPhee had three sacks and 19 total tackles in seven games for the Ravens this season.

"Pernell McPhee, it looks like he has a torn tricep," Harbaugh said. "If he has a torn tricep which I believe he does, that'll proclude the rest of the season." 

The Ravens have Aaron Adeoye, a rookie outside linebacker, on the practice squad should they wish to promote someone from within. Otherwise, they'll have to look through the free agent market or poach from another practice squad.

The NFL trade deadline is next Tuesday. 

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Watch the moment Lamar Jackson told John Harbaugh to go for it on fourth down

Watch the moment Lamar Jackson told John Harbaugh to go for it on fourth down

With the game tied late in the third quarter and the Ravens facing a fourth-and-2 from the Seattle eight-yard line, Baltimore had a decision to make.

Initially, the Ravens sent out kicker Justin Tucker to attempt a chip-shot field goal. But as quarterback Lamar Jackson trotted off the sidelines, head coach John Harbaugh had a question for him.

"Do you want to go for that?" the head coach asked his second-year quarterback.

Jackson didn't hesitate. He responded enthusiastically, telling Harbaugh, "Hell yeah, Coach. Let's go for it!"

He then turned to his teammates, asking them, "Do you want to go for it? Let's go!"

Baltimore called a timeout and dialed up a brilliant play-call on the decisive down. Lined up in a heavy, three tight end formation, Jackson took a direct snap eight yards, not just getting the first down but also finding the end zone to give the Ravens the lead.

The touchdown would put the Ravens ahead for good, as they left Seattle with an impressive, 30-16 road victory.

 At 5-2, Baltimore is sitting comfortably in first place in the AFC North, as they have a well-timed bye week before playing host to the undefeated Patriots in two weeks.

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