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Instant analysis of the Ravens' 29-7 win over the Falcons in Week 7

Baltimore Sun reporters, columnists and editors give their immediate thoughts after the Ravens' game against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 7 of the NFL season.

Jeff Zrebiec, reporter: The Ravens may petition the NFL to allow them to play against the NFC South every season. In victories over the Falcons, Carolina Panthers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Ravens have outscored the opposition, 115-34. Thank the defense for the latest lopsided victory. The Ravens have rediscovered their pass rush the past two weeks and their secondary is playing much better. Joe Flacco threw two ill-advised interceptions, Jacoby Jones muffed another punt and the Ravens committed way too many penalties. But the effort from the defense nullified those things. Now in first place, the Ravens have a good chance to gain firm control of the AFC North with a victory next week in Cincinnati.

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Aaron Wilson, reporter: In dismantling the Falcons, the Ravens' defense was dominant and had a shutout bid going until midway through the fourth quarter. The Ravens sacked quarterback Matt Ryan five times and hit him eight times overall. Outside linebackers Elvis Dumervil and Pernell McPhee had two sacks apiece. Outside linebacker Terrell Suggs tackled Ryan for a safety and a sack late in the fourth quarter to put the game away. Middle linebacker Daryl Smith had one of his better games, with 11 tackles, as the Ravens contained the Falcons' running game. The Ravens exploited a soft Falcons offensive line. Although quarterback Joe Flacco wasn't sharp overall and was intercepted twice, he did enough to win the game. Running back Justin Forsett provided a steady, chain-moving presence. And tight end Owen Daniels scored his third touchdown of the season and caught six passes for 58 yards on eight targets. The offensive line struggled at times, particularly rookie left tackle James Hurst as he was flagged for three holding penalties. In his Ravens debut as he returned from a six-game suspension, safety Will Hill had two tackles, one for a loss and a quarterback hit on a blitz. He looks like a clear upgrade over free safety Darian Stewart, but they split time in his first game back. The Ravens improved to 3-0 against the NFC South this season and are now 3-1 at home.

Jon Meoli, reporter: Another comfortable win for the Ravens against an overmatched NFC South opponent. The Ravens' pass rush kept Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan from being able to look downfield for all but their fourth-quarter touchdown drive, and the rotating cast of safeties played well for the Ravens on the back end. The Falcons' pass rush against the Ravens' left-side rookies limited what the offense could do, but it didn't much matter with one of the best defenses in football also wearing black.

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Peter Schmuck, columnist: With their win and the Cincinnati Bengals' loss to the Indianapolis Colts, the Ravens moved into first place in the AFC North with their fifth victory, which was accomplished with a balanced offensive attack and a surprisingly stout performance by the defense. The pressure on Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan was relentless, and the secondary forced him to stay underneath all afternoon. He threw at least two interceptions, but the Ravens didn't catch them.

Ron Fritz, sports editor: In some ways, this beatdown of the Falcons was more impressive than last week's win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Never once did I think the Falcons could muster enough offense to beat the Ravens. The Ravens' defense was just flying to quarterback Matt Ryan, and to the ball. Despite three turnovers (including two in the end zone), the Ravens won easily.

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