2018 Season Recap: Baltimore Ravens
Division: AFC North
Record: 10-6 (1st in AFC North)
Running Back: Buck Allen
Author's Note: I highly recommend listening to this song while reading through this write-up. Really adds to the experience. May contain some NSFW language
Webster's Dictionary Wikipedia defines the 2018 Baltimore Ravens season as:
"The 2018 season was the Baltimore Ravens' 23rd season in the National Football League and their 11th under head coach John Harbaugh.
On October 14, 2018, the Ravens set a franchise record, sacking Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota 11 times in a 21–0 Week 6 win against the Tennessee Titans. "
However, as any Ravens fan can tell you. The 2018 season was more than that. So much more.
In addition to being the 23rd season in franchise history, it was also the 23rd and final season where the legendary Ozzie Newsome was an executive with the team, as he handed over the GM reins to Eric DeCosta following the season. 2018 was also the 4th season in which the Ravens had the services of Javorius "Buck" Allen. Additionally, it was the first time since 2014 (and by extension, the first time in Buck Allen's career) that the Baltimore Ravens made the playoffs. But, we'll get to that later. First, let's take a look at some cool as the other side of the pillow, fresh out of the oven statistics!
|Buck Allen Rushing Yds||110||1st|
|Buck Allen Receiving Yds||196||1st|
|Buck Allen Rushing TDs||3||1st|
|Buck Allen Receiving TDs||2||1st|
The 2017 Baltimore Ravens season ended much like the 2016 Baltimore Ravens season ended: The Ravens needed to win a late season game against a division rival in order to make the playoffs. They proceed to have a late-game defensive collapse to knock themselves out of the playoffs, extending Buck Allen's streak of playoff-less seasons and making everybody outside of Pittsburgh, Cleveland, and Cincinnati a little more sad. In other words, making everybody who matters a little more sad.
During the 2018 offseason, the Ravens front office realized that perhaps giving Joe Flacco no weapons outside of Buck Allen, about 50 different tight ends, card-carrying AARP members Steve Smith and Mike Wallace, and something called a "Chris Givens" was not conducive to winning offensive football. The front office mitigated these deficiencies by going out and signing John "Smokey" Brown (some people call him "Smoky", but I prefer "Smokey". I like to think the "e" stands for "electrifying"), Willie Snead, and Ryan Grant.
Hold on. I just received word that my last sentence failed its physical and is thus void. Let's try that again.
They mitigated these deficiencies by going out and signing John "Smokey" Brown (some people call him "Smoky", but I prefer "Smokey". I like to think the "e" stands for "electrifying"), Willie Snead, and Michael Crabtree.
But the front office wasn't done there. The talk of the town of the 2018 Ravens offseason was yet to come. Because after 10 years, countless playoff games (I can't count very high), a Super Bowl victory, and the title of Greatest QB in Ravens history (for whatever that's worth), the clock would officially start ticking on Joe Flacco's Ravens career with...:
2018 NFL Draft Selections
25.) Hayden Hurst - Tight end - South Carolina: Was injured during the offseason and start of the season, so started off pretty slow but definitely promising. But according to PFF, he is the 5th best TE in the AFC North so that's neat.
32.) Lamar Jackson - Quarterback - Louisville: As stated previously, the drafting of Jackson marked the beginning of the end of the Joe Flacco era. The civil war that ensued between Ravens fans who were Team Flacco and those who were Team Lamar was a massacre. Hundreds dead. White suits nowhere to be found. In the interest of not pissing off anybody who is strongly on either side, I'm gonna say that Lamar is a nice polite young ostrich-looking man who played some nice football at the end of the season and I am excited to see him improve on his weaknesses going forward. Lamar famously made international headlines in early 2019 when he, Buck Allen, and Anthony Levine visited the youth at the Baltimore City Juvenile Justice Center
83.) Orlando Brown Jr. - Tackle - Oklahoma: Zeus Jr. (why don't we call him Hercules dammit) made headlines leading up to the 2018 NFL Scouting Combine by putting together one of the worst combine performances in recent memory, showing all of the athleticism of a diabetic squirrel. This was serendipitous for the organization that previously employed Orlando Brown Jr.'s father (Orlando Brown Sr., if you aren't adept at recognizing naming trends), as the Ravens were able to get a 1st round talent in OBJ in the 3rd round. Lando soon became the Ravens starting right tackle taking over for a chronically ineffective James Hurst, and flourished, not allowing a single sack all season and only one QB hit. Hercules has famously been a big fan of Buck Allen, stating "@realbuckallen been counted out a lot!! A mf dog, straight up!! ✊🏾". These words show that the Ravens are starting a very cerebral player at right tackle, meaning that the position is locked up for the next decade. (Author's Note: If you want to go on a feels trip, watch this video about Lil Zeus and others talking about the memory of Zeus Sr. This video features Bill Belichick at his cuddliest).
