What We Saw: Week 1

The What We Saw team recaps everything you missed from this week's action

Texans @ Ravens

Final Score: Ravens 25, Texans 9

Writer: Jason Wolf (@J_Wolf_Picks on Twitter)


This game was one of the least exciting games of the week as both offenses struggled to find consistency throughout most of the game. As expected, the Texans struggled to find a groove with a rookie QB making his first start under a rookie Head Coach but more surprising was the staleness of the Ravens offense throughout the first half. Much was made about the revamping of the Baltimore Ravens’ offense over the offseason, as what was supposed to be a raucous coming out party for Todd Monken’s new offense was more like a leisurely stroll on the beach filled with plenty of stops to stare at the water. Other than all the punts, penalties, and Baltimore injuries (the Ravens lost JK Dobbins for the season while Ronnie Stanley, Tyler Linderbaum, and Marcus Williams all left the game), one bright spot was Baltimore’s rookie WR Zay Flowers, who was electrifying all game.

Three Up

  • Zay Flowers – Rookie looks like the lead WR in Baltimore. Peppered with targets all over the field + electric playmaker.
  • Gus Edwards – With Dobbins’ season-ending injury, the Gus Bus looks to roll on strong.
  • Nico Collins – Led the team with 11 targets and consistently found weak spots in Ravens’ defense. Appears to be Stroud’s go to guy after Week 1.

Three Down

  • Odell Beckham Jr. – Failed to gain separation on majority of routes. Will be better days but Zay Flowers looks like the alpha here.
  • Dalton Schultz – 44 pass attempts for Stroud and only four targets for Schultz. Not the role we had all imagined for him.
  • Dameon Pierce – Violent runner who is hard to bring down but looks like he will have very little room to run this year behind that abysmal offensive line.


Houston Texans




CJ Stroud: 28/44, 242 Yards | 4 Carries, 20 Yards, 1 Fumble (Lost)


CJ Stroud was generally impressive in his first NFL start, which is particularly noteworthy considering he was given the tall order of going on the road into M&T Bank Stadium for his first game, a notoriously difficult place for rookies to play. Right from the jump he was under pressure the entire afternoon, constantly facing a collapsing pocket and operating under duress. Between the Texans’ offensive line being dominated thoroughly resulting in countless pressures and offensive holding penalties and uninspired offensive playcalling, Stroud had a lot to overcome. His numbers were not eye popping by any means but watching the game, I came away surprised by his overall poise, accuracy, mobility, and intangibles.

I was most impressed with his toughness in the pocket. Stroud did an excellent job of staying in the pocket even when pressure is coming and delivering balls where they need to be. He also displayed excellent maturity and leadership skills, remaining calm and cool through numerous positive plays offset by offensive holding penalties as well as maintaining perfect body language before/after plays and in the huddle.


  • He was never much of a rushing QB in college but he does have the athleticism to make more use of his legs. There were times where he could have avoided pressure / incompletions if he was decisive and used his legs to escape the pocket, which he is clearly capable of by his unexpected elusiveness and speed.
  • Shows excellent ability to read defenses and anticipate exactly when/where receivers will be open.
  • Accuracy on the run is pretty solid,
  • Impressive accuracy on throws in traffic / down the middle.
  • When given time to operate, shows strong ability to go through progressions and hit 2nd/3rd read.
  • He’s got nice zip on the intermediate ball, partly why he’s so accurate on throws in traffic.
  • Excels in play action.
  • Showed subpar accuracy on deep throws.
  • Room for improvement on sideline throws
  • Questionable decision making when under pressure but

Missed Opportunities

  • On 2nd & 7, Texans run PA and Stroud had Robert Woods wide open 20 yards down the field but Stroud was off target, throwing it too wide. Instead of big 1st down, they end up punting.
  • 1st & 10 with 20 seconds left in the half and Stroud had an open Nico Collins on the sideline for a 15 yard gain but missed him for an incompletion. Not the easiest throw but one that is expected to be made often in 2 minute offenses.
  • 2nd & 6 (9:00, 3Q), the pocket collapses on a Play Action pass design and Stroud backpedaled and threw it to receiver behind the LOS for a loss of yards when he could have easily stepped up into / through the collapsing pocket for a better receiving option or for a small gain using his feet.
  • On Stroud’s sack/fumble in the 4Q, he showed no awareness of oncoming rush. Could have escaped pocket by stepping through to the right but got sacked and lost the ball instead.


