The Baltimore Ravens managed to shake off last week’s defeat to the New York Giants by coming out on top against the Cleveland Browns. However, it was not without its usual moments and episodes of drama for the Maryland organization.
The team managed to obtain a 23-20 victory in Week 7 when playing in front of a home crowd, thus climbing to 4-3 on the season, but they remain tied for the lead in the AFC North as the Cincinnati Bengals also managed to obtain victory after dispatching the Atlanta Falcons 35-17 on Sunday.
Nonetheless, there were still a number of takeaways from the victory against the Browns that the Ravens could take, with some perhaps a little more concerning than others for the football team and its fans.
While the Baltimore Ravens managed to find a way to win, they still did it in a way where that watching will never have been comfortable until the clock had expired. Indeed, the team has become known for blowing fourth-quarter leads, especially having been able to obtain double-figure leads in the process.
Justin Tucker made it a 10-point game with 11:24 on the clock left, making it a nervous time, having lost three games in similar scenarios and a feeling of “not again” will have certainly been crossing everyone’s minds when the next drive went for a touchdown to the Browns before fumbling the ball when they had it on offense the next play. Nonetheless, the team managed to get the job done when it mattered.
The Ravens have been hit with injuries over the last couple of NFL seasons, but they have been taking their time to integrate players into the roster this season. The game against the Browns was Gus Edwards’ first since the knee injury sustained last season, and he immediately paid dividends for the team.
The running back showed that the team had missed his physicality in the run game, and he rewarded them with two touchdowns, carrying for 66 yards on 16 attempts, thus averaging 4.1 yards per carry. He can do a lot of damage for the team, especially as the offensive line is blocking at its best currently.
Now, the word “without” might be a little out of context here, as Mark Andrews actually played the game against the Cleveland Browns. However, you would be forgiven if you did not notice him, as he did not have a single catch on the day. Furthermore, he was only targeted by Lamar Jackson on two occasions.
Indeed, there will have been many that will have been betting on the tight end to have a big game on Sunday, with many perhaps flocking to the available online sportsbooks ahead of and during the match given his importance to the team.
With some rather competitive odds at BetRivers Sportsbook in Maryland, it would not have been a huge surprise if many had been looking at Andrews as a potential proposition bet and one that many may consider in future weeks, too.
However, as we know, the tight end was practically anonymous in the game, which is why bettors may have wanted to look elsewhere, although this was not down to the player’s own doing.
Of course, the Browns did everything they could to limit this option, but with offensive coordinator Greg Roman recognizing this, the Ravens managed to find a way to dig deep and utilize the playbook to ensure they could get the win; something that the team will likely have to do in games to come as we all know the threat Andrews has as a receiver.
Justin Houston was another player to have been hit with injury, but he also made a triumphant return to the Ravens’ roster in the game against the Browns, as he contributed to a season-high five sacks, having got back-to-back sacks in the final drive of the first half.
Patrick Queen, Calais Campbell, and Kyle Hamilton also managed to get a sack each, and while it is was only one more than the four recorded against the Giants, it was clear that the pass rush has started to get better and become as dominant as it should be for a team with the roster that the Ravens has.
Unfortunately, the victory against the Browns should not be without pointing out the fact that there were still some offensive issues that need to be sorted out by John Harbaugh and his team. The Ravens have struggled when it comes down to the Red-zone, with the team finding it difficult to convert their drives into touchdowns.
The team saw their first three drives of the game end up struggling to go any further once they entered the final 20 yards of the field, having to finish with three field goals from Justin Tucker. Nonetheless, the next two drives that entered the red zone were converted for TDs, although many will want to see some improvement in this area of the field moving forward.
The Baltimore Ravens are on a short week in Week 8, as they will face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Thursday Night Football in a game that will undoubtedly be tough, especially as the organization from Florida and a certain Tom Brady were humiliated by the Carolina Panthers 21-3 on Sunday.
However, with a win against their AFC North rivals last week, the Ravens will be feeling confident that they can extend their record to 5-3, especially as they are starting to see a number of improvements throughout the team.
They will, though, need to ensure they do not give the GOAT a chance of being able to add another fourth-quarter collapse to their season, while they will also perhaps need to find a way in which they can get Andrews free and utilize him more than they did on Sunday.
After the Bucs, a Monday Night Football contest against the New Orleans Saints is next, before they get their BYE week in Week 10.
There are certainly a number of positives that the Ravens can take from the win against the Browns on Sunday, while there are a few takeaways that Harbaugh and his roster of players need to continue to work on.
With the Bucs up next on Thursday and the Saints the week after on Monday, they might want to get these things sorted as quickly as possible if they want to enter the BYE week in a good position.