86.) Mark Andrews - Tight end - Oklahoma: The best rookie tight end on the Ravens, and arguably in the entire NFL this past season, Mandrews had a great promising season, catching 34 passes for 552 yards and 3 touchdowns. He was on the receiving end of one of the best plays of the Ravens 2018 season and shows great promise going forward as a dynamic tight end duo with Hayden Hurst. At least until we inevitably draft 9 more tight ends in the 2019 draft.
118.) Anthony Averett - Cornerback - Alabama: Being Ozzie Newsome's final draft, it was inevitable that an Alabama player was chosen and it certainly doesn't get more Alabama than Anthony Averett. That's like 7 A's in one name alone. Averett received marginal playing time in the first half of the season, playing behind a fairly loaded cornerback crew, but received some rotational snaps later in the season and could get more playing time going forward if the team moves on from Jimmy Smith and/or Brandon Carr.
122.) Kenny Young - Linebacker - UCLA: Continuing the tradition set by Zach Orr and Patrick Onwuasor of excellent inside linebackers for the Ravens who came out of nowhere, Young started off his Ravens career brilliantly, with a sack, 2 QB hits, and 4 tackles in his first NFL game. He continued to be an excellent young complement to both C.J. Mosley and Patrick Onwuasor throughout the season. While keeping both players would be ideal for the Ravens, if one of them were to move on, the team could certainly do a lot worse than Young as a starter.
132.) Jaleel Scott - Wide receiver - New Mexico: Scott is a wide receiver, or so I'm told. He was placed on injured reserve before the season started.
162.) Jordan Lasley - Wide receiver - UCLA: Lasley is a wide receiver, or so I'm told. He
was placed on injured reserve before the season started was healthy all season but did not play.
190.) DeShon Elliott - Safety - Texas: Elliott was placed in IR with a fractured forearm during the preseason. However, Ravens fans and reporters are very high on his potential. If the team moves on from Eric Weddle, Elliott could compete with Chuck Clark for the starting safety spot.
212.) Greg Senat - Offensive Tackle - Wagner: Senat was placed on injured reserve during the preseason. He used to play college basketball, so he will be a welcome addition to our crew of 14 different tight ends next season.
215.) Bradley Bozeman - Center - Alabama: Being Ozzie Newsome's final draft, it was inevitable that an Alabama player was chosen and it certainly doesn't get more Alabama than Bradley Bozeman. The alliteration in his name alone makes him blood brothers with Anthony Averett, who we already established has about 9 A's in one name alone. While a center in college, Bozeman got many reps at guard throughout the season, even starting a game at left guard. With a strong offseason, there is a chance Bozeman could be the starting center in the 2019 season.
238.) Zach Sieler - Defensive lineman - Ferris State: Ozzie Newsome's final NFL draft selection, Sieler had one tackle in the 2018 season. I don't remember it, but I'm sure it was fantastic.
Weekly Game Recaps
2018 Week 1 | Buffalo Bills at Baltimore Ravens
Buck Allen had 4 rushes for 17 yards and 1 rushing TD. He also had 5 catches for 15 yards. The Ravens defense intercepted Nathan Peterman twice, causing Peterman's career passer rating to improve by 5 points. Game Highlights
2018 Week 2 | Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals
Buck Allen had 6 rushes for 8 yards and 1 rushing TD. He also had 5 catches for 36 yards. The Ravens defense struggled after C.J. Mosley went down with an injury, which led to Tyler Boyd and A.J. Green scoring at will. Game Highlights
2018 Week 4 | Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers
Buck Allen had 10 rushes for 30 yards and 1 rushing TD. He also had 2 catches for 17 yards. Featured arguably the greatest non-Buck Allen gif in Ravens history Game Highlights
2018 Week 6 | Baltimore Ravens at Tennessee Titans
Buck Allen had 1 rush for 1 yard. He also had 3 catches for 18 yards. As stated earlier, the Ravens sacked Mariota 11 times in the game, setting a franchise record. It was evidently important enough to warrant the second line of the 2018 Ravens Wikipedia entry. Game Highlights
2018 Week 7 | New Orleans Saints at Baltimore Ravens
New Orleans Saints
Buck Allen had 3 rushes for 3 yards. He also had 3 catches for 21 yards. You all know how it ended, let's move on. Game Highlights
2018 Week 8 | Baltimore Ravens at Carolina Panthers
Buck Allen had no rushes. He had 3 catches for 18 yards. The score makes it look closer than the game actually was. We all like to forget this game happened. Game Highlights
2018 Week 9 | Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens
Buck Allen had 1 rush for 6 yards. He also had 5 catches for 8 yards. The score makes it look closer than the game actually was. We all like to forget this game happened. Game Highlights
2018 Week 11 | Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens
In addition to Lamar Jackson, this was also Gus Edwards, aka The Magic Gus Bus' breakout game. Edwards had 17 rushes for 115 yards to go with Lamar Jackson's 26 rushes for 119 yards. However, none were as heroic as Buck Allen's 1 rush for 2 yards. Game Highlights
2018 Week 12 | Oakland Raiders at Baltimore Ravens
Jackson and Edwards continued their ground dominance, rushing for 71 and 118 yards, respectively. However, once again, none were as heroic as Buck Allen's 1 rush for 2 yards. Game Highlights
