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ExtremeRavens: The Sanctuary

A look at the numbers

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Okay, what a great game, a fantastic season season thus far. We know their record, it is clear that they are playing the best football in the league. But how? Let us dive into the numbers this year.

We shall start in the redzone, where this team has really improved over the previous years.

No, they are not the best, but they are top 10, 7th to be exact. In what you may ask? In turning redzone trips into touchdowns at a  rate of 62.69%, 69.7% at home.

Last year we saw their failings in the redzone, so many field goals that ended up costing wins.. just 44% ... Quite an improvement.

But what about the rest of the field? Surely this offense must have top 10 players, right? Maybe at qb? Receiver? Runningback?

No, no and nope.

Even as great as Lamar has played this season, it has been a team game, he is currently 14th in the league in yards, 3,678, averaging just 229 yards per game.

However, a closer look sees him 4th in average yard per pass (8), key, in moving the chains, with a long of 80 yards, also 4th. And 4th in qbr, 65.3, 102.7, 6th in completion %, 67.2, all vital in scoring.

Yes, he has been sacked quite often, 37 times, but that was mostly earlier in the season, before the line had time to mesh, when injuries were starting to pile up.

No, there is not a top 10 receiver in yards, in fact, the leading receiver, Flowers, is 37th in the league with 858. But, there are several others with 500 or more. Yes, he spreads the ball around in this offense.

Nope, no 1,000 yard rusher either, but a backfield that moves the chains when needed, produces big runs, yes Lamar leads them with just over 800 yards, with a long of 30, Gus with 762, long of 40, Hill, surprising many, 387, long of 41. Gus has 13 touchdowns, good for 4th in the league. This does not count their key receptions that converted 3rd downs, some, changing the game entirely, Gus with 12 receptions for 180 yards, with a long of 80. Hill with 25 for 180 with a long of 24. Lamar and Gus with 48 1st downs each, Hill with 18.

That is how you control a game, moving the ball, holding the ball, not give the defense a player to key on. Likely (4 tds), Bateman(1) Agholor(4 tds) each with 300+ yards receiving, averaging 13, 11, 11 yards per receptions, respectfully. Did I mention OBj, who has come up with some big catches in his 565 yards with a long of 51, averaging  a whopping 16 yards per reception.

Yes, all of this has been hoe we see this offense move down the field, score on their 1st possession, score after half time, score on multiple possessions in a row. It has been fun, but maybe, the fun is just beginning. The move to Todd Monken as offensive coordinator has clearly been a success.





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Well, stats are helpful but don't tell the complete story, especially in football where leadership and morale are such important factors. The Ravens are lucky to have some real leaders in Lamar, Roquan, OBJ, and Andrews when he's playing. They all tend to lead by example rather than rah-rah stuff and I respect them for that. And the yearly stats don't really reflect the impact of the last two regular season games when the Ravens beat the NFC's leading team following just one week later in putting a whipping on the AFC's scariest offense. In other words, the Ravens have a long list of intangibles that are so important in football, including having a head coach that learns from past mistakes and can motivate the team to 'just win baby'.

Lamar, by the way, has really opened my eyes these last 2 games. He really can do it all. If he's been guilty of anything in the past it's probably been his tendency to do too much himself. Now he has a full cast to get involved in the offense and he makes use of all of them.

Another player to recognize is Justice Hill whom I have been highly critical of in the past. He has learned how to hold onto the ball and has displayed a dimension of speed I really didn't realize he had.

Harbs has been better in both clock management and when to go/not go for it on 4th down. His gut instincts have proven to be better than the analytics. Very interesting. And then there's been his 2 most recent and important hires in MacDonald and Monken. Two guys whom we will greatly miss when they've inevitably moved on to head coaching jobs elsewhere. Maybe, Bisciotti can throw them a bag of money to keep them here for a few more seasons.

And EDC has assembled a very varied list of characters on both offense (OBJ, Agholor) and defense (van Noy, Clowney, Smith, Hamilton, Maullett, et. al.,) that have meshed very well to stabilize the team first philosophy.

While I truly believe this team can win the Super Bowl, they have already provided me with so much entertainment this year that I already consider this season a big success. I don't think I've enjoyed Ravens' football as much as I have just these last 2 games.

Quite a ride---and it ain't over yet.


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