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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 held a moment of silence in remembrance of George Floyd

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Ravens held a moment of silence in remembrance of George Floyd

The Ravens organization held a team-wide moment of silence on Thursday to in honor of George Floyd, whose funeral took place on Thursday as well.

According to a statement released by the team on Twitter, the moment of silence took place at 3:45 p.m. ET and lasted 8 minutes and 46 seconds. The timeframe was the same length as how long Minneapolis police office Derek Chauvin was recorded kneeling on Floyd's neck, restricting him of air and ultimately causing him to die.

The gesture by the team was in accordance with the NAACP and other organizations that deemed Floyd's funeral on Thursday as a "National Day of Mourning." 

Ravens fullback Pat Ricard shared a message head coach John Harbaugh had written to the team informing them of the moment of silence. Taking place through Zoom, Harbaugh hoped that players and their families would join in to honor Floyd.

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Shannon Sharpe says Drew Brees should retire after anthem comments

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Shannon Sharpe says Drew Brees should retire after anthem comments

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees drew criticism on Wednesday after saying he "will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country" when asked his thoughts about players kneeling during the national anthem. 

Several DMV athletes like Ed Reed and Mark Ingram shared their thoughts on Twitter. Many of Brees' teammates, such as Michael Thomas, Alvin Kamara and Emmanuel Sanders, along with many others, all voiced their dismay and disappointment of Brees' comments.

Former Baltimore Ravens tight end and co-host of FS1's Undisputed, Shannon Sharpe, spoke about why he disagreed with the quarterback's comments, saying that Brees should hang up the cleats as a result.

"I don't know what Drew is gonna do, but he probably should just go ahead and retire now," Sharpe said. "It will never be the same.

"Take it from a guy who's been a leader in the locker room for a number of years," Sharpe continued. "At every step, I've been the leader in the locker room. What he said, they will never look at him the same. It wasn't what he said, it's how he said it. It was the fire. I will NEVER respect the man."

Brees issued a long apology on Instagram on Thursday. He wrote that he recognizes that he can be "part of the solution and can be a leader for the black community in this movement" and vowed to "fight for what's right."

But for Sharpe, Brees' apology doesn't make up for the quarterback's initial comments.

"Brees still just doesn't seem to get it. He issued an apology, but it's meaningless," Sharpe said. "The guys know that he spoke his heart the very first time around."

The Hall of Fame tight end also took issue with Brees making kneeling for the national anthem about disrespecting the flag, when that was never the purpose behind ex-49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick's decision to take a knee.

"Even after Colin Kaepernick told you what he was doing. Even after all of this, nobody mentioned the flag. He brought it up on his own," Sharpe said. "Drew, I don't know what you were thinking. I don't know what you hope to accomplish, but whatever you hope to accomplish, it failed miserably.

"Black people have been fighting for this country, even though they did not get the rights that the flag said," Sharpe continued. "The flag is supposed to mean something, it's supposed to mean everything. All people. Freedom. Liberties. But if a black man doesn't have the same freedom and liberty as the white, what good is the flag?"

Sharpe also expressed his disappointment that someone like Brees, who has spent the majority of his life playing football with a black men, to not understand the justice they are currently fighting for.

"What's made the black fight so hard is people like Drew Brees," Sharpe said. "If you can't get a guy that grew up with blacks in the locker room, from Peewee to high school to college to the NFL, to understand the black man's plight, who will? What about guys that are not around blacks on a daily basis?"

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