2018 Week 14 | Baltimore Ravens at Kansas City Chiefs
Kansas City Chiefs
Patrick Mahomes threw a no-look pass, probably because he was too scared of being tackled by Buck Allen who had an Earth-shattering assisted tackle on special teams. Game Highlights
2018 Week 15 | Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Baltimore Ravens
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Buck Allen had a game-changing solo tackle on special teams, proving once and for all that he's the only Bucc that matters. Game Highlights
2018 Week 16 | Baltimore Ravens at Los Angeles Chargers
Los Angeles Chargers
Buck Allen was inactive this game, but was instrumental in turning the tides in the Ravens direction by sneakily going into Antonio Gates' bag and stealing his Werther's Originals. This threw an old person like Gates off his rhythm, causing him to fumble, handing the Ravens the victory. Game Highlights
2018 Week 17 | Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens
uck Allen was again inactive this game, but his spirit was very much alive as the Ravens were determined in ending their annual tradition of losing to a divisional rival in a late-season game on the heels of a defensive collapse, causing them to be eliminated from playoff contention. And during the second half, it looked like this game would follow the formula as the Ravens were choking away a lead yet again. However, after having a pep talk with an inactive Buck Allen on the sideline, C.J. Mosley intercepted Baker Mayfield with a minute left, clinching the AFC North for the Ravens, ending the Ravens 4 year playoff drought, and sending Buck Allen to the playoffs for the first time in his career. Game Highlights
2018 Wildcard | Los Angeles Chargers at Baltimore Ravens
Los Angeles Chargers
As many NFL fans remember, the Ravens fans boo'd the offense many times during the first half because incompetent then-OC Marty Mornhinweg refused to give Buck Allen offensive reps. However the fans, team, and universe were revitalized when Buck Allen blocked a punt, giving the Ravens excellent field position. /u/FuckWayne posted a screengrab of the live reaction in the /r/ravens game thread to the Buck Block. Needless to say, it was a watershed moment in Ravens history. Anyways the Ravens lost.
2019 NFL Offseason Needs/Free Agency/Draft
The Ravens already took care of their 2nd most pressing matter, by replacing Marty Mornhinweg. We are hoping that Greg Roman will revitalize the Ravens offense in the same way that Wink Martindale helped to revitalize the Ravens defense following the tenure of Dean Pees.
It goes without saying that the Ravens most pressing offseason matter is re-signing Buck Allen, preferably to a lifetime contract.
Some non-Buck Allen upcoming free agents:
- Za'Darius Smith - DE/OLB - Zaddy Daddy (nobody calls him that) broke out this season, forming a deadly pass-rushing duo with Matt Judon. However, it has always been the Ravens credo to draft a defensive stud in mid-late rounds in the draft and then be unable to pay to keep him, leading to a bevy of sweet sweet compensatory picks. While Smith has expressed interest in returning, it is not looking likely that the Ravens will be able to retain him.
- C.J. Mosley - ILB - Now that Moringwigh is gone, the new 2nd most important offseason matter behind bringing back Buck Allen is to sign Mosley to a long-term contract. While Patrick Onwuasor and Kenny Young can hold their own, Mosley is an elite talent who is the heart of the defense.
- Terrell Suggs - Hacksaw - Arguably as big of a Ravens icon as Buck Allen, Ravens fans universally hope that Sizzle can end his career with the Ravens
- Michael Pierce - NT (RFA) - Pierce was a major reason for the Ravens defense being such a strong unit. He and Brandon Williams helped to form a strong defensive front. Pierce is one of the best run-stuffers in the league.
- Patrick Onwuasor - ILB (RFA) - Peanut's emergence helped to mitigate the loss of Zach Orr in 2017, and in 2018, he was an absolute force on defense. While he struggled in some early games, Onwuasor was huge for the Ravens in the second half, winning AFC Defensive Player of the Week after the Week 16 win over the Chargers
- John Brown - WR - Smokey was an absolute revelation for the Ravens during the first half of the season, while Flacco was the starter. As great as he was and as much as his contributions were appreciated, his play style isn't really compatible with Lamar Jackson's so it makes sense for him to sign elsewher. Would love for him to reunite with Flacco, but his sickle cells be trippin so Denver isn't a great idea.
- Brent Urban - DE/DT - Big Canada, as he is known by nobody, is great in run support. Despite being arguably the worst of the 11 Ravens defensive starters, he is a solid player who helped form a good defensive line with Williams and Pierce.
- Alex Collins - RB (UFA) - AC seems like the nicest guy in the worst and he provided some great moments as a starter. However, with the omnipresence of Buck Allen, as well as the emergence of Gus Edwards and Kenneth Dixon being a rare brief state of not injured/suspended, even at a cheap price, he may not be back.
The most important position for the Ravens to address in the draft/free agency is the interior line. The Wild Card game against the Ravens showed how much Jackson can be exposed against a team with a strong interior rush. Additionally, more offensive line help can provide better holes for Buck Allen to run through, which the Ravens will need if they hope to reach the Super Bowl in the upcoming season.