The Ravens aim to be revolutionary on offense. And while that remains to be seen, they’re already record-setting.
In the team’s first game under Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman, the unit set the following franchise records Saturday in the 59-10 win in Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium:
- Points scored: 59
- Points in a half: 42
- Offensive net yards: 643
- Margin of victory: 49
The Ravens’ 59 points were the most points an NFL team has scored in a season-opener since the 1973 Atlanta Falcons scored 63. Rookie wide receiver Marquise “Hollywood” Brown became just the third receiver in NFL history to score two touchdowns on his first two receptions.
The Ravens reveled in the records as they were read aloud in the postgame locker room. Baltimore hasn’t had too many days like this in team history, and this one was particularly sweet given the context.
Roman and his staff re-built the offensive scheme from the ground up. First-year General Manager Eric DeCosta added a bunch of new, speedy pieces. In his first year as the full-time starter and after an offseason hearing many doubters, quarterback Lamar Jackson drove it all.
“We said it before that this was going to be a different offense. I don’t think people really believed us when we said that,” tight end Mark Andrews said.
“We bring a different flavor. We’re able to run the ball when we need to and throw the ball when we need to. It’s going to be pick your poison for the defense.”
It remains to be seen how much weight should be put on the strength of the Ravens offense versus the deficiencies of the Dolphins defense. The Ravens have been watching it all offseason and preseason, so they’re confident. The doubters, however, will probably still make themselves heard.
What stood out Saturday in Miami is all the different ways the Ravens excelled on offense. They ran it well. They threw it well. They didn’t make many mistakes. They got everyone in on the fun.
Free-agent addition Mark Ingram II got the ball rolling on the very first play from scrimmage from the 11-yard line. It was a downhill power run. New starting left guard Bradley Bozeman – one of the offensive line’s biggest question marks – helped open a hole for Ingram, who shed a tackler and was off to the races for a 49-yard gain.
For a team that will predicate its offense so much on the ground game, behind an offensive coordinator known for scheming up such attacks, it was a “statement” to open the season, Head Coach John Harbaugh said.
“It’s my first time playing with Mark,” fullback Patrick Ricard said. “I anticipated great plays, but when he does that on the first play, I’m like, ‘Let’s go! We got a man who’s going to break tackles and just ride it through the hole.’ That really just got the game going for us.”
Ingram finished the day with 14 carries for 107 yards and two touchdowns, both coming on goal-line runs. Gus Edwards had 17 carries for 56 yards. Justice Hill had seven for 27. Jackson, however, only had three carries for six yards.
The Ravens ran the ball 45 times, which will probably be the most in the NFL in Week 1, though that was also impacted by running out the clock in the latter part of a blowout.
“We just came out here and executed our game plan,” Ingram said. “You see the scoreboard, but you can never let up. Great teams never let up.”
Baltimore was expected to run the ball well this season. After all, it’s what they did more and better than any team in the league last year once Jackson stepped under center. What was more unexpected was the proficiency in the passing game.
Jackson completed 17 of 20 passes for 324 yards and five touchdowns. Robert Griffin III relieved him in the fourth quarter and was 6-of-6 for 55 yards and a touchdown.
First-round pick Brown provided the electricity with two long touchdowns from 83 and 47 yards out. Andrews, a popular pick for offensive breakout player, saw a team-high eight targets and caught all eight of them for 108 yards and a touchdown.
Willie Snead, Hayden Hurst, Nick Boyle, Seth Roberts, Miles Boykin and Ricard – yes, the defensive lineman/fullback – rounded out the eight different receivers to catch a pass. Ricard’s reception was a 1-yard touchdown.
The Ravens’ offensive line allowed just one sack. Baltimore didn’t have any turnovers and just two penalties committed on offense.
“We just played excellent football,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said. “It’s a good beginning for us and now our challenge is to get ready for the next one.”
The Ravens’ records were read aloud in the postgame locker room, allowing the circled-up team to revel in them with big whoops and cheers. But just moments after, Harbaugh made sure to turn the team’s focus forward.
Asked if the Ravens sent a message about what the offense could be this season, Jackson – fresh off throwing five touchdown passes – said, “Yeah, I guess.”
“It’s over and done,” Jackson said. “We’ve just got to move on now.”