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What you need to know from the Ravens' 36-21 loss to the Panthers


What you need to know from the Ravens' 36-21 loss to the Panthers

The Baltimore Ravens entered Week 8 as the No. 1 scoring and No. 1 overall yards-per-game defense in the league. But If you happened to watch Week 8 matchup against the Carolina Panthers, you would have never believed that.

The Ravens' opening drive was the highlight of the 60 minutes. After that, there wasn't much too write home about as the defense couldn't stop Cam Newton and a banged up offensive line never got its footing.

Here's what you need to know from the 36-21 loss. 

— Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg's creativity was put on display in the Ravens' opening drive. While it wasn't perfect, it was different. Ultimately the 11-play, 75-yard drive displayed both Joe Flacco and Lamar Jackson running for 13 and 17 yards respectively before Alex Collins dodged several Panthers defenders on his way to a 14-yard touchdown.

Oh, and Justin Tucker nailed the extra point. 

— With that creativity came a lot of poorly executed gadget plays. On a third-and-1 with Jackson under center, the QB ran to his right then attempted a pass to a wide-open Willie Snead. What could have been a huge third-down conversion fell short solely because of a bad throw. That play was followed up by a successful fake punt that was overturned due to an illegal formation penalty. The good field position given to the Panthers after the call resulted in a Christian McCaffrey touchdown to tie the game at seven.

— Running back Alex Collins had his third fumble in eight games. That fumble resulted in a touchdown as well. While the Ravens have typically benched Collins after fumbling, their leading rusher was right back on the field their next drive. He was a vital piece of their late third-quarter touchdown and finished the day with 11 rushing attempts for 49 yards and one touchdown.

— Former Maryland Terrapin wide receiver D.J. Moore gave the Ravens defense trouble all day long. The first-round draft pick finished the day 5-of-6 for 90 yards in addition to 39 rushing yards. 

— The troubles for the Ravens defense didn't stop there. With the Panthers threatening in the red zone, safety Eric Weddle deflected Cam Newton's pass intended for Devin Funchess, but McCaffrey was right there ready to make the diving catch in the end zone to put the Panthers up 21-7. The Ravens' No.1 overall defense gave up 21-points in the first half alone after entering Week 8 allowing just 14.4 points-per-game. 

— The Ravens ended the first half in embarrassing fashion. With five seconds on the clock, backup quarterback Taylor Heinicke found Greg Olsen all alone on the left side of the field for a 13-yard gain before running out of bounds. That set up a 54-yard field goal from Graham Gano with two seconds left in the half and the Panthers went into the locker room at halftime up 24-7.

— The defense was unable to lock up Cam Newton for the entire 60 minutes after Eric Weddle described him as a "fast dinosaur" earlier in the week. Newton finished the day 21-of-29 for 219 yards and two touchdowns. He added 52 rushing yards and one rushing touchdown as well.

— A bright spot late in the game was Jackson's 22-yard touchdown pass to tight end Hayden Hurst. The Ravens' two first-round draft picks provided a glimpse into the future as that was Jackson's first touchdown pass and Hurst's first touchdown catch.


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A big Year 2 ahead, Lamar Jackson isn’t worried about Madden ratings

A big Year 2 ahead, Lamar Jackson isn’t worried about Madden ratings

The number eight is sports royalty in the city of Baltimore thanks to Cal Ripken Jr.

If Lamar Jackson has the career many are hoping for, he’ll be another reason for that one day down the road.

For now, he’s a young, athletic quarterback entering his second season in Charm City. But his successful rookie year hasn’t been reflected in Madden NFL 20’s newest ratings.

Jackson came in with an overall rating of 76, tied for 24th among all quarterbacks. Unsurprisingly, his athleticism is highly-regarded, as he leads all signal-callers in speed, acceleration, agility, and elusiveness.

Questions abound about his throwing abilities, leading to the low rating. But that’s not a concern for Jackson himself.

“I can’t feel no way,” the quarterback told media members prior to throwing out the first pitch at the Orioles-Nationals game Wednesday night. “You know, I don’t make Madden. That’s them. But I feel like our team, we’re going to show ‘em this season.”

Jackson continued to praise the Ravens roster. When asked about the high ratings for teammates like Marquise “Hollywood” Brown and Earl Thomas, Jackson put his thoughts quite succinctly: “We look stacked!”

Of course, with speed and acceleration ratings like Jackson has, it’s fun to imagine how he might fit in on a baseball diamond as well.

“Whew, somewhere in the middle, to make a play,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde decided when asked where the Ravens quarterback might play on his roster.

“I’m looking forward to meeting him. I’m a big football fan, so watched him play a lot. And if he wanted to play center field or up the middle, it’d be great,” Hyde continued.

The speedy quarterback agreed, though it came with a caveat.

“Probably,” Jackson quickly answered when asked about his best fit being center field. “But you know, I’m the Ravens QB right now, so I’m good.”

He doesn’t know what his walk-up song would be if he played baseball, but Jackson was definitive about one thing at least: his hot dog preferences.

“I don’t really eat mustard,” he emphasized. “So I just put ketchup, relish...I just go from there. Pretty standard.”

When he’s not eating hot dogs, Jackson is working hard to build chemistry with his new receiving corps, and he seemed optimistic about the results it will bring on the field.

“Looking pretty good,” he described. “You’ll have to see for yourself.”

Knowing how many dual Orioles and Ravens fans there are in Baltimore, Jackson was also happy to provide a little hope as the city’s attention starts to shift from baseball to football. He gave a message to O’s fans who have sat through months of losing baseball and are looking to the Ravens to bring winning back to the city.

“Look forward to us coming out and balling,” he said. “Can’t say too much right now, [the] season’s not here!”

The Ravens season will be here soon enough, and when it is, Jackson will be ready to go out and show both local and national fans what he can do, regardless of what his Madden rating says.


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Baltimore Ravens Roundup: Sports Illustrated predicts Ravens defense will regress this season

Baltimore Ravens Roundup: Sports Illustrated predicts Ravens defense will regress this season

With training camp just eight days away, here is the latest news surrounding the Baltimore Ravens.

1. The Ravens are expected to have one of the best defenses in the NFL this season, but not the No. 1 ranked. Sports Illustrated's Andy Benoit says he predicts the Ravens defense will actually regress due to the loss of C.J. Mosely and Terrell Suggs in free agency. However, not as much as one would expect, he says.

2. Speaking of defense, Ravens outside linebacker Matthew Judon is entering his contract year. The Athletics' Jeff Zrebiec writes that this upcoming season should be a breakout year for Judon who could make a big impact on defense. 

3. Ravens Training Camp passes are now available. The Ravens have 14 different training camp practices open to the public this season. Claim your tickets and parking pass here or on the Ravens' mobile app.

Looking Ahead:

July 24: Ravens training camp begins. Rookies are set to report a week earlier on Wednesday, July 17. 

The 2019 NFL schedule is set! See the Baltimore Ravens defend the AFC North at M&T Bank Stadium this season. Get your tickets now at www.BaltimoreRavens.com/tickets.

Credit: Rotoworld and Baltimore Ravens for news points.