What We Saw: Ravens at Buccaneers

Let's go over what we saw with the Ravens visiting Tampa Bay on Thursday night

Ravens @ Buccaneers

Final Score: Ravens 27, Buccaneers 22

Writer: Michael James (@MikeoftheFF on Twitter)

 

It’s Thursday night and on this short week, the Buccaneers are looking to spark their stagnant offense against the Ravens and their high-profile rushing attack.  The pirate ship looming over Raymond James Stadium, Tampa Bay brings their passing offense which is 7th best in the league against Baltimore and their 5th ranked rushing offense to bear.

The Ravens take the opening kickoff to start the drive and immediately come out with two passes right to Mark Andrews looking beat his fantasy performance last week of a whole zero points.  The third pass would get broken up and the Ravens would punt over to Tampa Bay.  Then – Disaster!  Their own man runs into the receiver and Baltimore recovers the fumble to keep the drive alive first and goal for the Ravens!  But a broken-up pass for Andrews on third down brought on Justin Tucker to put the Ravens on the board for three points.  While the Ravens came out of the gate firing through the air, the Buccaneers would look to keep it on the ground looking to Leonard Fournette to break through the line for a first down setting up for a play action hitting a catch-and-run to Chris Godwin up the sideline for 44 yards taking them into the red zone.  A defensive penalty later would set up first and goal for a couple of rushes by Fournette to punch it through to put Tampa Bay on the board for 7 points!

 

 

Tampa Bay would come back on their next drive using a 23-yard deep ball from Tom Brady to Mike Evans to get them toward midfield where they would execute a series of short out passes to run up the sidelines to the red zone and set up Ryan Succop to add 3 points onto their lead over Baltimore.  Four punts later, Baltimore finally got something going by completely abandoning the run and just throwing 8 straight passes, with all of the completions short gains to move the chains but coming up on a 4th and 2 in the red zone only for the pass to be deflected away from Demarcus Robinson in the end zone for a turnover on downs.

 

 

Brady looked to get going in the two-minute drill after connecting on a 28-yard pass into triple coverage to Evans, but would eat back-to-back sacks by Justin Houston to break the all-time sacked record for a quarterback, a record that was previously held by Ben Roethlisberger. The staff then scrambled to hide all the tablets on the sideline to keep Brady from breaking those too.  The Ravens weren’t done yet, as they would drive the two-minute drill as well, riding a 15-yard penalty by the Buccaneers’ defense to get them just inside Tucker’s range to attempt a 61-yard attempt.  Despite the broadcast’s best attempts to hype it up, Tampa Bay would end up blocking it, sending us to half-time.

We only have 50 yards combined rushing between the two teams, but both quarterbacks are closing in on 150 yards passing each at the half.  Despite the passing, we have not seen any scoring since early in the first quarter from both teams in what looks to be yet another Thursday night barn burner of a game.  To make matters worse, Andrews has left early to the locker room and is questionable to return.  Excuse me while I make some coffee if I have any hope to make it to the end of the game awake.

 

 

The Ravens come out the exact opposite of how they started the game, running the ball on the ground taking their drive of 9 plays down the field from the opening kick-off.   Running it 6 out of 7 plays to get into the red zone set up a Jackson play action to Kenyan Drake for a 5-yard touchdown pass to tie the game at 10.  After the Buccaneers stalled out at midfield, Baltimore takes the ball back on a punt to start their next drive.  They do a simple copy-paste of running it down the field using five different rushers seven times to once again get down the field to the red zone where Jackson would use his feet to buy time to find Isaiah Likely crossing the back of the end zone for the touchdown to put the Ravens up by 7 as we cross over to the fourth quarter.

 

 

Taking the ensuing possession from the kickoff, the drive moves just 10 yards forward on four plays before Brady stepped forward to launch the ball down the sideline for a 51-yard completion to Evans. That spark would, unfortunately, fizzle out quickly, with 2 incompletions and a hard-to-watch Brady scramble to the sideline for a 1 yard gain.  Succop would then put the ball through the uprights to cut the Ravens’ lead down to 4.  With the momentum behind the Baltimore running game, they would start at their own 17-yard line and run for 5 first downs on six plays to get down the field fast with control of the clock.  This time in the red zone, Devin Duvernay would take the handoff 15 yards into the end zone to put the Ravens up 24 to 13.

 

 

Getting the ball back with time running out, Brady took control, running a hurry-up no-huddle drive with 4 passes and the only rush to convert a third and short.  The fifth pass went deep for Scotty Miller, which drew a big pass interference, to take them into the red zone where they would stumble and settle for another field goal to cut it to 24-16.  8 of the 9 plays were passes as the running game has all but been abandoned outside of third and short plays at this point.  The Ravens would continue what has been working for them by using Drake’s 40-yard gain to put them into Tucker’s range to regain their 11-point lead.  The Ravens donate another 15 yards on a defensive penalty, setting up Brady at midfield with a fresh set of downs.  Continuing with the no-huddle offense, they throw the ball 11 times, culminating in an 8-yard touchdown pass to Julio Jones to take them within 5.

