The Baltimore Ravens gave the Buffalo Bills—and their fans—a taste of playoff-quality football after defeating the Bills 24-17. It was a plucky effort by Josh Allen in attempting to tie the game on the final drive, but the quarterback came up short. Meanwhile, the defense played about as well as could be hoped against a dynamic Ravens offense led by Lamar Jackson and schemed by Greg Roman. The rookies didn’t all light the world on fire during this game, but a couple still managed to make positive impacts.
More about how each rookie performed against the Ravens below.
DT Ed Oliver
Considering the team’s opponent was Lamar Jackson—a unique quarterback able to break off 40-yard runs at any moment—it’s to be expected that Oliver may have been more concerned with keeping the signal caller hemmed into the pocket than attacking him one-on-one. To that point, the tape reveals that in obvious pass-rushing situations, the rookie defensive tackle seemed to be holding back in anticipation of Jackson vacating the pocket. Jackson’s 3.6 yards per rush average speaks to this strategy. Against the run, Oliver was susceptible to being pushed out of his lane on occasion, but that was somewhat rare and his effort on other runs seemed to make up for it.
OT Cody Ford
Following up a strong game against the Dallas Cowboys, Ford had a letdown game against Baltimore. Matthew Judon’s speed rush and technique were just too much for the rookie, who gave up multiple sacks and pressures. Ford also had a couple bad hiccups in the run game, although he had the key block that sprung a 38-yard run from Singletary.
RB Devin Singletary
It was tough sledding upfront for the offensive line yet, despite that, the rookie runner had 118 yards from scrimmage thanks to some great open-field moves and his availability in the passing game. What makes the rookie runner so great is that he just never goes down after first contact, but he doesn’t avoid the contact either. The only reason he had such production against Baltimore is because of that type of mentality combined with his balance.
TE Dawson Knox
Fans were quick to blame Knox for several crucial dropped passes, but he should also be commended for his long catch in the fourth quarter, as well as a pass that Allen completely missed on in the first quarter. On the other hand, Knox was completely at fault for a poor block of Judon that resulted in a sack/fumble, although it’s worth questioning whether the rookie should have been put in that situation at all. Knox really needs some time at the jugs machine.
LB Vosean Joseph
The former fifth-round linebacker remains on injured reserve following shoulder surgery.
S Jaquan Johnson
Johnson was active against at home against Baltimore, but only for his role on special teams.
TE Tommy Sweeney
With the return of Tyler Kroft, Sweeney was again a healthy scratch this week at Baltimore.
DE Darryl Johnson Jr.
Only on the field on defense for four snaps, Johnson didn’t exactly have much time to make an impression against Baltimore. With Shaq Lawson turning it on recently this may be how things stay until the end of the season for the rookie.