What we learned from the Ravens’ win over Saints on Monday night

  1. Baltimore’s offense finds its groove. It only took the Ravens one drive to fix the troubles before embarking on one of their most impressive, methodical scoring campaigns of the season. It began with Baltimore’s second possession, in which the Ravens rushed for 76 yards, won five first downs and converted three third down attempts in 11 games. A statement of a drive ended with a 24-yard touchdown pass Lamar Jackson to the rookie tight end Isaiah probably, setting the tone for another productive night. Four of Baltimore’s five hits required at least eight games, and the only quick possession came after a takeaway that put the Ravens on the New Orleans 17-yard line. The style with which the Ravens scored was perhaps the most impressive part of it all. Jackson connected to 10 different targets on a night when he had none Mark Andrews or Rashod Bateman at his disposal. Add Kenyan Drake93 yards and two touchdowns on 24 tries, plus Jackson’s 11 carries for 82 yards, and you have a well-balanced offense that can attack from any angle. It gave the Saints fits and ultimately propelled the Ravens to an emphatic victory on national television.
  2. Justin Houston burns. The edge-rusher is 33 but certainly doesn’t look like it, making it three straight games with at least two sacks. He finished at 2.5 on Monday night, and his main play effectively ended the game in the fourth quarter when he caught a deflected pass Brent Urban, added an interception to his already impressive night. After the game, Jackson named Houston a Hall of Famer. He certainly played like one on Monday night.
  3. It’s time to move on Andy Dalton. The Saints played slowly James Winston‘s return for more than a month, and at 3-6 they need to take a good look at their current status and decide if they’d be better off reaching out to Winston from now on. Though his stats don’t indicate it, Dalton struggled all night, completing 19 of 29 passes for 210 yards, one touchdown and a fateful interception. He missed a distance Marquez Callaway just before halftime in a situation where the Saints desperately needed a touchdown, and his only touchdown pass of the night came because Baltimore gave up a live game because they mistakenly believed Juvan Johnson stepped out of line. Alvin Kamara (nine carries, 30 yards) can’t carry this offense alone, especially without the help of Markus Ingramand Dalton has proven his inability to make the Saints strong enough to remain competitive.
  4. Injuries continue to rise for New Orleans. The Saints were already playing without both Marshall Lattimore and Bradley Roby on Monday night, and the injury virus showed no mercy. center Eric McCoy eliminated in the first half due to injury and did not return, defender Markus Davenport walked into the locker room with a calf problem and linebacker Peter Werner was carted off. The New Orleans receiving corps — once seen as that team’s overworked strength — has lost two of its top three receivers (Michael Thomas, Jarvis Landry), leave novice Chris Olav on an island with Callaway and Johnson drifting off shore. Add four sacks to Dalton and you have a team clearly lacking in their top talent, as evidenced by their three losses in their last four games.
  5. Ravens continue to build momentum. Mike Macdonald deserves credit for bringing this defense together over the past few weeks. After squandering several double-digit leads earlier in the season, the Ravens have figured out how to finish games, conceding 18.3 points per contest over the past three weeks. They held on to beating Cleveland at home and then made their way to defeat two NFC South opponents in Tampa and New Orleans, and Monday night might have been their best performance of the season. Houston, of course, played a big part in their success, but so did Macdonald’s timely blitz calls, which wiped out several touchdown chances for New Orleans and forced the Saints to settle for field goals. The adding of Roquan Smith helped too, but that’s a total team effort that produces winning football. In an AFC North that is far from decided, that could prove essential.

Next-gen stats of the game: Justin Houston finished the game with five quarterback pressures and 2.5 sacks on 22 pass rushes, finishing third in a game for Houston since 2021.

NFL Research: With Lamar Jackson’s 82 rushing yards and Andy Dalton’s five on Monday Night Football, all NFL quarterbacks rushed a combined 801 yards in Week 9. That total breaks the record for most combined quarterback rushing yards in a single week in NFL history, surpassing the previous mark of 787 in Week 15 of the 2020 season.

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