5 things we learned from the Baltimore Ravens' Week 7 win over the Lions

2T36MTB Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Zay Flowers (4) in action during the first half of an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions, Sunday, Oct. 22, 2023, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Terrance Williams)

• Lamar Jackson is the NFL's highest-graded QB: Jackson tallied four big-time throws and zero turnover-worthy plays against the Lions.

• Getting Zay Flowers more involved downfield could be key: Thirty-two of Flowers' 53 targets have come either behind the line of scrimmage or within five yards of it.

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Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes

The Baltimore Ravens moved to 5-2 with a resounding home win over the Detroit Lions in Week 7.

The offense fired on all cylinders, headlined by quarterback Lamar Jackson making plays across the field, and the team didn’t leave the game with many question marks.

Here are the five things we learned from Sunday.

Lamar Jackson is the highest-graded quarterback in the NFL

The list of quarterbacks with a higher PFF passing grade than Lamar Jackson (90.1) is short: Tua Tagovailoa of the Miami Dolphins. The list of quarterbacks with a higher overall PFF grade than Jackson’s 90.8 is nonexistent. We saw it in his performance against the Pittsburgh Steelers, but the production didn’t match the tape, thanks to seven drops. That wasn’t the case at all against the Lions.

Jackson went 21-of-27 for 357 yards and three touchdowns with a dropped pass, meaning he finished with an 81.5% adjusted completion percentage. He tallied four big-time throws and zero turnover-worthy plays and couldn’t be stopped, even when the Lions put him under pressure. On nine passing attempts while under pressure, Jackson completed eight passes for 238 yards and two scores.

Jackson in Week 7
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Odafe Oweh is back

Oweh returned in Week 7 after missing four games due to injury. He made an immediate impact, forcing a fumble on a sack of Lions quarterback Jared Goff. He finished the game with four total pressures from 33 pass-rushing snaps and, considering his three other wins that didn’t result in pressure, recorded a 19.4% pass-rush win rate that led all Ravens edge defenders.

Oweh has played just 103 snaps, but the third-year edge defender looks to have taken a significant step forward in 2023. His 16.7% pressure rate ranks second to Kyle Van Noy among the team's edged defenders, while his 15.3% pass-rush win rate trails only Jadeveon Clowney. Despite David Ojabo’s injury, the Ravens quietly have developed a strong rotation off the edge.

Minor concern on misdirection runs

An otherwise stout Ravens defense over the past two weeks was gashed on a couple of outside runs. Derrick Henry’s long run, after a fake reverse, in London on first-and-10 left Kyle Hamilton and Roquan Smith bamboozled, with Smith taken so far out of the play that he blocked off fellow linebacker Patrick Queen.

Against the Lions, Hamilton froze when Jared Goff booted right after pitching the ball to Jahmyr Gibbs on the left, removing his ability to be the last line of defense on the touchdown. On the same play, Smith was taken out of the action by a nice block from left guard Graham Glasgow. It’s only two plays, so alarms don’t need to blare quite yet, but it’s something the Ravens will want to tidy up down the stretch.

The offense can still improve by getting Zay Flowers more involved downfield

Flowers has been an immediate weapon for the Ravens, but it's fair to wonder if the team is getting the most out of him. He has seen 53 targets through seven games — a team-leading figure and 31 more than the next wide receiver. He has turned that into 39 receptions for 442 yards, both of which also pace the team, while his 2.46 yards per route run ranks sixth among rookie wide receivers who have seen at least 50 receiving snaps.

Thirty-two of those 53 targets came either behind the line of scrimmage or within five yards of it. Flowers has forced eight missed tackles on 27 receptions on such plays, but his 138 yards have resulted in just a 5.1 yards per reception average. He has 12 receptions for 304 yards and has earned a 79.5 PFF receiving grade on targets of six or more yards downfield. As this offense continues to develop, getting Flowers more involved downfield can take it to another level.

Ravens suddenly have depth at outside cornerback

Marlon Humphrey‘s preseason injury appeared devastating for a Ravens defensive backfield that could hardly afford it. However, it forced the unit into some personnel decisions that have set them up well for the second half of the season. With Rock Ya-Sin, signed this spring, also dealing with injuries this preseason, the Ravens added free agent Ronald Darby and kept Brandon Stephens at cornerback after discussions about moving him to safety.

Darby has earned a 66.8 PFF coverage grade on 166 coverage snaps, allowing 14 receptions for 167 yards on 29 targets with a pair of pass breakups. Ya-Sin has earned an 82.5 PFF coverage grade, allowing just five receptions on 12 targets from 80 snaps in coverage with four pass breakups. Stephens has started every game and has allowed 35 receptions for 356 yards on 55 targets. Crucially, he has yet to allow a touchdown in coverage and has an interception and three pass breakups to his name. His 66.3 PFF coverage grade is solid if unspectacular, but he has developed into a starting-caliber player for Baltimore.

With Marlon Humphrey back, and coming off his best game of the season against the Lions, the Ravens are suddenly very deep at a key position that seemed to be a likely weak spot heading into the season.


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