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News & Notes: John Harbaugh Explains Blown Coverages on Long Touchdowns to Tyreek Hill

WR Tyreek Hill & S Marcus Williams
WR Tyreek Hill & S Marcus Williams

After dissecting the first loss of the season, Head Coach John Harbaugh wants the Ravens to learn from their mistakes.

Defensive breakdowns led to Tyreek Hill's two long touchdown catches during the Dolphins' improbable fourth-quarter comeback against the Ravens. Baltimore couldn't protect a 21-point lead and lost, 42-38, leaving the defense with plenty of questions to answer.

Harbaugh said both touchdowns were "blown coverages, basically."

On Hill's 48-yard touchdown, he got a step on cornerback Marcus Peters and rookie safety Kyle Hamilton was too late coming over to help break up the play.

"You have to stay on top of that as a corner; you have to stay on top of that as a safety," Harbaugh said. "It's three deep coverage; those guys know that.

"You have to maintain your leverage on the routes. When you're a deep player and there are guys running vertical, [if] you're a deep player you stay deep. You don't get nosy on a crossing route when you have a deep route running up on you."

On Hill's 60-yard reception that tied the game, Hill ran right past rookie cornerback Jalyn Armour-Davis, who seemed to expect defensive help that never arrived.

"We didn't have anybody in the deep half," Harbaugh said. "That was a miscommunication if you want to call it that, and the deep half player didn't realize he was a deep half player and he needs to get back there.

"If you're a deep half player, you have to know you're a deep half player and be back there. We can't leave the deep half uncovered. So, we show them a blitz and we're running it out, someone has to be back there, and that's the responsibility of the person and the coach, all of us to get that done."

The Ravens have three rookies in the secondary who saw significant action in the fourth quarter Sunday – Hamilton (54% of the snaps), Armour-Davis (54%), and cornerback Pepe Williams (52%). Marlon Humphrey (groin) did not play in the game's final defensive series, Peters was on a pitch count in his first game back, Brandon Stephens (quad) was out Sunday and veteran Kyle Fuller (knee) was lost for the season in Week 1.

"Certain guys have got to grow up fast. They're young guys, they're rookies, they're playing for the first time," Harbaugh said. "They know that, I'm sure they took responsibility for it, the coaches take responsibility for it, we've all got to take responsibility for it. Those are things that should never happen. They're below the line. I did not expect those things to happen in this game. But, I also understand you've got some young guys back there. Things are moving fast and the game's on the line. That can happen.

"We like those guys, we trust those guys, they're going to learn from those mistakes. Sometimes lessons are learned the hard way."

Justice Hill Could See More Touches

The Ravens are looking for more production from their running backs, which could lead to a larger role for Justice Hill, who had a 13-yard run Sunday and finished with 16 yards on three carries. Hill has made an impressive recovery from last year's torn Achilles and is running with authority.

"He's doing a great job," Harbaugh said. "I think he's looked good all through the preseason. He came back from his injury exceptionally well. All of his numbers are way up – even better than he was before – and he's running hard. Yes, Justice Hill – thumbs up. The arrow is up."

Lamar Jackson accounted for 119 of Baltimore's 155 yards rushing on Sunday, including a 79-yard touchdown gallop. Kenyan Drake (six carries, eight yards) and Mike Davis (five carries, four yards) were held in check, and Baltimore was held to 63 yards rushing in Week 1.

"We've got to get our running game going, and I think the running backs are a big part of that," Harbaugh said. "Running backs have a lot to do with how good your run game is, and we need those guys to help make our run game better."

Nick Boyle Has a 'Good Chance' to Play in Week 3

Nick Boyle has been inactive the first two weeks, but Harbaugh indicated the veteran tight end might get his first opportunity Week 3 against the Patriots.

Boyle was never 100% last season after returning from a serious knee injury in 2020, but his mobility has improved following strenuous offseason rehab. The Ravens have a deep tight end group that also includes All-Pro Mark Andrews, rookie Isaiah Likely and Josh Oliver.

"There is a good chance he'll be out there this week," Harbaugh said. "We've got some guys who are doing well. Josh Oliver has been playing pretty darn good. I think we're blessed with some talent there, so you don't have to rush Nick back, but I wouldn't mind putting Nick out there at all right now, the way he's practicing."

Harbaugh Pleased With How Ravens Punished Miami's Cover Zero

How the Ravens would fare against Miami's blitz pressure was a major talking point heading into Sunday's game. Despite losing, the Ravens had great success against the blitz, with Lamar Jackson throwing for 318 yards and four touchdowns and connecting for a 75-yard touchdown toss to Rashod Bateman.

Opponents who are thinking about blitzing the Ravens heavily this season will have to think long and hard.

"That was a big plus," Harbaugh said. "That was something that was much talked about. It was important for us. It was something that really mattered. We were a little edgy about it. To see the guys come out and execute, the plan was excellent. We won the vast majority of those battles and put up a bunch of points, a lot of big plays. We also had some easy completions for eight or nine yards, too. (The) offensive line did a great job of protection. A lot of very encouraging things."

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