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2 Ravens takeaways from confusing Week 7 loss to Bengals

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The Baltimore Ravens dropped to 5-2 after losing to the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 7, 41-17, at home. That was a shocking loss for the Ravens, who had never lost to Cincy since Lamar Jackson ascended into the starting quarterback role for the team. The setback also had Baltimore sliding back down to second place in the AFC North standings.

There is no need to push the panic button at all for the Ravens, but there are lessons for them to be learned from the defeat they suffered at the hands of Joe Burrow and company in Week 7.

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Ravens Week 7 Takeaways

3. Bateman begins

Not a few fantasy football managers must have been made incredibly happy by Ravens rookie Rashod Bateman in Week 7 of the 2021 NFL season. With six teams on a bye, Week 7 was considered a bye-mageddon. Certainly,  Bateman was picked up as a plug-and-play, low-risk, high-reward wide receiver option for managers without their top wideouts. In just his second game of his pro career, Bateman put up a respectable output of 80 receiving yards on three catches and six targets. His target share was third on the team — behind Marquise Brown and Mark Andrews — but his performance in the Bengals game could very well have set him up with more looks from Lamar Jackson in the coming weeks. Of course, Bateman benefited from the absence of Sammy Watkins, who was sidelined with a hamstring issue, but even if the former Clemson Tigers star returns, Bateman seems to have carved up a role downfield for the Ravens’ passing attack. Bateman has appeared in no fewer than 65 percent of snaps in each of his last two games.

2. Lamar Jackson can’t play defense

This take is one that pretty much appears every time the Ravens lose. Although Baltimore is littered with great talents, at the end of the day, the Ravens will go as far as where Jackson takes them. Then again, he can’t play defense.

Baltimore’s pass defense was atrocious against the Bengals. The Ravens’ secondary was lit up by Ja’Marr Chase for 201 yards and a touchdown on eight receptions. Chase is so good he can shame every cornerback there is today, but getting burned for over 200 yards is still unacceptable for Baltimore’s defense. Then there’s tight end C.J. Uzomah who scored two touchdowns along with 91 receiving yards on three receptions.

1. Lamar Jackson also can’t play quarterback and offensive lineman at the same time

Jackson passed for 257 yards and a touchdown on 15-of-31 completions against the Bengals. He was not intercepted but was sacked five times for a loss of 18 yards. The Ravens shouldn’t be taking for granted Jackson’s abilities to tuck the ball, use his legs, and evade pass rushers.

If he gets sidelined for multiple weeks due to an injury, Baltimore can throw away its Super Bowl dreams out the window. Just because the Ravens have a generational dual-threat quarterback doesn’t mean they can just leave it all up to Jackson the job to protect himself. So far this season, Jackson has been sacked a total of 21 times — second-most among all quarterbacks in the NFL. As a team, the Ravens’ offense is 26th in quarterback sack rate.