Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson is sacked in a regular-season game on Nov. 11, 2022.
Through the first nine weeks of the 2021 NFL regular season, the Baltimore Ravens had a 6-2 record and sat atop the AFC conference at the top of the playoff standings.
Fresh off a win over the Minnesota Vikings at home, where they overcame a pair of double-digit deficits, the Ravens headed to South Beach to face the Miami Dolphins in primetime on a short week to start Week 10. on Thursday Night Football.
The last time the team played in Miami before that was in the 2019 season opener when Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson got off to an explosive start in his eventual unanimous league MVP-winning season. He split the Dolphin defense with a combined 324 air yards, five touchdowns, just three incomplete passes and a perfect passer rating.
Not only did the Dolphins hand the Ravens a debilitating and sobering 22-10 loss, but they essentially provided the rest of the league with the blueprint for how to take advantage of their battered and disappointing offensive line and the porous pass protection that went along with it.
Miami completely baffled the Raven’s offense and prevented them from finding the end zone, much less any semblance of rhythm on that side of the ball with relentless blitzes, otherwise known as Cover 0. Even when they weren’t bringing in extra runners and placing the front seven players in underneath coverage to eliminate quick outlet pass lines, the Ravens’ offensive line still struggled to pick off runners coming over the edge or up the middle.
Dolphins deep linemen Jevon Holland and Bradon Jones had an absolute field day as disruptive forces on and behind the line of scrimmage. Holland recorded a catch and a quarterback hit on Jackson and both prevented him from getting out of the pocket and getting to the edge to use his legs to cut off his defense.
Miami blitzed him on 31 of his 50 dropbacks, caught him four times and limited him to just 15 of 27 pass completions for 139 yards, one touchdown and one interception with a passer rating of 66.7.
Although the Ravens won their next two games after that loss, the obvious weakness and inefficiencies the Dolphins exposed eventually caught up with them. They would go on to lose six straight games to end the year and lost Jackson to an ankle injury along the way.
Both teams underwent major makeovers this offseason and loaded up at key positions on both sides of the ball. Both are coming off commanding wins in their respective season openers and will square off in Week 2. The game will take place in Baltimore and will be the Raven’s season opener.
We would have been remiss if we hadn’t worked on that,” head coach John Harbaugh said at a Sept. 14, 2022, press conference. “It was something we needed to get a lot better at, and we looked at it all the time. offseason. We’ll have a plan for it and hopefully, it will work because these guys are probably the best in the league doing it right now. They do it more than anybody else, they do it better than anybody else and it’s something they’re committed to.”
Jackson said the Dolphins caught the Ravens “off guard” and agrees with his coach that they will be better prepared on Sunday, Sept. 18, 2022.
“We hadn’t really gone over defenses doing zero total against us, like, just zero total. But I feel like we’ll have an answer this year. We watched videos, we watched a lot of videos on those guys, because we don’t want it to happen again,” Jackson said at a press conference on Sept. 14, 2022. “Other teams didn’t do anything. [blitz], but it was the way they did it that affected us. But like I said, we’ll have a response this time if they do the same thing.”
Possible Contingency Plans
While the Ravens aren’t going to divulge their game plan to counter any total pressure packages or disguises, some possible answers could be in their improvements and health in the offensive trenches and making them pay for sending the house making big plays. up in the air game.
Miami will still have three-time Pro Bowler and elite ball hawk Xavien Howard on one side, but with eight-year veteran Byron Jones out for the first four weeks of the season on the PUP list, the other side and the spot could be susceptible to attack. The Ravens wide receivers stepped up in their season-opening win over the New York Jets and will likely have the opportunity to do so again when the Dolphins come to town.
With their ground game struggling to find traction and the defense loading up the box, Jackson took to the skies to attack the Jets secondary in Week 1 and made them pay a heavy price for daring him to beat them with his arm. According to NFL on CBS, he led the league in touchdown passes with 15 or more air yards in doing so on all three of his scores.
Baltimore Beatdown’s Spencer Shultz offered a few more potential answers to take advantage of the Dolphins’ over-aggressiveness. He suggested utilizing one or more of their more athletic blockers in space blocking on screens or staying back to block to give Jackson the extra second or two he needs to hit one of his receivers who will be wide open or one. Coverage one across the field.
Stick Ricard or Boyle directly into the A-space and then back to the opposite side to avoid unblocking the edge.
Starting Running Back Full Participant in Practice.
For the first time this year and since before he suffered a season-ending knee injury that was more extensive than the common ACL tear, JK Dobbins was a full participant in practice when the team took the field on Wed. Sept. 14, 2022, according to the team’s initial injury report.
He now appears to be on track to make his 2022 debut and play his first game in front of a sold-out home crowd at M&T Bank Stadium.
The Ravens sorely missed the presence of Dobbins and his cow co-bell Gus Edwards last year after both went down before the start of last season and only rushed for 63 yards against the Jets in Week 1. He could bring a much-needed boost to their ground game and pair well with veteran Kenyan Drake, who started in his place last week to help the offense run the ball better, pick up carries in pass protection and contribute in the air game on screens and catching passes out of the backfield.