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Ravens Ride Defense Dominance, Ground Game to 26-16 Win Over Falcons

December 02, 2018 - 4:38 pm

By Joe Schiller

The Ravens have found a formula that’s worked under rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson.

So far, it’s led them to three straight wins and that's all that matters. 

In a bizarre game where five separate players attempted pass between both teams, Baltimore controlled time of possession and relied on a dominant defensive performance to capture a crucial 26-16 win over the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday afternoon.

Making his third consecutive start under center, Jackson looked unphased on the opening offensive drive. He engineered a 9-play, 75 yard drive and gave the Ravens a 7-3 lead midway through the first quarter with a 13-yard option-keeper touchdown.

As expected with a rookie quarterback, mistakes followed and put Baltimore behind.

Jackson’s ball security struggles gave the Falcons life as Vic Beasley returned a strip-sack 74-yards into the end zone with 11:33 remaining in the second quarter. Momentum changed as a first down converted from Sam Koch’s fake punt pass on the previous play was followed by a Falcons’ touchdown.

The Ravens settled for four straight punts following their first score but Justin Tucker’s 41-yard field goal tied the game at 10-10 going into the half.

Tucker finished 4-for-4 on the day and his leg proved instrumental in the win.

Jackson led the Ravens to another Tucker field goal coming out of halftime, then things got bizarre. On the same drive, Jackson was sent into concussion protocol for most of the third quarter after an errand play saw Ronnie Stanley’s foot strike the quarterback’s helmet.

With Joe Flacco inactive, Robert Griffin III saw his first regular-season action since 2016 and led the Ravens on a 14-play, 60-yard drive that took up 8:08 in the third quarter. Tucker’s kick gave extended the lead to 16-10 with 31 seconds remaining in the third quarter.

A combined rushing attack led by Jackson, Kenneth Dixon, Gus Edwards and Ty Montgomery combined for 207 yards and controlled time of possession with a little help from their defensive counterparts. Edwards totaled 20 carries as the feature back.

Patrick Onwuasor provided the dagger as his strip sack on Matt Ryan midway through the fourth quarter was returned by Tavon Young for the touchdown.

Wink Martindale’s unit was nothing short of fantastic and held a high-powered offense to 131 total yards.  Matt Ryan fell under pressure consistently through four quarters and never found a rhythm. 

A late touchdown pass to Austin Hooper brought Atlanta within 10 points but the Ravens used their 39:39 minutes of possession to run out the clock en route to a 26-16 victory.

Now at 7-5, the Ravens head to Kansas City with momentum and their playoff hopes alive for another week sitting in the second Wild-Card spot.