Instant analysis from Ravens’ 27-13 win over New Orleans Saints – The Denver Post


Here’s what the Baltimore Sun sports staff had to say immediately after the Ravens’ 27-13 win over the New Orleans Saints in Monday night’s Week 9 game at Caesars Superdome in New Orleans:

Jonas Shaffer, reporter: For most of this season, the Ravens hadn’t done anything exceptionally well on defense except force turnovers. On Monday, with their depleted offense and quarterback Lamar Jackson running hot-and-cold, they needed all the help they could get from coordinator Mike Macdonald’s unit. The group delivered, led by the ageless Justin Houston. A three-game winning streak will feel good back in Baltimore. A three-game winning streak heading into a bye? Even better.

Childs Walker, reporter: The Ravens have found their winning formula, with a defense that’s producing consistent pressure — Justin Houston, good lord — and an offense that’s grinding opponents down in the second half.

They could have put the game away even earlier if not for a few sloppy possessions in the Saints’ half of the field, but they have put themselves in excellent position to earn a high playoff seed come January. Quarterback Lamar Jackson misfired on a few potential big strikes but played a mature game, buying time with his feet and taking easy throws against a Saints defense that blitzed more frequently than expected. Roquan Smith wasted no time showing he’s the best hunt-and-stick middle linebacker the Ravens have had since Ray Lewis.

Remember, they did this without their second most important offensive player, Mark Andrews, and their most powerful runner, Gus Edwards, on the road against an opponent that seemed to be finding its form. Now, they have 13 days to rest and heal. This team could win a lot of games over the last eight weeks against a largely underwhelming slate of opponents.

Hayes Gardner, reporter: Without key pieces, the Ravens looked unflappable on the road.

Roquan Smith was a welcomed addition for the defense, which didn’t allow a touchdown until late, and the offense spread the ball around in a 27-13 win — a comfortable one, at that, which has been a rarity for Baltimore this season. Lamar Jackson wasn’t perfect, and he missed on a couple of passes, but his legs kept the Ravens’ offense moving all game.

Entering the bye week, it’s easy to wish the Ravens had seven or eight or even nine wins, but a 6-3 record puts them in plenty good position as they begin the second half.

C.J. Doon, editor: After all the ups and downs this season, the Ravens should feel pretty good heading into their bye week. With Baltimore down its top receiver, star tight end and top two running backs, Monday night felt like a classic trap game, but a solid-if-unspectacular Lamar Jackson and a stellar performance from the defense was more than enough to pick up a third straight win. The trade for linebacker Roquan Smith paid immediate dividends, Justin Houston looked like a legitimate game-wrecker and wide receiver DeSean Jackson even flashed at times in his first game as a Raven. Given the soft slate of opponents ahead, the Ravens have a real shot to pick up the top seed in the AFC, especially if Bills quarterback Josh Allen’s arm injury is serious. This was a workmanlike win the Ravens had to have.

Tim Schwartz, editor: The Ravens looked like a Super Bowl contender Monday night. Without Rashod Bateman and Mark Andrews, quarterback Lamar Jackson completed passes to 10 receivers and the defense put a beating on Andy Dalton and the Saints. Even in limited action, linebacker Roquan Smith looked to be worth the high price they paid to acquire him, and Justin Houston is exactly who Ravens fans though Odafe Oweh would be this year. For him to be this dominant at age 33 is incredible. The bye week comes at a good time for Baltimore, which is poised to come out of the other side healthy and ready to make a serious run for the AFC’s No. 1 seed.



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