Offensive standouts from Ravens overwhelming win over Bengals
The Baltimore Ravens closed out the 2020 regular season with a 38-3 rout of the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 17 on the road at Paul Brown Stadium. It marked their fifth straight win and the fourth time during that span where they defeated an opponent by two or more possessions.
The offense produced some historic individual and collective performances and the defense had their most dominant outing of the season.
Here are some of the offensive standouts from their impressive Week 17 victory:
QB Lamar Jackson
While the reigning league MVP didn’t have quite as historic of a season as he did in his breakout campaign in 2019, he was still able to rewrite the record books with his performance on Sunday in the regular-season finale.
He entered the game against the Bengals 92 yards shy of becoming the first quarterback in league history to not only rush for 1,000 plus yards in consecutive seasons but also the first to have more than one such season in their entire career.
It only took the 23-year-old three quarters and 13 carries to pick 97 yards with his legs and he did it in dazzling fashion via designed runs, zone reads, read options, and impromptu scrambles that picked up chunks of yards whenever the play broke down or he when saw a crease and decided to hit it.
Jackson also threw the ball exceptionally well in the team’s blowout victory. Even though he only attempted 18 passes and completed just 10 of them, he made the passing attack look every bit as explosive as the dominant running game.
Of his 10 completions, nearly a third of them resulted in touchdowns. He threw with great touch, anticipation, and accuracy even though sometimes his targets dropped perfectly placed passes.
Jackson finished with 113 yards and three touchdowns passing with a passer rating of 91. His only blemish as a thrower came via an interception that was a result of a tipped ball at the line of scrimmage.
RB J.K. Dobbins
The second-round pick out of Ohio State capped off his sensational rookie year with his best performance of the regular season. Against the Bengals, Dobbins led the team in rushing with a season and career-high 160 yards on just 13 carries.
He averaged 12.3 yards per carry and set a new franchise rookie record for touchdowns with two more on the ground to increase his season total to nine and mark his sixth straight game reaching the end zone.
His 72-yarder was not only the longest touchdown scored by a rookie in franchise history, but it was also the longest scoring run by a Ravens running back since Willis McGahee’s 77-yarder in 2009.
WR Marquise ‘Hollywood’ Brown:
The second-year speedster led the Ravens in targets and made the most of his opportunities by hauling five of the eight passes thrown his way for 41 yards. He caught a pair of receiving touchdowns and delivered a pair of aggressive stiff arms as well.
On his first touchdown, he gained inside position on Bengals cornerback Jalen Davis and hauled in the 18-yard pass for a score. On his second, he uncovered in the back right corner of the end zone on a broken play and was on the receiving end of a nine-yard strike from Jackson who bought time for his targets to get open.
Brown also came up with a clutch catch in a fourth-and-short situation midway through the second quarter where he moved the chains on a short out-breaking route for seven yards to extend the scoring drive that led to his first touchdown.
RB Gus Edwards
The Gus ‘Bus’ finished with his most productive season to date despite being in a three-man rotation for nearly half of it with another standout performance in the season finale.
He didn’t lead the team in rushing against the Bengals but he did record over 50 yards from scrimmage for the fifth game in a row with 60 yards on the ground on 12 carries and added another 10 yards by hauling in his lone target in the passing game.
Edwards ran hard, finished runs with authority, and showed elusiveness all season and the season finale was not different. He averaged five yards per carry and finished the year with career highs in rushing attempts (144), yards (723), and touchdowns (six) and set career highs as a pass-catcher as well with nine catches on 13 targets for 129 yards.
He has eclipsed 700 yards rushing in each of his first three seasons despite being in a heavy backfield rotation, only making 13 career starts and never starting more than six games in a season.
None of the offensive skill players would be able to have success or produce standout performances if it was not for the tremendous blocking by the big boys upfront.
They do the dirty work in the trenches to open wholes for Jackson and the running backs on the ground and consistently give the reigning league MVP enough time to distribute the ball to his weapons in the passing game.
The Ravens offensive line has had to reshuffle several times this season with players going in and out of the starting lineup because of injuries and inconsistent play.
Despite their adversity and losing their best player in All-Pro left tackle, Ronnie Stanley, midway through the season, they were still able to record the second-most rushing yards in a single season in franchise history.
Baltimore’s offensive line deserves just as much credit as Jackson when it comes to being the driving force behind the Ravens red-hot finish to the regular season.
They finished the year off with a franchise-record 404 rushing yards in the season finale to punch their ticket to the playoffs for the third year in a row and become the first team in NFL history to rush for 3,000 or more yards in back-to-back seasons.
WR Miles Boykin
The second-year wide receiver isn’t targeted in the passing often but when he is, he tends to make the most of it. That is exactly what he did against the Bengals when he gained inside leverage on post route deep down the middle of the field to haul in his only target for a 43-yard touchdown.
Boykin’s lone reception was enough for him to finish as the Ravens’ leading receiver in yardage. He is more renowned for his prowess as a strong blocker in the run game and he proved that true yet again with several great blocks on chunk runs by running backs as well as Jackson.
WR Dez Bryant
The veteran wide receiver wasn’t targeted on any of his 23 offensive snaps which means his streak of consecutive games with a touchdown catch came to an end. However, he did have a strong day as a blocker in the run game and made a key block that helped spring Dobbins for his long run.
“Watch the J.K. Dobbins run and see the Dez Bryant block,” Harbaugh said. “It was just a really great block. Just a team effort.”