The Ravens beat the Atlanta Falcons in Week 13, 26-16. RSR staff react to the win here…
— The Ravens won their third straight game and have flipped the script on the entire season. Now, teams need them to falter to overtake a playoff spot.
— The defense was lights out. Game ball to the entire unit.
— Lamar Jackson makes rookie mistakes, but he knows how to win. You can teach a player to correct his shortcomings, but winning is innate.
— The Ravens (7-5) now can set their sights on overtaking the Steelers (7-4-1) in the AFC North. Pittsburgh has a tough game against the Chargers.
I heard Brent Harris on 105.7 Friday and he made an interesting point…he said that, as long as Lamar Jackson plays well, there is no QB controversy, regardless of whether the Ravens win or lose in Atlanta. However, the interesting scenario would be if LJ played poorly, yet the Ravens still won. That seemed unlikely. Yet, that’s exactly what happened. Jackson missed some wide open throws, fumbled several times, and struggled mightily overall.
Another interesting conversation was one I had with a friend, who said he thought the Ravens had a Super Bowl-caliber defense. I disagreed. However, after seeing them completely shut down the Falcons – let’s be honest, this game could have easily been 30-6, Ravens – I am not so sure. Huge props to Wink’s unit for a game well-played. That kind of effort could shut down the high-powered offenses of Kansas City, Tampa Bay, and San Diego…er, LA…in the coming weeks.
In the end, I think you have to stick with Jackson, and hope he corrects some of the mistakes, even after Joe Flacco heals up. The team is 3-0 with the rookie at the helm. They have to keep riding the hot hand.
Are the Ravens getting hot at the right time? It’s starting to look that way. What a dominant defensive performance against some of the best offensive players in the league. I think Tony Romo is the best TV analyst currently and he gave some high praise to the Ravens defense. Romo said the Ravens are “the best combination or scheme and players in the league.” Marlon Humphrey is playing like a top 5 corner in the league, Jimmy Smith is back in top form, and how about Tavon Young‘s defensive touchdown? The entire defense was running to the football and the defensive line controlled the line of scrimage.
The offense had its share of hiccups and one of them was major, allowing a defensive touchdown. Lamar is going to help the run game and control the clock but, he’s not going to be a threat passing if the Ravens fall behind. A fair amount of dropped passes didn’t help either. Overall it was a great team win. Next week will be interesting.
Pair this win with a Colts loss (fingers crossed), and the Ravens now have sole possession of the sixth seed. I’ve been preaching sticking to the ground and pound approach, and although Lamar wasn’t great today, the offense got it done with 49 rushes for 207!
That led to dominating the TOP and snaps. The Ravens held the ball for 39:39 to the Falcons 20:21 (essentially double) and outsnapped them 77-45. That made the defense’s job much easier, and boy did they straight up BALL today. They held the Falcons to 34 rushing yards and Matt Ryan, the leagues leading passer, to 131 yards.
On to Kansas City. If they can find a way to win this one, they’ll almost certainly be in the playoffs.
All year I have been extremely critical of the defense and Wink Martindale, but today they proved me wrong. Martindale had a great plan and the defense did an amazing job of taking Julio Jones out of the game. The defense deserves a standing ovation and I tip my hat to them!
Today’s game was a snapshot of what to expect from Lamar going forward. Moments of electrifying play and then some careless turnovers. Today showed that he is still not ready to play, though an offseason of fine-tuning will help.
Remember, yes the Ravens are 3-0 with Lamar, but a team’s win/loss record should not be taken as a QB stat. This game was clearly won by the defense. The offense after the first drive simply were game managers and controlled the clock.
With all that being said, I may be in the minority here, but the Ravens need to put up points next week against KC to have a chance. I do not see this current offense being able to put up points and go score-for-score with the Chiefs. It will be curious to see who John Harbaugh and company decide to start next week if Joe Flacco is healthy.
On a side note, what a pleasure it is to have Tony Romo call t he game. He brings such knowledge and does a great breakdown of plays. I really wish he could call more Ravens games.
Today should be the end of the Flacco era in Baltimore. Lamar Jackson has earned the right to lead this team going forward. Very similar to when Colin Kaepernick took over for Alex Smith in 2012, this team just is more scary on offense when Jackson is in. Even with some missed throws early in the game, Jackson keeps improving. The fumbles are concerning of course, but learning to protect the football comes with more exposure to the speed of the game. The defense proved some doubters wrong, even though the Falcons didn’t have the greatest of game plans.
Taking this momentum into Kansas City is pivotal. Harbaugh needs to commit to Jackson, he cant be loyal to Flacco anymore. This team has more confidence and excitement when Jackson is at the helm. It wont always be pretty, but winning is the most important thing in this league. Commit to a game plan and give confidence to Jackson that this is his team now. That along with the extremely uneasy situation in KC will allow the Ravens to pull off a huge upset next week.
The Ravens defense seemed allergic to splash plays but they’ve managed a few with this new ball-control identity. The entire approach to the passing game is leaving A LOT to be desired but the Ravens are managing to win in spite of it. Now one of biggest decisions of Harbaugh’s tenure awaits.