Last year, Miami’s defense solved Baltimore’s offense on a Thursday night in November.
The Dolphins played a lot of cover zero, sending multiple defenders to blitz while leaving defensive backs in one-on-one matchups with receivers. They limited the Ravens to just 4.3 yards per play while picking up five tackles for loss, four sacks, and a total of seven quarterback hits. Quarterback Lamar Jackson finished the game 26-of-43 passing for 238 yards with a touchdown and an interception — that was scored late in the fourth quarter — and an interception. He rushed for 39 yards.
Plus, Baltimore was just 2-of-14 on third down in the frustrating 22-10 loss.
The two teams meet again this week, this time in Baltimore for the Ravens’ home opener. And Jackson is confident his team has a better plan for what coordinator Josh Boyer’s defense will bring to the table on Sunday.
“They just caught us off guard, really. We hadn’t really gone over defenses doing all-up zero against us — like, just all-up flat-out zero,” Jackson said in his Wednesday press conference. “But I feel like we’ll have an answer for it this year. We watched film — watched a lot of film on those guys— because we don’t want it to happen again.
“Other teams did zero, but it was just the way they did it that kind of affected us. But like I said, we’ll have an answer this time around if they do the same thing.”
In his own Wednesday press conference, Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said, “We would have been negligent if we hadn’t” worked on scheming against cover zero, which elicited some laughter from assembled media.
“It was something we needed to get a lot better at, and we studied it the whole offseason,” Harbaugh said. “We’ll have a plan for it and hope it works, because these guys are probably the best in the league at doing it right now. They do it more than anybody, they do it better than anybody and it’s just something they’re committed to. I have all the respect in the world for what they’re doing defensively.”
We’ll see if the adjustments Baltimore’s made to combat Miami’s blitzing scheme are effective on Sunday.