Here’s what the Baltimore Sun sports staff had to say immediately after the Ravens’ 17-9 win over the Atlanta Falcons in Saturday’s Week 16 game at M&T Bank Stadium.
Jonas Shaffer, reporter: It was ugly. It was cold. It was against the Falcons. But a win is a win. Considering the state of the Ravens’ receiving corps and Tyler Huntley’s mistake-averse approach, the Ravens will take it.
Childs Walker, reporter: A goal line stand, capped by linebacker Patrick Queen shooting the gap on fourth down, preserved the working margin the Ravens needed to survive the coldest home game in franchise history. They’re not anywhere near top form as they await the return of quarterback Lamar Jackson, but they’ve made the playoffs for the fourth time in five years thanks to an explosive running game (what a difference J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards make) and a defense that keeps scores low.
We saw some of the trends that have haunted the Ravens in recent weeks, including blown plays in the red zone and lax defense in the two minutes before halftime. That formula won’t work when they’re facing the AFC’s best in January, but they kept pushing toward a postseason berth with their most important player on the sideline for most of the last month. We can’t say they lack determination.
Ryan McFadden, reporter: The Ravens’ defense delivered another strong performance, with inside linebacker Roquan Smith showing why he was named to the Pro Bowl. It was great to see the Ravens’ pass game show some life with backup quarterback Tyler Huntley making a couple of big-time throws.
Despite the win, the Ravens’ struggles in the red zone remain troublesome as well as Huntley’s decision-making. He had tight ends Mark Andrews and Isaiah Likely open in the end zone on multiple occasions but he held on to the ball too long.
C.J. Doon, editor: The Ravens entered Week 16 without their starting quarterback and will leave it with a playoff berth. Any way you slice it, that’s pretty good. The health of Lamar Jackson remains the key to the Ravens’ hopes for a deep postseason run, and now they can give him plenty of time to rest his sprained PCL before the wild-card round.
Tim Schwartz, editor: It wasn’t pretty but this is exactly what the Ravens needed. They got back to their bread and butter and ran the ball 34 times for 184 yards to take care of business and beat the lowly Falcons in the coldest home game in franchise history. Considering the question marks surrounding this team (there are many), they’ll take an ugly win with their backup quarterback. They dearly miss Lamar Jackson under center and Baltimore isn’t going anywhere without him, but at least the running game is working and the defense is playing at a high level for when he returns.