The Baltimore Sun
5:16 PM EDT, October 14, 2012
How our reporters, columnists and editors viewed the 31-29 win over Dallas:
Jeff Zrebiec, Ravens reporter: Despite their flaws, the Ravens keep finding a way to win but this one came at a significant cost. Other than maybe Haloti Ngata, Lardarius Webb is the player the Ravens' defense could least afford to lose and he's likely done for the season. Ray Lewis, Jimmy Smith, Ma'ake Kemoeatu and Ngata were also among the players who were banged up. At 5-1, the Ravens are in a great position, but they have so much to figure out on the defensive end.
Aaron Wilson, Ravens reporter: Ravens manage to pull out victory despite serious knee injury to Lardarius Webb, which is feared by the team to be a torn left anterior cruciate ligament, and a shoddy run defense for second week in a row. Disorganized Cowboys offense was prone to multiple penalties before and after the snap. Pro Bowl defensive tackle Haloti Ngata played through a painful sprained right knee to record six tackles, one sack. Joe Flacco and Ray Rice both played solid games, but the run defense is a disaster area again. Ravens allowed 227 rushing yards, most in franchise history, breaking previous worst mark of 222 allowed during inaugural season of 1996 in October game against the Denver Broncos.
Peter Schmuck, columnist: For all those hailing the Ravens' transition from being a defensive team to an offensive team, let this be a wakeup call. To get to the Super Bowl, they're going to have to be both.
Matt Vensel, Ravens blogger/reporter: There are two things that can't be questioned: 1) The Ravens are a good team. 2) The Ravens are a flawed team. They survived the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, but there are more questions than ever about the defense after they allowed more than 400 yards for the second time this season and 200 rushing yards in back-to-back weeks for the first time in team history. And now the injury bug has stung them. Next week's game in Houston will be a huge challenge. But if the Ravens win, how can you not argue that they are the best team in the AFC?
Kevin Cowherd, columnist: The Ravens defense doesn't intimidate like it used to, and the D-line and linebackers got gouged by the Cowboys all afternoon. But Joe Flacco and Ray Rice had big games, and the Ravens D kept Tony Romo from connecting with Dez Bryant on the critical two-point conversion attempt with time running out. (Either that or Bryant choked and failed to make the catch, depending on your point of view.) Even that wasn't enough drama -- Dan Bailey's 51-yard field goal in the closing seconds was wide left. But as John Harbaugh will inevitably say, a win is a win.
Ron Fritz, sports editor: Two back-to-back weeks of U-G-L-Y. But the Ravens are 5-1 for just the second time in team history. The injury to Lardarius Webb is crushing because the Ravens no longer sack the quarterback and they no longer stop the run. The cornerbacks will be exposed and you won’t be able to leave them out there alone, like you could with Webb. The injury to Webb is a shame because he was just coming into his own.
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