• Welcome to PurpleFlock! Be sure to sign up here so that you can chat with your fellow Ravens fans.

Article For the 2018 Baltimore Ravens, the Sky May be the Limit


Staff Member
Let me preface everything I am about to say with two simple acknowledgements. 1. Yes, I realize this was the Buffalo Bills. Yes, I did indeed opine that the 2018 Buffalo Bills had arguably the worst roster in the NFL (yes, I realize that includes the Cleveland Browns). 2. Yes, I realize that preseason is not always the best indicator and teams tend to play more vanilla and with less intensity.

With all of this said, though… DAMN! If that is the 2018 Baltimore Ravens that fans will be seeing every single week, Baltimore just might bring back its third ever Lombardi Trophy for the perfect ride into the sunset for Ozzie Newsome.

Every single aspect of the Baltimore Ravens was dominant on Sunday afternoon, in torrential downpour no less. The offense, the defense, the special teams, and the coaching each brought their A+ game to open with arguably the most dominant performance by a single team through Monday morning. Personally, I am still in awe of the performance that the Ravens just put up.

But why should Ravens fans care? As I said, the Bills might have the least talented roster in the NFL this year. Why is it such a big deal to beat a team that has so little talent? The answer is simple: It is not the fact that the Ravens simply won, but how they won.

Perhaps the biggest surprise (to anyone who had not followed the Ravens throughout the entire 2018 offseason) was the play of Joseph Vincent Flacco. Flacco is arguably the most maligned quarterback in the NFL, a league that features quarterbacks like Blake Bortles, Eli Manning, and Tyrod Taylor, amongst others. If you had taken a poll of the worst starting quarterback in the NFL and the worst value of quarterback contracts before the season, I would be very willing to bet that Joe Flacco would be in the top 5, if not atop the list, for both surveys.

The national media ignored the boring old Joe Flacco in favor of the more electrifying Lamar Jackson. The national media raged and buzzed for Jackson and his exciting Michael Vick-esque talents to take over for the Baltimore Ravens. The national talking heads ignored the report by Peter King who wrote that Joe Flacco, in the one practice King attended, may have had the single most dominant day of practice he had ever seen from a quarterback. The national pundits all ignored the preseason where Flacco seamlessly commanded a Ravens offense that looked to take flight on the rest of the league. They ignored all the signs in favor of the young rookie, ignoring the old, wily veteran who wanted to prove he still had plenty left in the tank.

If this is the Joe Flacco and the Ravens offense that fans will be seeing every week, then… DAMN!

For at least one week, every single person who has said Lamar Jackson should start, every single person who said Joe Flacco is the worst starting quarterback in the NFL, every single person who questioned whether or not Joe Flacco is washed up, is wrong. For a single week, for now, Flacco is sitting atop of the world. Torrential downpour could not stop the monstrous performance that was masterfully crafted by Joe Flacco against the Buffalo Bills.

On a day where the run game was slowed by the overcast skies and tough rain, Joe Flacco shone through. On a day when most would have expected the run game to dominate, the Ravens aired the ball out, even with the porous passing game conditions. Flacco showed mechanics that were not seen since the days of 2014, when Gary Kubiak called the plays for the Baltimore Ravens. Flacco stepped into throws, drove through throws with power, and made accurate throws. The rain did not seem to faze the Ravens quarterback as he delivered strike after strike. Drops by the receivers did not faze him as the Ravens signal caller jumped threw two first half touchdown passes and one more in the second half to complete his day. He just looked comfortable and in control of the offense the entire game… well, half. I say half because Flacco only played for one minute and 20 seconds of the second half. Yes, Joseph Vincent Flacco was so dominant and in control of the Ravens offense that he rested after a single drive in the third quarter.

All in all, the Ravens offense finished by scoring six touchdowns, each by a different player. John Brown, Michael Crabtree, and Willie Snead, in that order, all caught touchdown passes from Joe Flacco. Alex Collins, Buck Allen, and Kenneth Dixon each rushed for a touchdown. This was the first time in Ravens history that six different players had scored a touchdown in the same game. It was perhaps one of the most dominant performances that has ever been had by a Baltimore Ravens offense.

