JAX-BAL Grades: Costly penalty from Dumervil leads to Jags' winner
Here are the top takeaways and highest-graded players from the Jaguars’ 22-20 victory over the Ravens:
– QB Blake Bortles (-5.1) has shown serious improvement in his second year in the league, but had his worst outing of the season against the Ravens. His numbers look decent at first glance, with 22 completions from 45 attempts for 188 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception, but they fail to acknowledge the missed opportunities by Baltimore defenders. John Harbaugh must be in disbelief at losing this game, not only because of the facemask penalty that extended time beyond double zero, but also because Bortles threw a duck to Kendrick Lewis (0.0) under pressure a few plays earlier, which should have been the easiest interception he’d ever made—and game over. It wasn’t the only mistake Bortles made, having another ill-advised throw dropped by Jimmy Smith (+1.1) in the second quarter. It remains to be seen whether this game was merely a momentary blip in a promising season, or a return to his rookie performance levels, but Bortles has a real chance now to take the Jaguars to the playoffs.
– CB Davon House (+2.2) improved the Jaguars’ secondary immediately upon his arrival. Admittedly, that’s not saying too much, considering they’ve struggled on the back end of their defense since Rashean Mathis left town. Still, this was some game after being benched a couple of weeks back. House allowed 6-of-12 targets to be completed for 89 yards, a touchdown, two picks and a pass deflection. He had a QB rating when targeted of just 62.8. House was particularly effective against the deep ball, recording a pick and pass deflection to go with a couple of other plays where he was in good position. It wasn’t a perfect game by any means, as House was beaten on some intermediate passes, including the touchdown to Chris Givens (-0.2) on a deep curl route, and a first down on a back shoulder throw. Overall, though, this was one of his better games and something to build on for the rest of the season.
– Jacksonville’s defense has serious issues in the pass rushing department. Overall, their defense combined for a -7.8 grade in that facet of play, with only a single player recording multiple pressures. Jared Odrick (-1.8) continues to look awkward on the edge of a four-man line, while Chris Clemons (-1.5) looks like he’s coming to the end of his career. Andre Branch (-5.5) and Ryan Davis (-0.8) were shut out, meanwhile. In fact, none the Jaguars’ defensive ends combined for a solitary hurry in the entire game. The lack of a pass rush makes the performance of the secondary (starters combined for a +5.5 grade) all the more impressive.
DT Abry Jones (+2.3)
CB Davon House (+2.2)
CB Aaron Colvin (+2.2)
WR Allen Hurns (+2.2)
HB T.J. Yeldon (+1.4)
– There have been few guards better at what they do than Marshal Yanda (+4.0), making his recent contract extension richly deserved. The new deal ensures our top overall guard will be with the Ravens for another four years. Yanda has not graded negatively since Week 12 of 2013. He has recorded at least a +1.5 grade or better in each of the Ravens’ nine games this season, grading positively as a run blocker in each. Yanda’s also committed just a single penalty. He’s easily our top guard, with a 94.9 overall grade. While Yanda is decent in pass protection, his main strength is as a run blocker, where his 95.2 season grade is head and shoulders above the rest.
– If there’s one criticism of the Ravens’ defense, it’s that they lack standout players on the defensive line. NT Brandon Williams (+2.0) is amongst the best run stuffers in the league, but there’s not a lot of talent aside from him. Recent high draft picks invested in Timmy Jernigan (-0.9) and Carl Davis (-0.3) have failed to provide an instant impact, even if they might do so in the future. Lawrence Guy (-2.5), meanwhile, has yet to show the kind of performances he put in for the Colts in his final year in Indianapolis. Finally, Chris Canty’s (-0.2) return might inject some life into the unit, but after recording an overall negative grade in 2014 (-1.1), that appears unlikely. Interior pressure has been a particular issue, only compounded by the lack of edge pressure (resulting from the loss of Terrell Suggs).
– Speaking of which, this was perhaps the most productive the rotation opposite Elvis Dumervil (+1.9) has been for the Ravens. Courtney Upshaw (+0.7) recorded his first positive grade as a pass rusher this season, amassing a hit, hurry, and batted pass in his 27 rushes. He was also his usual stout self in run defense. Za’Darius Smith (+1.2), meanwhile, recorded his first game grade above +1.0 as a rusher. He looks more suited to a backup role, after struggling with extended playing time against Cleveland in Week 5. Against the Jaguars, he had a hurry and batted pass in 17 rushes, and also made a defensive stop. Finally, Albert McClellan (-0.6) even got in on the act, recording his first pressure since Week 3. The Ravens won’t be able to replace Suggs, but if they can offer a legitimate threat off the edge, they can certainly mitigate for his absence.
RT Ricky Wagner (+4.6)
LT Eugene Monroe (+4.0)
RG Marshal Yanda (+4.0)
TE Nick Boyle (+2.3)
NT Brandon Williams (+2.0)