A Deep Dive into Destruction: How the Ravens Beat Jacksonville
With the season winding down, a question being asked is "Who will win the Cy Young award?"
Author Ryan Potts, deconstructs the Baltimore Ravens beating the Jacksonville Jaguars 29-0 in their opening preseason game.
The offense had some shaky moments and was only able to punch in one touchdown, but as a whole, the offensive personnel looked solid.
Defensively, the unit put on a showcase. Of the 14 times that Jacksonville had a third down, the Ravens allowed a first down just twice. The Jags failed to extend any drive beyond 30 yards and did not reach the Raven’s side of the field. Cyrus Jones and Bennett Jackson recorded interceptions, and Jones returned his interception for a touchdown.
On special teams, both Justin Tucker and Sam Koch made successful appearances as Tucker nailed a 52-yard field goal and Koch pinned the Jaguars inside the five with his lone punt. After Tucker and Koch gave way to Kaare Vedvik, it was business as usual. Vedvik drained four field goals and a pair of extra points. The most impressive kick of the night was a 55-yard bomb from the right leg of Vedvik. Vedvik also covered punting duties, launching a pair of 50-yard punts. While Vedvik has no opportunity to kick or punt during the regular season (barring injury), he certainly increased his trade value for a team like the Chicago Bears or New York Jets.
Moving deeper into the offense, it was a mixed bag from the quarterbacks. Lamar Jackson went four-for-six with 59 yards and a touchdown to Willie Snead. 30 of those yards came on a majestic arc to Chris Moore down the right side of the field. Jackson looked poised in the pocket and progressed through his reads to find receivers. While Jackson was most likely told not to run around and risk injury, he showed promise in the pocket.
For Trace McSorley, the day was not as simple. He completed nine of 22 passes for just 85 yards and an interception. He also added 16 yards on three carries, showcasing a simplified version of the potential offense. McSorley found a solid connection with Miles Boykin who hauled in three straight passes at the end of the first half before the third one was called back for holding. McSorley is incredibly raw as a quarterback prospect, but he did look solid on the move.
Joe Callahan threw four passes for Baltimore, completing three. Callahan is certainly just a body for training camp, but he did not have a particularly glistening performance. His one errant throw was a sure-fire interception in the end zone, but it was dropped.
In the running game, no back established much of a rhythm. On 36 total carries, the Ravens ran for 125 yards, an average of 3.5 yards per carry. Rookie Justice Hill had 10 carries for 33 yards, leading the team in both categories. Hill looked the most explosive of the bunch on a 14-yard reception.
Of the other backs who could feature for the Ravens in 2019, Mark Ingram did not play; Gus Edwards gained just 12 yards on six carries and Kenneth Dixon turned in 21 yards on four carries.
De’Lance Turner broke the longest run of the game, a 21-yard scamper.
In the receiving corps, only Miles Boykin, Chris Moore, and Sean Modster caught multiple balls. Boykin had a pair of drops, but he turned in an effective shift at the end of the first half as he caught three straight passes, but the third one was called back. Moore caught two passes early for 48 yards, and he added a nine-yard run. Modster looked like an effective slot receiver as he pulled in all three of his targets for 17 yards.
For the defensive line, Pat Ricard was the standout. Ricard recorded a pair of sacks and had active hands on the interior of the line, batting down a pass.
In the linebacking corps, Kenny Young had a terrific performance. He recorded six tackles and had the highlight of the day with a ridiculous hit on Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew.
For the secondary, Cyrus Jones had the play of the game with a 19-yard interception return touchdown.
It is just a preseason game, but the defense looked fine-tuned and prepared. The offense lacked a killer instinct, settling for five field goals and just one touchdown. It was a fairly clean game in terms of penalties, but there was one special team’s lapse (which was wiped away by a Jacksonville penalty).
The game marks the 14th consecutive preseason win for the Ravens.
The Ravens will now travel to Green Bay for a game on August 15th.