 

 

Unfortunately, their luck ran out as the 2-point conversion, which was re-done after a penalty from the 1-yard line, failed both attempts, and the onside kick was recovered by the Ravens to end the game 27-22.  The Ravens move to first place in the AFC North and The Buccaneers seal the NFC South’s fate for some real chaos this season that might have us seeing Atlanta or Carolina in first place after this weekend is done!

 

Baltimore Ravens

 

Quarterback

 

Lamar Jackson: 27/38, 238 Yards, 2 TD | 9 Carries, 43 Yards

 

The Ravens’ game plan was to come out passing and Lamar Jackson ended the first half alone on 19 of 30, passing for 144 yards which is more than he’s had in the entirety of a couple of games this season.  This is also the most he has ever thrown in a half in his entire career.  Uncharacteristically, this Ravens’ offense was to pass first, pass again, and then attempt a run.  The first handoff of the game came on the Ravens’ third drive.  These were short passes averaging under 4.8 yards per pass for the half.  I cannot say the run wasn’t working, because they weren’t trying to run it.  There were a couple of plays where he had an open field in front of him but was still looking to get the ball out as if the Ravens were attempting to get some practice in for games where the run wouldn’t be working for them.

He would go on to throw only 8 more completions for 94 yards in the second half, adding two touchdowns as the Ravens wrangled control of the game and didn’t let up.  The noteworthy thing, those 8 completions were on 8 attempts.  He didn’t have a single incomplete pass in the second half.  This was a spotlight game for Jackson who didn’t need to run and threw it really well against a Tampa Bay defense.  Keep in mind, that was without Mark Andrews and Rashod Bateman.  Now, Shaq Barrett did cause some problems in the first half but he would exit the game with an injury to start the second half, taking that problem out of the equation.  After the kneel-downs were accounted for, he had 43 yards rushing, with another 14-yard run for a first down negated by a holding penalty.

 

 

Running Back

 

Gus Edwards: 11 Carries, 65 Yards

Kenyan Drake: 7 Carries, 62 Yards | 4 Targets, 4 Receptions, 5 Yards, TD

Justice Hill: 4 Carries, 28 Yards

 

The Ravens’ rushing attack was shelved for the first half as they only had 5 carries by a non-quarterback.  Gus Edwards was playing his second game in five days, but before that hadn’t played football since the ’20 season.  However, he did not look tired at all and ran the ball hard ending his day with almost 6 YPC.  His day did end early though, as he injured his hamstring early in the 4th quarter.  He was able to walk off without help and according to initial reports is not considered a “serious” injury, but official tests and diagnosis will come tomorrow.  Before taking over as the lead ball carrier, Kenyan Drake had only rushed it two times up to that point in the third quarter, with five more in the fourth quarter.  He was the running back to catch the ball at all stages of the game, however, having 3 catches in the first half and a fourth touchdown catch in the second half.  If he is the clear back next week, he should be very effective.

 

 

Wide Receiver/Tight End

 

Isaiah Likely: 7 Targets, 6 Receptions, 77 Yards, TD

Demarcus Robinson: 8 Targets, 6 Receptions, 64 Yards

Mark Andrews: 5 Targets, 3 Receptions, 33 Yards

Devin Duvernay: 4 Targets, 4 Receptions, 31 Yards | 2 Carries, 33 Yards, TD

James Proche II: 4 Targets, 3 Receptions, 24 Yards

Josh Oliver: 1 Target, 1 Reception, 4 Yards

 

Mark Andrews was questionable coming into tonight’s game and got all of his work early in the first half.  With three targets on the first drive and a fourth in the end zone of the second drive, he would only get one more at the top of the second quarter before exiting the game after rolling over and injuring his shoulder.  Rashod Bateman also came into tonight questionable and had his only target toward the end of the first half before injuring his foot.  With the prior injury concerns coming into the matchup already, the decision was made to pull them both from the game, and afterward, coach Harbaugh called both injuries “minor”.

This opened the door for Isaiah Likely who slid comfortably into the role as the pass-catching tight end, hauling in 6 of his 7 targets including one in the end zone with a great-looking catch for the touchdown.  If the number one tight end can’t go next game, he will be Likely to fill in as his replacement  (I apologize for nothing).  I would look to add him as my backup on teams that have Andrews.  They tried to exploit Tampa Bay’s banged-up corners by seeking matchups that had Demarcus Robinson against the second stringer, working the sidelines of the field.  5 of his 6 receptions came on the right sideline and looked good picking up targets in Bateman’s absence.  He had one end zone target but was well covered for the incompletion.  Devin Duvernay had a 15-yard rushing touchdown in the fourth quarter.

