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The Ravens are Back, Baby

Lamar Jackson in sunglasses on the bench.
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The Baltimore Ravens have certainly taken fans on a roller coaster ride this season. They’ve been wildly inconsistent, and even when winning, have felt underwhelming when compared to expectations.

Sitting at 6-5 going into Tuesday night’s matchup with the injury-riddled Cowboys, the Ravens were faced with a must-win situation if they hoped to stay in the playoff hunt. With Dallas sticking around for the first half, it’s easy to say that Baltimore was rather underwhelming, yet again.

(In fact, my colleague Adam did just that.)

I disagree with that – here’s why:

The Ravens offense thrived, despite missing several key contributors.

Lamar Jackson had a tremendous game on Tuesday, both with his arms and his legs. He was fairly accurate (with some glaring exceptions), decisive, and extended plays when needed. Were there a few missed plays? Sure. But overall, Jackson did everything needed to win. On top of that, the running game took off, gashing the Cowboys whenever they wanted. The Ravens displayed the top-flight offense that helped them reach 14-2 last season.

Baltimore’s defense stood tall when they needed to.

In my opinion, Andy Dalton was also impressive last night. He was accurate and hit a plethora of receivers throughout the game. That being said, Wink Martindale’s unit only allowed 17 points and really put the clamps down in the second half. What’s more, that was without Jimmy Smith and Matthew Judon, among others. Baltimore’s D may be rounding into shape for the back-nine of the season – just in time.

The Ravens might just have rediscovered their identity.

This is the most important takeaway I have form this game. Offensively, the Ravens finally relied on what has made them so dominant for the greater portion of the last two years: the running game. J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards are a formidable tandem, and their success opened up the play action game in which Jackson thrives. If the Ravens keep up this game plan consistently, they could return to Super Bowl contender status.

These are just takeaways, but the key point I’m getting to is that Baltimore’s 34-17 victory over Dallas was by far its most convincing win of the season. Dare I say it, after this one, I once again feel that the Super Bowl is well-within reach.

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