Although it seemed bleak for several moments throughout this game Stitched Patrick Onwuasor Jersey , the Baltimore Ravens have clinched a playoff berth for the first time since 2014. On a night that felt extremely reminiscent to last year’s collapse on fourth-and-12, the Ravens’ defense found a way to get a stop against an offense that was getting in rhythm late in the game. Baltimore must be thrilled to finally win a big game and return to the post-season, it was not all perfect for John Harbaugh’s team. 1. HeadachesDespite all of the offensive success the Ravens had early in the game, Mornhinweg seemingly abandoned those concepts late in the fourth quarter. Baltimore’s offense heavily utilized power concepts, including power reads, to run it down the Browns’ throats. Even though Cleveland employed Bear fronts to attempt to stop inside (A-gap) runs, the Ravens still had success. They countered it with outside runs and proper blocking techniques to stymie this defensive style. The issues occurred in the passing game and on the final drive. Baltimore went too conservative on their final (non-kneeling) drive. It was entirely too predictable, and Cleveland stopped them. The option call on third-down was, in theory, the right choice. Had the blocking up front held up, the Ravens would have had an advantageous matchup on the outside with defensive backs. However, the blocking imploded, and it was a ruined play. The more significant issues occurred on first and second down, where Baltimore should have attempted a high percentage pass to catch the Browns off guard. The passing-game brought on its own set of issues littered with drops, questionable play designs, and inaccurate strikes from Jackson. He only finished 14-for-24 with 179 yards, and it was an ugly showing when throwing outside the numbers. This offense appears to be sustainable as no team has showcased the ability to stop it for an entire game, but Jackson will need to be more consistent as a passer at one point or another. 2. Run itBaltimore’s running game continues to be in a class of their own, and it is not all due to Jackson. The scheme is simple, yet complex. They continue to dress up the same few concepts in different ways via formations, alignments, and personnel. This is an impressive feat as the Browns still could not penetrate any gap, specifically the A-gap, consistently enough to stop the run. Jackson’s ability as a runner is even more impressive, but he needs to learn to slide and run out of bounds. 3. Safety issues The biggest flaw on Baltimore’s defense is clear — their safeties. Although Eric Weddle has made several clutch plays in the box, he is still far too inconsistent in the deeper areas of the field. Tony Jefferson also made several questionable decisions when patrolling the deep 1鈦? and deep 1鈦? of the field, which led to a couple of touchdowns. On two separate plays, the Ravens were in zone coverage, and Baker Mayfield attacked Jefferson’s side of the field. During both plays Youth Patrick Onwuasor Jersey , Jefferson lingered too far inside, which opened up a hole for the intended receiver. However, depending on Baltimore’s defensive rules, it may not be entirely on Jefferson. Tavon Young was also on that side of the field on both plays, and he did not follow the slot receiver vertical. In some defensive schemes, the slot cornerback is taught to follow any vertical routes. 4. Clutch geneAs many will assuredly say this week, “these are not the same old Ravens.” The “old Ravens” would have found a way to lose against the Browns in heartbreaking fashion. Whether it would have been a costly turnover or a big play let up by the defense, Baltimore finally showed a killer instinct. C.J. Mosley showed phenomenal awareness to jump up after being blocked to get in the passing lane and tip the football to himself to record the game-sealing interception. The defense was hit-or-miss for most of this game. They had stretches of excellence, but also periods of complete lackadaisical play. Regardless, they found a way to win a game they desperately needed. 5. Comeback seasonKenneth Dixon was thought to be a lost cause after his third knee injury of his career. It appeared the Ravens would move on from the former fourth-round pick, but they designated him one of their two IR-DTR, and he never looked back. Dixon has been on a roll since returning to the field, and he was vital in Baltimore’s win. He finished with 117 yards, including a 37-yard run. Dixon is meshing well with Jackson and Baltimore’s newfound power running game as Gus Edwards slowly taking a backseat. Despite having an inconsistent year, Jimmy Smith had his best performance in the biggest game of the season. Smith had two interceptions and three total pass breakups. However, the secondary was not entirely perfect.6. Unsung heroes Maxx Williams, Nick Boyle, Mark Andrews, and Hayden Hurst deserve a ton of credit for their involvement in Baltimore’s running game. With several motions, they are constantly forced to make difficult blocks with not-so-great angles. Regardless, they continue to make critical blocks to open up lanes for their running backs. 