 

 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

 

Quarterback

 

Tom Brady: 26/44, 325 Yards, TD | 1 Carry, -1 Yard

 

Tom Brady had time to sit in the pocket in the first quarter and with that, had 142 yards before half-time, averaging over 8 yards per pass.  Most telling, however, is that 102 of those yards came on their first two scoring drives.  After that though, it was brutal.  The Buccaneers would go on 5 straight drives ending in a punt, three of them without a single first down.  He would then shift to a no-huddle offense to get the ball moving using short sideline passes to set up a long attempt that either resulted in moving across midfield in one pass or at least drawing a penalty to set them up to sustain their drive for points.  Yet, they still hit brick walls in the red zone settling for 3 points despite numerous end-zone passing attempts.  It wasn’t until the final drive of the game that running the 2-minute drill and taking a roughing the passer penalty set them up for Brady’s only touchdown throw in the game.  Justin Houston rewarded Brady’s longevity of his career by making him the most-sacked quarterback in league history tonight at the end of the first half.

 

 

Running Back

 

Leonard Fournette: 9 Carries, 24 Yards, TD | 3 Targets, 3 Receptions, 34 Yards

Rachaad White: 4 Carries, 19 Yards | 3 Targets, 3 Receptions, 24 Yards

 

Tampa Bay ended the first half with 10 carries.  Leonard Fournette had six of his eight first-half carries on the first two scoring drives and after that, if you’re not picking up first downs, you’re not running the ball that much either.  He would record his final carry in the third quarter and wouldn’t come back into the game until the fourth quarter where he drew a costly false start penalty that took them out of going for it on 4th and goal to settle for the field goal.  He did catch 2 of his 3 passes on the final drive of the game.  Otherwise, after his touchdown run on the first drive, it went downhill real fast for him.

Rachaad White had two carries in each half and three catches including a 20-yard catch and run in the third quarter.  Interesting, White was the one in there for Brady’s no-huddle drives.  When the Buccaneers had a penalty to move the two-point conversion to the 1-yard line, it was White who got the carry attempt (failed).  I’m sure smarter people can digest this and tell you why, but when the pressure was mounting, White was the one that was out there more than Fournette.  Ultimately, the running game was just flat abandoned for yet another game, but at least yielded a touchdown for Fournette owners.

 

 

 

Wide Receiver/Tight End

 

Mike Evans: 11 Targets, 6 Receptions, 123 Yards

Chris Godwin: 11 Targets, 6 Receptions, 75 Yards

Julio Jones: 4 Targets, 2 Receptions, 21 Yards, TD

Cade Otton: 5 Targets, 2 Receptions, 15 Yards

Scotty Miller: 2 Targets, 2 Receptions, 13 Yards

Breshad Perriman: 1 Target, 1 Reception, 11 Yards

Ko Kieft: 1 Target, 1 Reception, 9 Yards

 

Another week, another Mike Evans deep ball going right through his hands.  He also had some confusion or miscommunication on a few crucial routes that almost added two interceptions to Brady’s stat line, one being on a deep ball, and the other in the end zone where the ball was coming to him but he wasn’t not even looking for it.  That is on top of two more end zone targets, one he caught out of bounds, and the other just out of his reach.  That’s the bad.  The good is his stat line of double-digit targets with over 120 yards receiving.  He did a lot for your team, but it also looked like he left a lot on the field that would have probably given this game a different result as well.  Chris Godwin excelled out of the slot tonight going for 3 catches in each half, most of his yards coming in the first half including a massive catch and run over the middle for 44 yards setting up the first touchdown.  When it became no-huddle time, Godwin faded only seeing one target in each drive.

Julio Jones came out in the second half after not seeing a single touch in the first half.  He did have a token rush attempt in the middle of the third quarter, otherwise, his work was in the fourth quarter during the no-huddle offense, having two end zone targets, one almost being picked off on a bad decision by Brady, and a second on a catch and run for the touchdown.  Without Cameron Brate, Tampa Bay relied on their backups, with Cade Otton getting a majority of the targets including one end zone target defended, and a second caught for the touchdown but was negated by a holding penalty.  Kyle Rudolph saw his only target of the night in the end zone as well, but Brady threw it too far out ahead of him.

This offense put up a good first quarter of football and a decent fourth quarter with a whole lot of nothing in between.  So many failed end zone targets tonight resulting in settling for field goals, drops the Buccaneers to the 29th-ranked red zone offense this season.  (They were 5th in 2020 and 2021)

 

 

Photo by Mark Alberti/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Justin Paradis (@justparadesigns on Twitter)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.