© Evan Habeeb - USA TODAY Sports

Ravens Click on All Three Phases, Pull Away From Raiders 34-17

November 25, 2018 - 7:25 pm

It wasn’t pretty, but that’s the mantra the Baltimore Ravens followed since the installment of the franchise in 1996.

A slow first start against one of the NFL’s worst teams gave the Ravens a game that proved closer than the scoreboard said. In the end, all three phases contributed scores, leading to a 34-17 win over the Oakland Raiders on Sunday afternoon.

Lamar Jackson made his second straight start under center with Joe Flacco still sidelined with a hip injury. The rookie threw for 178 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions on 14-of-25 passing.

He rushed only 11 times after 27 attempts against the Cincinnati Bengals, totaling 71 yards and a touchdown.

Through the first three quarters, fans at M&T Bank Stadium were left feeling uneasy. Derek Carr and the Raiders offense marched 81 yards on the opening drive, capping it off with a 1-yard touchdown run from Doug Martin to take a 7-0 lead. 

Jackson followed a different game plan from what was seen a week ago and struggled to find consistency through the air early on against the Raiders. 

He led the Ravens on two scoring drives in the first half but both resulted in field goals. The latter was sparked by a 74-yard pitch-and-catch from Jackson to tight end Mark Andrews down to the Raiders’ seven-yard line and resulted in only three points.

Jackson threw two first half interceptions and both were tipped. The first could have been avoided by a better decision but the second was the result of a fantastic play from cornerback Gareon Conley, who tipped the ball to Marcus Gilchrist.

While the offense struggled, the special teams unit came up big.

With 12:45 remaining in the second quarter, Cyrus Jones went untouched 70 yards into the endzone for the punt return touchdown.

The Ravens took just a 13-10 halftime lead but adjusted and played a more suitable offensive game plan, relying on the ground game with Gus Edwards as the feature back.

Edwards rushed 118 yards on 23 carries and averaged 5.1 yards per attempt. His production complemented Jackson yet again as both of the offense and defense did their damage.

Jackson ran and threw for his first career touchdowns as a starting quarterback. His 5-yard run extended the Ravens’ lead to 20-10 early in the third quarter and he added a crucial 8-yard touchdown pass to Michael Crabtree one quarter later. 

However, perhaps the finishing blow came with just over five minutes left to play.

Facing 4th-and-8, Matt Judon forced the strip-sack on Derek Carr and a 36-year-old Terrell Suggs did the rest.

The Ravens improve to 6-5 and maintain their pace in the final Wild Card spot in the AFC.

Up next is a matchup against the Atlanta Falcons on the road. Momentum is riding with Jackson under center but a potential Flacco return will provide plenty of quarterback conversation in the next week.