What we learned from the Ravens’ win over the Buccaneers on Thursday night

FULL BOX RESULTS

  1. Ravens got out of hand in the first half before turning it around. “Ravens Football” has been synonymous with running the ball for a minute. Not every play. Not in every critical situation. But it was the basis of the attack, which was (theoretically) tailored to Lamar Jackson’s strengths. And that’s what made the Ravens’ offensive approach so confusing in the first half: They had a 32-7 pass-run ratio, counting the two sacks, and that was when Mark Andrews was injured early in the second quarter. It was even more shocking considering the Panthers overran that Bucs defense four days earlier. Part of that was because of who the Ravens had healthy (and who didn’t), but you just knew it couldn’t be sustained at this rate. And what do you know? On Baltimore’s first game of the second half, Jackson launched on a zone read for 25 yards. They drove it five times in a row in that drive, and it ended in a game-winning touchdown. The second half was a classic Ravens offense, although some of the names on the shirts were very different. It helped them pull off a major road win in a short week.
  2. Are the buccaneers cooked? Thursday night games tend to favor the home team due to the short week and the benefits that come with the freedom to travel. And make no mistake: both sides hobbled into this game due to injuries and some tough final games. But after a 10-3 lead, Tampa Bay looked absolutely gassed. The offensive punched six times in a row, a streak that began after the goal on the first two drives. And the defense allowed three touchdown drives — the shortest of which was 77 yards — to a Ravens offense without battering their two top pass catchers and top running back. Blocking was listless. The tackle was cruel. And the energy was zero. Then came the misconceptions. Tom Brady had the Bucs down within the Ravens’ 10-yard line with just under six minutes left, 24-13. Two glaring penalties later and Tampa had to kick the field goal, and they never had another shot to win after that. The Bucs are 3-5 and suddenly in serious trouble.
  3. Baltimore’s ‘unlikely’ source of power on offense. Tight End in Coastal Carolina Isaiah probably was a popular study among Draft Twitter hives, and it’s fair to say we can salute this crew. Back in the preseason, Likely was a standout with 12 catches for 144 yards and a score, and the thought was that the Ravens could have the kind of two-headed TE attack that would almost take them into the market for the better part of two Decades would have been cornered. Prior to Thursday, Likely hadn’t even topped his preseason, earning totals in seven games. But in this game he looked like a star-to-be, hitting six of his seven goals for 77 yards and a beautiful TD from behind the end zone. With Andrews out of the game early in the second quarter, Likely showed up. Once Andrews returns to the field, we’d like to see more “12-Person” packs with Likely and Andrews converging routes. It could be the next big Ravens duo at the position one day.
  4. Tom Brady missed a couple of layups on Thursday. Brady’s nightmare season rolled in on Thursday. If you hadn’t watched a single play of the game and just looked at his stat line (26 passes of 44, 325 yards, TD), you might assume the Bucs killed themselves with penalties and turnovers. But they really didn’t. And of course, this game wasn’t just about Brady’s execution. But his tendency to miss layup shots is almost mind-boggling. You watch something so automatic for so long and it just gets bizarre. There the lintel was wide open Mike Evans in the end zone early in the game. Throwing the ball onto the turf in the third quarter, a solid four yards from his goal. Then there were back-to-back plays in the fourth quarter: a fall too KyleRudolf in the end zone, immediately followed by a miss to Evans (which Brady apparently wanted to do something else on the goal line) on the goal line. Prior to the Bucs’ final TD drive, Brady was 1-for-5 on throws in the red zone. And now he’s in the middle of his first three-game losing streak since 2002. A long year that’s getting longer.
  5. Tough night for injuries for both teams. If you’ve followed either the Bucs or the Ravens, or maybe both, this season, you know that neither team has had much luck in the injury department. Really, since before the season. Well, Thursday only made things worse. The Bucs lost Bucs OLB Shaquil Barrett to an Achilles injury and the speed at which he was ruled out made it all the more concerning. The Ravens had it worse during the game. WR Rashod Bateman (foot) and TE Mark Andrews (shoulder) were both ruled out, and RB Gus Edwards (hamstring) never came back into play after leaving the field in the fourth quarter. The Ravens somehow got better after the many injuries, but the Bucs certainly didn’t after losing Barrett.

Next-gen stats of the game: Devin Duvernay topped 20.19 mph on his 15-yard TD run, the third time Duvernay had surpassed 20 mph as a ball carrier this season. Only Tyreek Hill (four) has surpassed 20 mph this season.

NFL Research: Isaiah Likely’s 77 receiving yards against Tampa Bay was the most by a rookie tight end in a prime-time game since teammate Mark Andrews in Week 16, 2018 (83 receiving yards against Chargers).

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