Baltimore Ravens vs Jaguars: Best/Worst Performances


Dec 14, 2014; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens tackle Timmy Jernigan (97) tackles Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles (5) at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

Blake Bortles, take a bow. The Baltimore Ravens owe you big time for their 20-12 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars. Bortles looked absolutely lost in the pocket, taking eight sacks and missing open receivers. But Ravens’ fans aren’t interested in Bortles. They won’t see him again. So let’s take a look at the guys in purple and black, the guys who struggled mightily in a tight win. Here are the best and worst performances from the Ravens’ win.

Best: Rashaan Melvin, CB

As usual, the Ravens’ suffered multiple injuries in the secondary. Something changed against the Jaguars, though, as the replacement, Rashaan Melvin, actually stepped up in a big way.

Melvin had five tackles and a pass defended, stepping up to help in the ground game while playing excellent coverage as well. His length and athleticism were apparent, and he even displayed some pretty good technique as well, a rarity in this secondary. If Melvin continues to play well, the Ravens may have just found themselves a gem.

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Worst: Justin Forsett, RB

Honorable mention goes to the Ravens’ offensive line, which was terrible, but Justin Forsett did not help matters. Forsett looked slow and weak, barely breaking any tackles and hitting the hole with no explosion. His long run of the day was just six yards as he finished with 48 yards on 16 carries.

There were multiple times when Forsett had just one defender between him and a big gain, and he was unable to break the tackle. There is legitimate reason for concern here, as Forsett has never had this big of a workload before. He may be wearing down, which would be terrible news for the Ravens.

Best: Joe FlaccoQB

With no running game at all, Joe Flacco was able to consistently generate yardage, completing two-thirds of his passes en route to a 221 yard, one touchdown performance. Flacco was plagued by his receivers’ drops and inability to get open, yet he consistently threw accurate, smart balls.

What’s incredible about Flacco’s game was his performance in the short passing game. With the Ravens’ receivers consistently well covered, there was never anywhere for Flacco to throw deep. Instead, he meticulously picked apart the Jaguars’ defense, hitting well-covered receivers all game long. His passing was really the only offense the Ravens’ had, and it was enough to win. And don’t forget his nifty 10-yard run to pick up a key first down late in the fourth quarter.

Worst: Steve SmithWR

Steve Smith has slowed down significantly of late. His last 100-yard game was October 12, and he has averaged fewer than 10 yards per catch in four of his last six games. That’s a huge problem for a team that has not been able to pass the ball deep of late.

Against the Jaguars, Smith caught all five of his targets but for just 37 yards. He broke no tackles after the catch and didn’t get open on longer routes. The Ravens should consider allowing him to try for a jump ball down the field if single coverage presents itself, but his days of getting behind defenses seem to be over.

On a positive note, Smith caught his 900th pass today. Congratulations on a great career.

Best: Pass Rush

Terrell Suggs headlined what was a dominant pass rush against the Jaguars, as the Ravens racked up eight sacks and pressured Bortles on the game sealing interception.

Let’s go over the sack numbers: 2.5 for Suggs, two for Timmy Jernigan (who looks like an absolute stud by the way), 1.5 for Pernell McPhee, one for C.J. Mosley and one for Elvis Dumervil. Bortles looked like a deer in the headlights, which is the reason the Ravens won. It wasn’t fancy, just a good old-fashioned beat down by the best pass rush in the game.

Worst: Kevin McDermottLS

Long snappers have one objective: Go unnoticed. Kevin McDermott did not do that against the Jaguars. He had a high snap that caused a missed field goal and a low snap that almost caused a blocked punt. McDermott had been fine for most of the season, so this isn’t a huge area for concern. Just keep an eye on it in the future, as a bad snap absolutely can decide a football game.