Top takeaways from Ravens decisive win over Eagles: Penalties and Discipline
The Baltimore Ravens improved their record to 5-1 and won their third straight game since suffering their first loss of the season at the hands of the Kansas City Chiefs with a decisive 30-28 win over the Philadelphia Eagles on the road in Week Six.
Before the Ravens head into the bye week, here are some of the top takeaways that I observed from their fifth win of the season:
Penalties and lack of discipline
There was a lot of yellow laundry on Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday and more often than not, a Ravens player was responsible for the flag being thrown.
In addition to the litany of penalties, there was also a severe lack of discipline on both sides of the ball for Baltimore in the second half but especially by the defense in the fourth quarter in particular.
“Penalties were a big factor. Way too many penalties,” Harbaugh said. “The pre-snap penalties were just not good. We had too much trouble lining up. We had assignment issues that we were not happy about. So those are things we’ll have to go to work on.”
The Ravens had 12 penalties accepted against them with the vast majority being committed by players on the offense on infractions ranging from false starts to illegal formations because players weren’t set or aligned right to bone-headed holds and blocks in the back.
“It’s always unfortunate when we shoot ourselves in the foot,” right tackle Orlando Brown Jr said. “That’s something that Coach ‘Harbs’ has been on us about since Day One – since I’ve been here – even before I’ve been here. We’ve got to do a better job of making sure that we play more efficient and don’t shoot ourselves in the foot.”
Baltimore’s defense dominated the Eagles in the first half and appeared to be well on their way to their first shutout in almost two years with Ravens boasting a 17-0 lead at halftime.
However, while they still did a lot of the same things defensively that worked wonderfully in the first 30 minutes of regulation, they had several mental lapses and allowed the Eagles to claw their way back into the game by giving up big plays and committing drive extending penalties.
The Ravens completed the terrible trifecta on Philadelphia’s second scoring drive in the second half.
It began when First-Team All-Pro cornerback Marlon Humphrey gave up a 50-yard deep completion to rookie wide receiver John Hightower that set the Eagles offense at Baltimore’s 27-yard line.
Their drive would stall at the Ravens five-yard line but on third and goal after Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz threw a third straight incompletion, a roughing the passer penalty by defensive end Jihad Ward gave them a fresh set of down.
Just when it seemed it couldn’t get any worse than a short field goal attempt, Wentz found tight end Jason Croom wide open for a three-yard touchdown two plays later.
“We’ve got to learn to finish,” safety DeShon Elliott said. “When you’ve got a lead like that, you can’t let off the gas pedal. We let off their necks. I feel like we have to be better than that.”
It was an uncharacteristic nearly total team collapse for the Ravens who were heavily favored to beat the banged-up Eagles by more than two possessions but ended up narrowly escaping with a two-point margin of victory.
Harbaugh’s teams are normally among the league’s least penalized every week because they stress the importance of discipline and sound technique in all three phases of the game. Sunday’s undisciplined outing for the offense and defense is likely more of an anomaly than an indicator of future behavior.
The Ravens will have a chance to collect themselves, get a little healthier, and correct any easily fixable mistakes on their bye week. Prior to this game, they had notched their other four wins by at least two possessions so if they hadn’t committed so many penalties and miscues, they likely would’ve done the same against the Eagles.