Top Takeaways from Ravens commanding win over Texans: Wide receivers step up again

The Baltimore Ravens continued to look like the cream of the NFL crop in Week Two after they followed up their dominating win in their season opener with another landslide victory over the Houston Texans on the road 33-16 this past Sunday.

This was a rematch of a Week 11 game from last season when the two teams met in Baltimore and even though the Texans scored more than doubled their messily seven points from that rough outing, they still didn’t fare much better as the Ravens made more plays than their hosts for most of the day on both sides of the ball.

Here is one of the top takeaways that I observed in the Ravens Week Two win:

Wide receivers continue to get more involved in the passing game

Last season the Ravens passing attack was funneled through the tight end position and got some but not major contributions from their wide receivers. In his second season and first, as the full-time starter, top tight end Mark Andrews established himself as one of the best pass-catchers at the position by leading the Ravens in receptions, yards and his 10 touchdown catches were not only the most on the team, they were the most of any tight end in the league.

Even after a great outing in the season opener against the Browns when he hauled in five catches for 58 yards and a pair of touchdowns, it’s clear that Andrews isn’t the only weapon in the passing game in 2020. The wide receiver group as a whole are making more plays and are much more involved as pass catchers.

The leading receivers in terms of yardage in Week One were second-year speedy wideout Marquise ‘Hollywood’ Brown with five catches for 101 yards and veteran slot receiver Willie Snead IV with four catches for 64 yards and a touchdown and then Andrews.

Against the Texans, Andrews was held to just one catch for 29 yards on three targets, however, reigning league MVP Lamar Jackson continued to distribute targets among all his weapons, and for the second straight week, he completed more passes to wide receivers (12 catches for 128 on 20 targets) than he did to his tight ends (two for 40 yards on two targets).

Jackson didn’t air the ball out a ton against the Texans, finishing 18-of-24 for 204 yards and one touchdown, but when he did put the ball in the air his receivers made plays. They got open when he was inside the pocket, uncovered on broken plays when he rolled out or was on the run, and came up with clutch first downs and fought for extra yards after the catch.

Brown was his favorite target training camp and he has continued that trend in the first two weeks of the season. He was the most targeted pass catcher on Sunday and caught five the six passes thrown his way for a team-leading 42 yards. Brown was circled as the Ravens’ prime breakout candidate for 2020 by pundits heading into the season and he’s on pace to do just that through the first two weeks making plays at every level, not just deep-down field.

Snead has continued to be a tough sure-handed chain mover in the slot who has been proving that he can still be a factor in the passing game with some of the big catches that he’s caught in the last two weeks. He only caught two passes against Houston but he averaged nearly 15 yards per catch and absorbed a big hit on one catch in the fourth quarter, kept his balance, and picked up some more yards.

Hollywood isn’t the only second-year receiver that has been stepping up and making plays in the passing game. Miles Boykin, a third-round pick in 2019, has been a reliable target for Jackson, especially on rollouts and broken plays. He’s shown a consistent ability to uncover and create separation at the top of his routes and when the ball is in the air and headed in his direction. Against the Texans, Boykin finished second to Brown in targets (five), receptions (four), and yards (38).

The Ravens drafted a pair of rookie receivers for the second year in a row and while sixth-rounder James Proche hasn’t seen a lot of action outside of fielding punts and covering kicks on special teams, third-rounder Devin Duvernay has seen his involvement in the offense continue to grow.

He’s only recorded one catch in each of his first two career games but he’s made both of them count. Duvernay turned a quick screen into a 12-yard gain on his first career reception and on his second a week later he picked up 19 yards on a pass he caught from Jackson while he was on the run rolling out to his right.

As Jackson grows as a passer, so does the role of his receivers in the offense as pass catchers. The Ravens have shown great balance offensively through the first two weeks of the season and even though they are still committed run the ball down their opponent’s throats, their wideouts being able to make clutch and explosive plays in the passing game add another dynamic dimension to their offense.

Please follow and like us:

You may also like...

Follow by Email