7. Marlon Humphrey strugglesHumphrey has transformed into a top-ten cornerback this season. Some would even argue top five heading into Week 17, but he had his worst showing against Cleveland. Humphrey was victimized several times in coverage and was bullied by David Njoku on a huge catch. Njoku had several inches and more than a couple of pounds on Humphrey, but his poor technique led to the big catch. Humphrey needed to be more aggressive and have better anticipation on the pass rather than being passive. 8. Pressure mountingWhen listing Jackson’s strengths, mental toughness should be near the top of the list. The Ravens have faced adversity in each of their seven starts this season, yet he seemingly always finds a way to battle through. He continued to showcase that toughness on Sunday afternoon with several big-time throws and runs while under pressure. The Ravens will face another difficult test in the wild-card round as they will host the Los Angeles Chargers, who they played in Week 16. It is hard to beat any team in the NFL, but defeating a team twice in three weeks is much tougher. Jackson has not played the same defense twice, which could lead to a decrease in the unpredictability factor. Baker Mayfield may have discovered why the Baltimore Ravens defense has been so effective this season.Mayfield, a rookie quarterback with the Cleveland Browns White Za’Darius Smith Jersey , faces Baltimore's second-ranked defense on Sunday. One of the members of that unit, safety Tony Jefferson, received a text message this week from Mayfield 鈥?one former Oklahoma star reaching out to another."He said, 'I'm watching this film, watching you guys hold,'" Mayfield wrote, according to Jefferson.Jefferson said he replied: "They didn't call it."Jefferson believes Baltimore's success on defense can be attributed to skilled players following a solid game plan."I just think we've been doing a good job executing," Jefferson said Wednesday. "We've worked hard throughout the week on what we want to attack and what we want to do."Operating under first-year defensive coordinator Don Martindale, Baltimore (3-1) has limited the opposition to 275.8 yards per game, a meager 29.8 success rate on third down and is yielding only 16.25 points per game.Most impressive of all, the Ravens have not yet given up a touchdown in the second half. While the players enjoy doing it, they're not fond of hearing about it."We didn't even know it was a stat until you all brought it up," linebacker Terrell Suggs said. "It's kind of like a pitcher with a no-hitter. Thanks for bringing it up. Good job."Coach John Harbaugh broke it down this way: "The guys have gone out and played really well. That's really what it is. They've executed, make plays, turned it over a few times, stopped the run."A solid unit should get even better this week with the return of cornerback Jimmy Smith, who missed the first four weeks of the season serving a suspension for violating the league's personal conduct policy. Now in his eighth season, Smith will probably step right back into the starting lineup if he's ready by Sunday."We'll just have to see in practice how he looks and feels. I mean, he hasn't been here in four weeks," Harbaugh said. "He says he's been training and I'm sure he has. It will be fun to watch him play."Although Brandon Carr and Marlon Humphrey have done well as starters, Harbaugh knows you can never have too many solid cornerbacks."It's going to be great to have all those guys that are good cover players," he said. "We can play any coverage we want, the way we want. It gives us a lot of options on defense."The Ravens bottled up veteran quarterback Ben Roethlisberger on Sunday night in a 26-14 victory over the Steelers. Pittsburgh went 2 for 12 on third down overall and was held to 47 yards in offense in the second half."I feel like you give up 47 yards in the second half and shut out the Pittsburgh Steelers, that is noteworthy to say the least," Harbaugh said.The next challenge is trying to stop a bold rookie in Mayfield, who has been playing with confidence since making his debut two weeks ago."Ben's seen it all, but Baker Mayfield is pretty advanced," Harbaugh said. "I don't think he's a rookie in the true sense. He seems like he's got a real good feel for the game."
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