It was far from all offense, though, for the first game of the season. Not to be outdone, the Baltimore Ravens stayed true to their calling card and had an equally dominant defensive performance.

Nathan Peterman was never realistically expected to lead the Bills to a big offensive day. LeSean McCoy was never really expected to produce many running yards behind that Bills offensive line. However, it would be a real stretch to say that Nathan Peterman and the Bills offense would be expected to produce just five total net yards in the first half. No one would have expected to hear that the Bills offense produced four net yards and an interception before the Ravens decided to rest the majority of their starters. Yet, that is exactly what happened.

If this is the product that Wink Martindale is going to be putting onto the gridiron every week, then… DAMN!

Displaying an array of pass rush schemes and varied packages, Martindale is quickly giving fans plenty more to complain about Dean Pees for. Pees, the former Ravens coordinator who was known for blown leads in the fourth quarter, was arguably the most hated figure on the 2017 Baltimore Ravens team. For one game, that hate will not be going anywhere.

Without top cornerback Jimmy Smith, Wink Martindale said, “No problem.” He dialed up blitzes, he created pressure with just a four-man rush, and he created unique looks, including three times that he employed a six man rush that featured all five outside linebackers and CJ Mosley standing at the line of the scrimmage, a look that was sure to confuse the Bills offensive line. The result? Two sacks and a Tony Jefferson interception.

The most amazing part of this defensive effort, though, was the contributions from the lesser-known Ravens. While not a no-name Raven to Ravens fans, Tavon Young certainly is not a household name across the NFL. However, he might be soon if he can build on top of this performance that resembled peak 2016 play. With two sacks and a pass deflection, Young showed no signs that he is suffering from any lingering effects of the ACL tear that cost him the entire 2017 campaign. Add Young to the long list of stellar performances, alongside Za’Darius Smith and his single sack, which really could have been four. Put Za’Darius Smith beside Brent Urban, who is coming off a Lisfranc injury that cost him all of the 2017 season. While Urban only had one tackle on the score sheet, he lived in the Bills backfield. His performance was so dominant that the Bills actually netted negative yards when Urban was on the field. Put Urban beside Tim Williams, the Ravens player voted Breakout Player of the Year candidate. Williams only registered a single sack, but he looked fast off the edge and displayed the same speed and quickness that made him a nightmare at Alabama.

All in all, the Ravens allowed a measly three points on a field goal in the middle of the third quarter, produced six sacks, two interceptions, and had a whopping 14 pass deflections. Do you know how many passes were completed by Nathan Peterman and Josh Allen combined? Eleven. Yes, the Ravens deflected three more passes than they allowed, not including the two interceptions. Many had wondered how the Ravens would fare without Jimmy Smith for the first four weeks. Well, if this play keeps up through the next three weeks, the rest of the NFL may be wondering how they could even pass on the Ravens defense.

Was this single game truly representative of the 2018 Baltimore Ravens? At this time, it is too early to tell. Fans should not realistically expect more 44-point blowouts every single week or six different players scoring a touchdown. However, fans should be cautiously optimistic that this Joe Flacco is around for the long haul and that Wink Martindale really may have cured the 2017 Ravens defensive woes.

If this is the 2018 Baltimore Ravens, the sky is the limit.

Dom McRaven

Hall of Famer
As I've said before, if there was a non-divisional team I so badly wanted us to beat, it was this team. Now with that out of the way, I do expect this team to quickly fall back to earth with a loss in Cincy. Flacco tends to have an underwhelming performance on the road following a good/great/excellent home performance. Prove me wrong, JVF, prove me wrong.


Staff Member
Great write-up bird. Agree that the bills could be the worst team in the league and it most likely will not be like this every week. I never consider any game a gimme, especially divisional games. However I do feel like we will win this game. Whether it be Cincinnati in their house, on a Thursday night or not. This is our game and we will win by at least two scores. I feel it coming and the Bengals won't know what hit them.

The upcoming game will have more balance and our running game will start to click along with Joe continuing to spreading the ball around.