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Bills 23, Ravens 20: Revisiting five Ravens to watch

Another blown lead against an AFC East foe leaves Baltimore 2-2

NFL: Buffalo Bills at Baltimore Ravens Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The Baltimore Ravens were rolling early against the Buffalo Bills, building a 20-3 lead in the first half that seemed like it might be insurmountable. Sure, it was early, but everything was going Baltimore’s way—until it wasn’t.

The Bills persevered through Baltimore’s best shot early, and they made some key adjustments late that continued a stretch of second-half dominance on defense. The Bills erased that 20-3 deficit, turning it around in an impressive 23-20 victory.

How did our Ravens players to watch fare this week? Let’s just say that defensive coordinator/assistant head coach Leslie Frazier had a fantastic day.

QB Lamar Jackson

Well, at least in the early going, this looked like it was going to be a one-sided affair in the matchup of star quarterbacks, and it wasn’t going to be Buffalo’s Josh Allen coming out on top. Jackson made it look easy in the first half, completing 12-of-16 passes for 108 yards and a touchdown, adding four carries for 22 yards on the ground. As the Bills have done all season, though, they clamped down in the second half, holding Baltimore’s offense to peanuts after the break. Jackson completed just 8-of-13 passes for only 36 yards and two costly interceptions. He rushed seven times for 51 yards, but he was unable to move the ball at all once the second half began. Buffalo switched their defensive looks, causing Jackson to hesitate and allowing the pass rush to affect him more than they did in the first half. Buffalo hasn’t been kind to Jackson throughout his career, and that trend continued on Sunday.

WR Rashod Bateman

Bateman was limited by a foot injury that he suffered early in the game, so he didn’t play very many snaps overall. He only played 31 snaps on the day, catching three passes for just 17 yards on a team-high six targets. Cornerbacks Kaiir Elam and Dane Jackson were magnificent together in their first time as a starting cornerback duo and, as a result, Baltimore’s top targets entering the game weren’t able to do much against them.

TE Mark Andrews

Speaking of a top target, Andrews was bothered by a combination of defenders, as cornerback Taron Johnson drew the main assignment. He had help from linebackers Matt Milano and Tremaine Edmunds, and safety Jordan Poyer, all of whom performed brilliantly in limiting Andrews. But kudos to the diminutive Johnson, who gave up 6” and 55 pounds to the larger, stronger tight end. Andrews saw five targets, catching two passes for 15 yards. He drew two penalties on the day—one for holding and one for pass interference—that would have made his line look better had he not been on the business end of a penalty; however, the Bills were effective in taking Baltimore’s best receiver out of the game.

DT Justin Madubuike

The big DT was a big problem on Sunday, as he was in Allen’s face all afternoon. He batted two passes at the line of scrimmage, one of which sailed through the hands of tight end Dawson Knox and into the hands of cornerack Marlon Humphrey. He added three tackles, one of which went for a loss, in what was a very effective game against Buffalo’s ailing interior offensive line.

S Marcus Williams

One team’s top safety added to his interception total on Sunday, but it wasn’t Williams who did it. Williams may not have intercepted a pass, but he did recover a fumble by Bills running back Devin Singletary that set Baltimore up in easy field goal range. Williams totaled four tackles on the game, but he didn’t break up a pass this week.