With their bye week in the books, the Baltimore Ravens will look to improve upon their 5-1 record when they take on the Pittsburgh Steelers Nov. 1. At 6-0, the Steelers are the only undefeated team remaining in the NFL.
The Ravens beat the Steelers twice in 2019 (scores of 26-23 and 28-10). But victory will not come as easy in 2020, as Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is back on the field after a Week 2 elbow injury that ended his 2019 season.
Ravens tight end Nick Boyle thought the bye week came at a good time for Baltimore.
“Whether in the run game, making this block or making this throw or these people being on the same page on this type of route … it was a good time for us to sit back and kind of regain our focus and tighten up some screws on that kind of stuff,” Boyle said on Glenn Clark Radio Oct. 23. “And to go into, obviously, this upcoming week versus the Steelers, we’ll need to be on our best to win this game. We’re 5-1 right now and have this attitude we’re only going to get better and better and peak at the right time during the season.”
In Week 6, the Ravens had a season-high 12 penalties against the Philadelphia Eagles in a messy 30-28 win. That marked the most penalties the Ravens have been flagged for since Week 11 of the 2016 season.
“Obviously, if you look at last week, we had an extreme amount of penalties, and that’s on us players and only on us players,” Boyle said. “They’re small things that will go a really long way once you clean them up. It starts with the players, and it starts with us players being mentally focused on every single play good or bad.”
Boyle, 27, has played in all six games this season, recording nine receptions, 63 receiving yards and two touchdowns, one of which was during the game against the Eagles. Quarterback Lamar Jackson threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to Boyle after faking out two Eagles defenders.
“On that play, if I had to bet money, I would’ve bet I wasn’t going to get the ball on that play, but you know how Lamar uses his talent. You know how he extends the play. [He] made like two guys miss and then found me who was open, just snuck out a little bit. That was awesome,” Boyle said.
Jackson, 23, has figured centrally in the Ravens’ success once again and has helped lead them to their 5-1 record after winning NFL MVP honors last year. During the first six games of the season, Jackson recorded thrown for 1,135 yards and 10 touchdowns. He has posted 5,463 yards 52 touchdowns through the air during his three seasons with the Ravens.
“I think over the past couple years what he really improved on is finding an angle of how to throw the ball,” Boyle said. “He finds these unique angles and windows to throw you the ball and so I think that the best thing is to always keep your eye on him and always be ready to get the ball whenever, even when the throwing lane may not be wide open and clear.”
The Ravens are also looking to build on the success they’ve had defensively so far this year. They recently acquired outside linebacker Yannick Ngakoue, who has 42.5 career sacks — five of which have come this year with the Minnesota Vikings. He is a top-end pass rusher who the Ravens reportedly had their eyes on when he became available via trade with the Jacksonville Jaguars this summer.
“He’s only going to make our team stronger. He’s only going make us better,” Boyle said.
Off the field, Boyle has volunteered with Show Your Soft Side, a public service campaign in Baltimore with a mission to end animal cruelty and neglect. This organization was founded as a response to multiple horrific acts of animal abuse in Baltimore, and it became a nonprofit organization in 2013.
“You see these dogs being found in awful situations, in dumpsters, on the side of the road, just neglected, starving, hungry and scared, and it’s not their fault that they’re put in this situation,” Boyle said. “It’s everything to me, coming from someone who truly believes in adopting dogs who don’t have homes who don’t live their best lives for the first part of their life.”
For more from Boyle, listen to the full interview here:
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