Running Back


Dameon Pierce: 11 Carries, 38 Yards | 3 Targets, 2 Receptions, 9 Yards


The game script couldn’t have been much worse as Pierce was going up against a run-stuffing team as the Texans were 10 point underdogs. This was always going to be one of Pierce’s worst games of the year. Even though the box score is absolutely nothing to blink twice at, watching Dameon Pierce carry the rock is always a pleasure. He runs hard as hell, makes guys miss, and fights for extra yards. When the score was within reach, the Texans were adamant on running the ball with Pierce as it wasn’t until they were down 2 scores that they started to go away from running with Pierce. Playcalling on the Texans’ side was uninspired to say the least. Nearly every run with Pierce is between the tackles and it makes the Texans’ offense predictable. He had a couple nice runs but it was tough sledding all day for Pierce and the Texans’ ground game.


  • Runs angry in open field when given the chance but those opportunities are rarely afforded.
  • Rarely gets brought down by first contact
  • Surprising shiftiness, most obvious in the backfield where he routinely makes one or more guys miss.

Missed Opportunities

  • This is on more of the coaching here but why is Pierce only playing 46% of snaps and only 13% on 3rd down? He is one of the most skilled position player on the team (probably #1) and very hard to bring down. I think not playing Pierce on 3rd down is a mistake by the Texans and if they involve him in the passing game more then their offense will become less predictable.


Devin Singletary: 7 Carries, 15 Yards

Mike Boone: 4 Targets, 3 Receptions, 18 Yards


Wide Receiver/Tight End


Nico Collins: 11 Targets, 6 Receptions, 80 Yards


Nico Collins was seemingly getting open all game as he was routinely able to find the soft spots in the Ravens’ defense. Perception is that he is just a slot receiver but he was running routes all over the field, with more than half of them covering 10+ yards. Granted, Stroud was forced to throw 44 times due to game script, and that probably represents the upper limit of his target threshold, however, there was plenty meat left on the bone as a couple of Collins’ targets were off target.


  • If it’s 3rd down, Stroud is looking for Collins.

  • Collins’ ability to gain separation stands out. He’s slippery

Missed Opportunities

  • Nothing to pin on Collins. He was open on a sideline route for a nice chunk gain but Stroud missed him.


Robert Woods: 10 Targets, 6 Receptions, 57 Yards


Woods was a safety blanket for CJ Stroud in the first half, as he picked up multiple first downs in the second quarter when the Texans had none through the first. Before Stroud got into a groove with Collins, he was looking to Robert Woods as his safety blanket. Woods’ routes were shallower than Collins and I think this explains why Stroud was looking toward Woods’ way in the first half as he was getting into the feel of things and then started looking to Collins more in the second half as he gained confidence.


  • Still has great hands
  • Savvy vet WR who is excellent presence for Stroud. Timing with Stroud on routes seems solid.

Missed Opportunities

  • Dropped an easy ball on a WR screen where he had 4 blockers and 2 defenders in front of him. What could have been a chunk gain on 2nd & 16 was a dropped pass. 


Tank Dell: 4 Targets, 3 Receptions, 34 Yards

Dalton Schultz: 4 Targets, 2 Receptions, 4 Yards


Somewhat aggressively hyped by the fantasy football community, Schultz’ Texans debut was a total dud. CJ Stroud threw the ball 44 times under a completely negative game script, and Schultz only saw four targets, catching two balls for four yards. Not exactly a useful statline for fantasy owners or the Texans’ offense.


  • aDOT (average depth of target) was awful.
  • %routes ran was terrible.
  • Cowboys should trade for him

Missed Opportunities

  • Had a dropped pass which should have been caught for almost 10 yards.


Teagan Quitoriano: 1 Target, 1 Reception, 11 Yards

Xavier Hutchinson: 1 Target, 1 Reception, 9 Yards

Noah Brown: 1 Carry, -1 Yard | 4 Targets, 3 Receptions, 20 Yards


Baltimore Ravens




Lamar Jackson: Lamar Jackson: 17/22, 169 Yards, INT | 6 Carries, 38 Yards, 1 Fumble (Lost)


I was really looking forward to the visual feast on the eyes that a return to 2019 MVP Lamar Jackson brings, and yet what we were treated to was essentially a tiny sampling of a vegetable platter from Costco (just to be clear, this is not Costco slander). It was kinda like when you’re expecting the dark liquid in your cup to be Coke when it’s actually black coffee. Instead of 2019 MVP Lamar, we got an uncharacteristically sloppy effort from Jackson. Granted, he was mostly efficient and accurate when throwing the ball but he made numerous mental mistakes and lapses in judgement that the Ravens may be able to get away with vs. the Texans, but might come back to haunt them against better teams.

Even though he looked dangerous as ever when running with the ball, there was a noticeable lack of designed run plays. Greg Roman offense this is surely not as Monken’s offense has Lamar running a more uptempo, quick hitting offense that gives Lamar more control over everything on the field. This can be both an amazing and not great thing as it’s his improvability and natural instinct which makes him so dangerous but also so prone to mistakes. Lamar did look great when passing the ball for what it’s worth, dropping dimes in the intermediate game and zipping the ball with accuracy.


