5 things we learned from the Baltimore Ravens' Week 9 win over the Seahawks

2T5J30F Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (3) celebrates after catching a 6-yard touchdown pass during the second half of an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks, Sunday, Nov. 5, 2023, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Keaton Mitchell's breakout game: Injuries prevented Mitchell from making an immediate impact, but he got his chance on Sunday and seized it. Of his 138 rushing yards, 100 came on just two carries, one of which was a 40-yard score. If you remove those two long runs, he still averaged 5.4 yards per carry.

Lamar Jackson is PFF’s midseason NFL MVP: PFF released its midseason awards and All-Pro team earlier this week, and the Ravens signal-caller headlined both. He will undoubtedly face stiff competition for the remainder of the season, but it shows how good he has been and how well he has taken to new offensive coordinator Todd Monken’s offense.

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The Baltimore Ravens moved to 7-2 with a dominant Week 9 win over the Seattle Seahawks in Baltimore, Md. 

The Ravens found a new dimension on offense in the form of an undrafted rookie running back. On defense, their strength in depth was on full display.

Here are the five things we learned from Sunday's win.

Pass protection was key

The Ravens' starting offensive line had a near-perfect game against the Seahawks, even if one of the imperfect plays looked costly at the time.

The starting five combined to allow just three total pressures all game. One came from center Tyler Linderbaum, while the other two — including a strip sack by Boye Mafe — came against left tackle Ronnie Stanley.

John Simpson, Kevin Zeitler and Patrick Mekari all went through the game without allowing a single pressure.

Linderbaum has earned an 82.9 pass-blocking grade through nine weeks, the highest mark among all centers, and he hasn't earned a sub-70.0 grade all year. His development from his rookie year to this year isn’t really a surprise — he was a dominant center in college, after all — but it has been impressive to see how quickly he has cleaned up his diagnosing and handling of stunts.

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Keaton Mitchell's breakout game

If there was one criticism about the Ravens' running game over the first eight weeks of the season, it’s that it lacked a home-run hitter who could finish a run and take it to the end zone. It’s what J.K. Dobbins was supposed to be able to do on his comeback from injury before his season ended in the season opener. Gus Edwards has been a really good running back for the Ravens, too, but that long speed is the one thing he is lacking.

Enter Keaton Mitchell. The undrafted rookie out of East Carolina was one of the best running backs in college football a year ago but went undrafted. With a familial connection to Baltimore — his dad, Anthony Mitchell, is a former free safety who was part of the Ravens Super Bowl 35-winning team — he landed in Baltimore and showed his explosiveness in the preseason, earning a 91.5 rushing grade on seven carries.

Injuries prevented Mitchell from making an immediate impact, but he got his chance on Sunday and seized it. Of his 138 rushing yards, 100 came on just two carries, one of which was a 40-yard score. If you remove those two long runs, he still averaged 5.4 yards per carry.

The first-year back forced eight missed tackles, the most among running backs last week, but that home-run speed just gives defenses another headache to deal with.


Change in how the Ravens use Odell Beckham Jr.

Coming off a four-target, zero-catch game against the Cardinals, the Odell Beckham Jr. discourse was out of control. With the Ravens spending big to bring him to Baltimore as a free agent, it’s fair to say that 162 yards on 14 receptions wasn’t what they were hoping for through the first eight weeks of the season.

The thing is that Beckham has generated more yardage than that. In that game against the Cardinals, he accounted for 40 yards in drawn penalties.

The team was able to get more production out of him this past week, though. And with that, we saw a shift in his usage. Over the first eight weeks of the season, just 17 of his 236 snaps (7.2%) came from the slot. Against the Seahawks in Week 9, he lined up in the slot for 10 of his 35 snaps (28.6%).

On the other hand, Zay Flowers saw his slot-snap percentage drop from 36.1% in Weeks 1-8 to 19.2% this past week.

In turn, Beckham either tied or set season highs in receptions (5) and receiving yards (56), and he found the end zone for the first time since his Super Bowl win with the Los Angeles Rams.

Strength in depth on defense

The depth across the board is one of the primary reasons for the Ravens' success on defense this season. Through nine weeks of the season, they have 19 players on defense who have played at least 100 snaps and earned a PFF grade of 60.0 or better, four more than any other team in the NFL.

It has allowed them to deal with the injury to safety Marcus Williams, with Geno Stone slotting in and leading the NFL in interceptions over the first half of the season.

Where it is really shining through, though, is at edge defender, with some late summer and in-season additions really paying off. Jadeveon Clowney‘s 16.0% pressure rate ranks 20th among edge defenders who have rushed the passer at least 80 times. Kyle Van Noy, an in-season signing, ranks 12th at 16.9%.

That depth has allowed them to survive the injuries Odafe Oweh and David Ojabo suffered earlier in the season, though Oweh has returned and ranks sixth in pressure rate at 18.3%.

There are question marks about whether the Ravens will get Tyus Bowser back this year, and Ojabo struggled before his injury. Still, there is a world where the Ravens get those guys back and are suddenly six starting-caliber players deep at edge defender.

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Lamar Jackson is PFF’s midseason NFL MVP

PFF released its midseason awards and All-Pro team earlier this week, and the Ravens signal-caller headlined both. He will undoubtedly face stiff competition for the remainder of the season, but it shows how good he has been and how well he has taken to new offensive coordinator Todd Monken’s offense.

An elite downfield passer, Jackson leads all quarterbacks with a 97.2 grade on passes thrown 10 or more yards downfield, having produced 14 big-time throws and zero turnover-worthy plays on those attempts. He’s the only quarterback who has attempted 25 or more 10-plus-yard passes without recording a turnover-worthy play.

Related — NFL 2023 Midseason Awards: Lamar Jackson wins MVP, Myles Garrett claims DPOY

Then there are the things away from just throwing the ball downfield. His ability to take over the game as a runner is still there, as he's racked up 439 rushing yards through nine weeks, 115 yards more than the next-closest signal-caller. He still boasts an elite ability to extend plays in the pocket and adjust his throwing motion mid-play to fire the ball past defenders on sidearm throws when needed.

Fumbles have been his biggest negative, and even that has been cleaned up recently, with the exception of a fumbled exchange this past week. In a welcome sight for Ravens fans everywhere, the 2019 NFL MVP is back to playing at that level once again.

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