ESPN’s largest-ever “Monday Night Football” viewers tuned on this previous week as probably the most upsetting scenes in NFL historical past happened on stay tv.
During the Buffalo Bills’ sport in opposition to the host Cincinnati Bengals, Bills security Damar Hamlin collapsed on the sector and acquired CPR for almost 9 agonizing minutes. An common of 23.8 million viewers — most of whom had been already watching a high NFL matchup — held their breath as Hamlin was transported to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center. The sport was suspended, a uncommon incidence.
Since then, playoff potentialities and quarterback questions have swirled across the Ravens’ Week 18 matchup in Cincinnati, however Hamlin’s damage stays a backdrop because the Ravens go to the positioning of the incident.
“We’re all conscious of it,” security Kyle Hamilton stated. “But I don’t think it’s going to affect us in any way. We understand what just happened there less than a week ago, so we’re going to be respectful of that, but at the same time I don’t think it’ll affect us in any way play-wise.”
Hamlin’s restoration has been carefully monitored this week and it’s been largely encouraging information; the 24-year-old had his respiratory tube eliminated Friday and spoke with teammates on FaceTime. Hamilton, the Ravens’ high decide in final yr’s NFL draft, stated the current excellent news relating to Hamlin has made this week simpler than it might need felt following Hamlin’s scary collapse.
“It’d be a lot tougher week if it went the opposite way, which I’m glad, and everybody is, that it didn’t,” he stated.
Can the Ravens go sufficient to open up the run?
The Ravens have a sport to play — with playoff implications and, probably, home-field benefit on the road.
They’re underdogs in opposition to the red-hot Bengals and can probably have to put up a stronger offensive displaying than they’ve in current weeks if they’ve an opportunity to knock off the workforce with the longest win streak (seven wins, relationship to October) within the AFC.
Ravens quarterback Tyler Huntley, who is anticipated to begin instead of the injured Lamar Jackson, has averaged simply 132 passing yards in his 5 video games this season, but it surely is perhaps onerous for him to even match that manufacturing; he was restricted in apply all week with shoulder and wrist accidents and was listed as questionable on Friday’s damage report.
If Huntley — or Anthony Brown, the undrafted rookie quarterback who will play if Huntley is unable to — can full just a few passes to forestall the Bengals from loading the field in opposition to the run, it might open up a Ravens’ offense that has struggled not too long ago. Baltimore has not scored greater than 17 factors in a sport since November.
Running again J.Okay. Dobbins has been robust, nevertheless, since his return in Week 14 from arthroscopic knee surgical procedure. He’s totaled 397 yards over the previous 4 weeks, probably the most within the NFL throughout that span.
Gus Edwards solely acquired three carries throughout final week’s Steelers sport and coach John Harbaugh and offensive coordinator Greg Roman each stated he ought to see extra motion.
“He should definitely play more,” Roman stated of Edwards. “It just played out that way, but I thought J.K. was doing pretty good.”
‘The Joe Burrow offense’
The Ravens held the Bengals’ passing assault to 190 yards throughout Baltimore’s 19-17 win in Week 5 at M&T Bank Stadium, however for each groups, that seems like a very long time in the past.
Baltimore has trended down since then, whereas Cincinnati has trended up, and a giant cause for that’s the Bengals’ robust passing assault.
“We call it the Joe Burrow offense,” Harbaugh stated of Cincinnati’s third-year quarterback. “The way they’ve built their West Coast offense is kind of toward Joe Burrow’s skill set, which is obviously really good.”
This season, the Bengals common 7.6 yards per passing try and 269 passing yards per sport.
“He’s incredibly efficient with the ball and makes very fast decisions,” Ravens defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald stated.
Wide receivers Tee Higgins and Ja’Marr Chase have mixed for 1,982 receiving yards and 15 touchdowns and tight finish Hayden Hurst, a former Ravens first-round decide, has added 400 yards and two scores.
“They have probably some of the best offensive weapons in football,” Harbaugh stated.
A dip on third down
The Bengals have a 47% third-down conversion price this season, the fourth greatest mark within the NFL, whereas the Ravens rank fourth in third-down protection, permitting opponents to transform on simply 35% of third downs.
However, over the previous 4 weeks, Ravens opponents have transformed 45% of third-down possibilities, together with Pittsburgh’s 10-for-16 efficiency this previous week.
The Ravens’ protection had bother getting off the sector, permitting Pittsburgh to run 20 extra offensive performs.
Much of that got here all the way down to third-and-short. On the Steelers’ opening drive, they confronted 4 third downs — none which had been shorter than 2 yards.
“The first thing is staying out of third-and-short,” Macdonald stated. “We had four third-and-ones that we lost all four [of]. We’d just like to improve in that situation, but that’s a tough situation [with] the way teams are approaching that situation now. So, I’d say, mostly, it’s a function of creating more opportunistic situations for us, and that’s how you play the first and second down before.”
Ravens at Bengals
Sunday, 1 p.m.
TV: Chs. 13, 9
Radio: 97.9 FM, 101.5 FM, 1090 AM
Line: Bengals by 10