  • No matter how much I watch him, he never ceases to amaze when escaping the pocket. Jaw dropping jukes and insane instincts inside of and feel for the pocket.
  • Played a little careless, holding the ball much too far outside of his body, almost resulting in a turnover, as well as fumbling the ball in the 4Q when he literally just dropped the ball.
  • Where are the designed runs?? Ravens need to incorporate that to some degree.
  • Some questionable decisions under pressure. Could be first game back from injury yips or could just be him playing overconfident against a weak team.
  • Dropped an absolute dime to OBJ. Lamar’s deep ball remains one of the most under-appreciated in the league.

Missed Opportunities

  • On Lamar’s interception midway through the first quarter, Rashod Bateman was open at the top of his route for a gain that would put them well inside the RZ but instead forced it to Zay Flowers who was thoroughly covered.
  • On 2nd & 10 (11:10, 4Q) Lamar had a receiver open for a medium gain but kept the ball and unnecessarily steps up in the pocket instead, putting himself directly into a traffic jam  and losing yards instead of a positive play. Early pressure caused poor decision.


Running Back


JK Dobbins: 8 Carries, 22 Yards, TD | 3 Targets, 2 Receptions, 15 Yards


JK Dobbins was heavily involved in the offense before going down with what is believed to be a torn achilles. He was catching passes, having runs dialed up for him every which way, and scored a nice TD, showing that he had regained some pre injury form.


  • He’s done for the season sadly with another devastating injury.

Missed Opportunities

  • His NFL career?


Gus Edwards: 8 Carries, 32 Yards


Gus Bus always runs hard. He will now be the lead back in Baltimore.


Justice Hill: 8 Carries, 9 Yards, 2 TD


Significantly smaller than Gus Edwards but they preferred him for goal-to-go situations in this one. He had three goal line carries, another from within the 10, and another from the 14, plus one on the last drive. Otherwise, Edwards was the “lead back” everywhere else on the field after the Dobbins injury. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.


  • Has a nose for the endzone.


Wide Receiver/Tight End


Zay Flowers: 2 Carries, 9 Yards | 10 Targets, 9 Receptions, 78 Yards


Zay Flowers was the real bright spot of the game, flashing his speed, elusiveness, and YAC ability nearly every time he touched the ball. Lamar was looking his way from start to finish and every time the Ravens needed a play to give them a spark, he was there to do exactly that. The stadium was electric every time he touched the ball. It appears the Ravens have finally hit on a receiver as he was doing work on all levels of the field, not just the deep routes he is known for. He was being targeted on screens, outs, intermediate balls, everything.


  • Designed run plays called for Flowers. His usage is looking very promising.
  • Singlehandedly carried the offense on their first drive of the 2H, resulting in them marching down the field for a TD.
  • Turns nothing into something.
  • Flowers is even deadly as a decoy as defenses have to seriously account for him when he goes in motion. One of Hill’s TD’s is half due to Flowers’ gravity from going in motion pre-snap.


Odell Beckham Jr.: 3 Targets, 2 Receptions, 37 Yards


Probably the most expensive WR3 signing of all time, OBJ was almost entirely invisible throughout the first half as his name was only called due to drawing a DPI in the 2Q. He didn’t record a catch until the end of the third quarter but he did show that he still has elite hands as the degree of difficulty on his two receptions were fairly high. One thing I did notice was that at least right now, he is having trouble creating separation from the DB’s but could change as he rounds into more conditioned game shape.


  • Seems to be at least the third (maybe even fourth) option on offense, considering Andrews’ imminent return.
  • Savvy veteran moves to draw two defensive PI’s.


Rashod Bateman: 3 Targets, 3 Receptions, 35 Yards


Looking healthy as ever, Bateman seems poised to have a fine year as he was doing a good job creating separation from the Texans’ DB’s and he was coming down with tough catches in traffic. Bateman seems to be playing the possession receiver role in this offense which he is perfectly tailored for. Not much was asked of Bateman this game but granted Lamar did not throw that much, Bateman’s usage is encouraging.


  • Great hands
  • Reminds me of the Anquan Boldin role for the Ravens.


Isaiah Likely: 1 Target, 1 Reception, 4 Yards


Only one target for Likely because Lamar only threw it 22 times. Even with Andrews sitting, Likely was the #4 target. Between turnovers gifting the Ravens short fields, low passing volume, and using Likely in a blocking role to keep the ground game going, there just wasn’t enough to go around for Likely to get involved in this game.

I also suspect that the Ravens were holding a lot of the offense back for next week’s game against the Bengals. We shall see if that is the case.


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