Mon, 06 Feb 2023

Kevin Eck Ravens Flipped the Script, Defied the Odds in Gritty Win

All four of the Ravens' losses this season could be categorized as snatching defeat from the jaw of victory, so it was nice to be on the other side for a change.

In Sunday's 10-9 win over the Denver Broncos, the Ravens trailed for the majority of the game and had just a 4.7-percent chance of winning based on the final statistics, according to Football Outsiders. Entering the game, NFL teams were 0-206 since 1995 when committing two turnovers, forcing none and failing to exceed 10 points, per Pro Football Reference.

"The Ravens made it 1-206 by beating the Broncos in this game," The Athletic's Mike Sando wrote. "In the entire history of the league, which dates to 1920, teams were 8-325-1 (.025) in those games before Baltimore added to the win column Sunday.

"Denver lost this game after leading for 98 percent of offensive and defensive snaps. Only one other time since 2000 have the Broncos lost a game after leading for such a high percentage of plays, according to TruMedia. That was in a 2019 game against Minnesota, when the Broncos blew a 20-0 halftime lead."

According to NextGen Stats, the Broncos had an 89% chance of winning after Russell Wilson hit a deep pass to Greg Dulcich midway through the fourth quarter. Denver still had an 83% chance of winning when the Ravens offense faced a fourth-and-2 on its final drive.

Sure, few expected the Ravens to be in such a dogfight against a struggling Broncos squad that has now lost eight of its past nine and hasn't won a game since October. But the Ravens still deserve credit for finding a way to win a game that the final statistics say they shouldn't have, especially with Lamar Jackson being knocked out of the game at the end of the first quarter.

"After suffering all four of their losses in the last two minutes, the Ravens didn't lead until the final 28 seconds. Their streak of holding a two-score lead in every contest may have ended, but flipping the script at the end had to feel good - even in an ugly game," Baltimore Positive's Luke Jones wrote.

Greg Roman Praised for Maximizing Tyler Huntley's Strengths

With Stanford having interest in Greg Roman for its head coaching vacancy, Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer said the offensive coordinator helped his candidacy for the work he did with backup quarterback Tyler Huntley against the Broncos.

"Huntley was efficient, if safe, in completing 27-of-32 throws for 187 yards, rushing for another 41 yards on 10 carries, and leading a 91-yard scoring drive for the game-winning touchdown in the waning moments of the fourth quarter," Breer wrote. "All of it highlighted Roman's strong suit as a coach, which has always been to identify his guys' strengths, and maximize them. Which, I think, Stanford could use right now."

Roman served on Stanford's staff for two years (2009-2010) as tight ends and offensive tackles coach under Jim Harbaugh before they departed for the San Francisco 49ers. Roman has been on Baltimore's staff since 2017 and became offensive coordinator in 2019.

The Latest on Odell Beckham Jr.

When John Harbaugh was asked yesterday about the Ravens reportedly being one of the teams that has been in talks with free-agent wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., he replied: "No, I haven't really thought too much about it - I really haven't."

Unlike the head coach, Ravens fans undoubtedly are thinking about the possibility of the three-time Pro Bowler ending up in Baltimore, especially with the Ravens coming off another sluggish offensive performance.

CBS Sports' Josina Anderson reported last week that Beckham "was having conversations with the Ravens." Press Box's Glenn Clark wrote yesterday that a league source told him Sunday that talks between the Ravens and Beckham are "definitely not dead."

Beckham visited the New York Giants and Buffalo Bills last week and the Dallas Cowboys yesterday.

Russell Street Report's Tony Lombardi said Ravens fans shouldn't get their hopes up about seeing OBJ in purple and black.

"The thought of Odell Beckham Jr. coming to Baltimore as anything other than an opponent is laughable," Lombardi wrote. "Word is that OBJ wants a multi-year deal. BUT...he hasn't worked out for anyone, just 10 months removed from his ACL tear. And if OBJ really can't help a team in 2022, and there's really little reason to believe he can, why would anyone look to sign him long-term unless it was on the cheap? And does anyone really expect OBJ to sign on the cheap?"

Ravens Earn High Marks for Use of Analytics

The Ravens remain one of the most analytically advanced teams in the league, based on ESPN's annual survey of NFL teams' analytics groups.

Baltimore placed second (behind the Cleveland Browns) in terms of which teams are the most analytically advanced and which teams produce the highest level of analytical work. The Ravens tied for third as far as which teams most incorporate analytics into their decision-making,

"The Ravens appear to be one of the most analytically inclined game-management teams under John Harbaugh," ESPN Analytics' Seth Walder wrote.

One survey-taker wrote: "You continuously see Baltimore make analytically sound decisions."

Another respondent said, "the Ravens are usually aligned with consensus opinion in the draft, another indicator of their quantitative-leaning mindset."

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