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Ravens Eye View: Pass Rush Success, Red-Zone Issues vs. Titans

OLB Jadeveon Clowney
OLB Jadeveon Clowney

The Ravens didn't pull away from the Titans in London, but they never trailed and flew back home across the Atlantic with a well-earned 24-16 victory.

Two of the biggest talking points coming out of the game were the struggles of the red-zone offense and dominance of the pass rush, which now has the Ravens tied atop the NFL with 24 sacks.

Let's dive into the tape:

The Ravens' red-zone troubles were really centered around three drives that stalled within the 10-yard line, including two from inside the 3. Baltimore did a solid job of running on first down, but second and third down in tighter quarters proved to be its demise.

While the Ravens' offensive line had a particularly strong day in pass protection, the run blocking near the goal line wasn't as stellar.

Drive 1:

On second down, it seemed left guard John Simpson pulled instead of executing a down block, which caused quick pushback and a pile up on the left side of the line that slowed down Justice Hill, who got just 1 yard.

On third down, the Titans quickly closed on a slant opportunity for Nelson Agholor, so Lamar Jackson tried to go over top to Odell Beckham Jr., but the defensive back was playing with outside leverage and walled him off from the throw. There was not much room to try to squeeze in that throw to the outside.

Drive 2:

On second down, Titans linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair slipped past Stanley's second-level block to hit Gus Edwards at the line of scrimmage.

On third down from the 1-yard line, the Ravens tried to spread the Titans out with a four-wide look and designed Jackson run, but Jackson passed up a cutback lane that materialized a little late and fullback Patrick Ricard and right tackle Morgan Moses didn't get much push on their front side blocks, so Jackson was hit for a 4-yard loss.

Drive 3:

On second down, Titans defensive tackle Kyle Peko pushed Stanley into the backfield, which cut off the pull block from right guard Kevin Zeitler.

On third down, the Titans dropped Peko into coverage in the middle, taking away a quick drag to Devin Duvernay, and clouded the picture with six players in zone coverage in the middle of the field, which eliminated tight end Mark Andrews and provided plenty of Jackson spies. Jackson pulled it down and tried to run, but was stopped short. Jackson might have had an opportunity in the flats to Zay Flowers, who would have had to make one defender miss, but Jackson's reads didn't take him that way.

Aside from the red-zone troubles, the Ravens offense did a lot right. The offensive line had a superb day in pass protection and Jackson had another strong performance.

Defensively, the day was defined by pressure, as the Ravens racked up six sacks.

Outside linebacker Jadeveon Clowney had one of his best games as a pro, getting pressure on 47.7% of his rush attempts. He had nine quarterback pressures, four hits, and two sacks. At 30 years old, Clowney is showing he still has plenty of tread on his tires and is utilizing a wide array of moves to win.

Another veteran balling out is 32-year-old Kyle Van Noy, who was playing in just his third game. Van Noy got a sack and showed off a nice spin move.

Defensive tackle Justin Madubuike had perhaps the best game of his career, winning against the run and pass to finish with two sacks. Madubuike even got a sack when lining up on the edge, where he used a hesitation/power move.

Defensive Coordinator Mike Macdonald continues to set up pass rush opportunities for everyone, using stunts and unique alignments. Everyone is getting in on the action. Baltimore has 11 players with at least one sack. The Bills, who are tied with the Ravens atop the league in sacks (24), have seven players with at least one sack.

Safety Geno Stone made the defensive play of the game with his third-quarter interception, showing off his range to pick off a pass that could have changed the outcome.

The Ravens bottled up Derrick Henry for the majority of the game. He picked up 63 yards on a direct snap fake jet sweep that got the linebackers out of position, but Henry was mostly stacked up at the line.

Linebackers Patrick Queen and Roquan Smith continued to play at a high level.

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