GAME PLAN: Maintaining a balanced approach, offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak had quarterback Joe Flacco orchestrate a controlled passing game that mixed in a few deep shots. Flacco was relatively efficient overall despite a few miscues in his first multiple-interception game of the season, completing 16 of 25 passes for two touchdowns, two interceptions and a 91.8 quarterback rating. The Ravens didn't abandon the running game, carrying the football 36 times for 123 yards. The Ravens improved to 5-0 when they've rushed for at least 120 yards this season. Defensive coordinator Dean Pees deployed an aggressive approach, utilizing his front seven to squeeze the pocket around Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan as outside linebackers Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil attacked off the edge. He also used line stunts to keep the Falcons' beleaguered offensive line off-balance, looping Suggs inside for a sack and safety in the fourth quarter. Pernell McPhee is a hybrid pass rusher, lining up everywhere from nose tackle to outside linebacker to defensive end with blockers unable to match his athleticism and strength.
PERSONNEL: The Ravens went with an all-rookie left side on their offensive line again out of necessity as tackle James Hurst and guard John Urschel started with Eugene Monroe and Kelechi Osemele sidelined with injuries. Wide receiver Torrey Smith's playing time increased to 58 snaps, or 87 percent of the offensive plays. Steve Smith played four less snaps than Torrey Smith. Tight ends Owen Daniels and Crockett Gillmore closely divided the workload with Daniels playing 44 snaps, one more than the rookie. Justin Forsett remained in the game for 42 snaps and a season-high 23 carries. Bernard Pierce and Lorenzo Taliaferro played 17 and four snaps, respectively. Fullback Kyle Juszczyk was in for nearly half the snaps. Wide receiver Michael Campanaro (River Hill) played a season-high 20 snaps on offense, four more than Kamar Aiken and 16 more than Jacoby Jones. The defensive iron men playing every snap were rookie inside linebacker C.J. Mosley and cornerbacks Lardarius Webb and Jimmy Smith. This marked the first time that Webb has been on the field for 100 percent of the defensive snaps since injuring his lower back during the second day of training camp. Suggs increased to 58 snaps, and his productivity is on the uptick, too. The Ravens used a rotation at safety, starting Darian Stewart and Matt Elam, but substituting liberally. Elam went down to 22 snaps, the same amount as Will Hill in his return from a six-game drug suspension. Rookie safety Terrence Brooks played a season-high 44 snaps, the same amount as Stewart. Dumervil played 40 snaps, 15 more than fellow strong-side linebacker Courtney Upshaw. Third cornerback Dominique Franks played a season-high 44 snaps. Rookie defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan played 23 snaps in his first game back from arthroscopic knee surgery.
WHAT WENT RIGHT ON OFFENSE: Forsett displayed elusiveness and power, rushing for 95 yards as he ran behind lead blocking from Juszczyk. Daniels showed concentration and toughness as he caught a touchdown between Falcons cornerback Josh Wilson and middle linebacker Paul Worrilow in the first quarter. Torrey Smith caught three passes for 81 yards and a touchdown on five targets and also drew a pass interference penalty that set up Daniels' touchdown catch. Steve Smith sparked the offense with a 49-yard reception in the third quarter that led to a field goal. Right tackle Rick Wagner's downfield blocking was a strength for the offense.
WHAT WENT WRONG ON OFFENSE: Hurst was unable to anchor well against Falcons speed rusher Jonathan Massaquoi and was called for three holding penalties. Hurst needs to do a better job of disguising when he's holding by not getting his arms extended and making it obvious. Flacco was errant on too many throws, including a pair of interceptions. On one interception, he should have thrown it over Torrey Smith's outside shoulder instead of inside, where cornerback Robert Alford outmuscled the former Maryland standout for the interception. Jones muffed his second punt in three weeks, making a poor decision not to call for a fair catch with gunner Eric Weems bearing down on him. Pierce scored a touchdown for the second week in a row, but he averaged only 2.6 yards on eight runs. Long snapper Morgan Cox suffered a season-ending injury when he tore his anterior cruciate ligament.
WHAT WENT RIGHT ON DEFENSE: Ryan was sacked five times and hit nine times overall as outside linebackers Suggs, McPhee and Dumervil applied pressure throughout the game. Although Ryan wasn't intercepted, the constant hits took a toll on him as he completed just 29 of 44 passes for 228 yards and one touchdown. Atlanta wide receiver Julio Jones was contained by Jimmy Smith, held to just five catches for 56 yards. The Ravens were stout upfront, particularly middle linebacker Daryl Smith, as the Falcons were limited to 68 rushing yards on 16 carries. In his Ravens debut, Hill reacted decisively and tracked plays down adeptly. He is a quick-striking tackler.
WHAT WENT WRONG ON DEFENSE: Webb allowed eight catches on 10 targets for 81 yards and no touchdowns, surrendering the majority of Roddy White's nine catches for 100 yards. Jimmy Smith dropped a potential interception. Nose tackle Brandon Williams had a quiet game despite playing against an undrafted rookie center when Atlanta's Peter Konz left the game with a torn ACL.
KEY PLAY: Leading 20-7, Suggs busted up the middle on a line stunt as the Falcons' line slid over to try to account for defensive tackle Haloti Ngata. Suggs brought down Ryan for the Ravens' first safety since the 2008 season against the Philadelphia Eagles to boost the Ravens' lead to 22-7 and give them possession in advance of Torrey Smith's touchdown catch to put the game out of reach for good.
BEST HIT: Defensive end DeAngelo Tyson crushed Ryan in the first quarter, shaking up the quarterback.
GAME BALLS: 1. Dumervil, McPhee and Suggs (two sacks apiece for Dumervil and McPhee, and a sack and a safety for Suggs); 2. Daniels (six catches, 58 yards, touchdown on nine targets); 3. Forsett (95 yards on 23 carries); 4. Daryl Smith (team-high 13 tackles).
INTANGIBLES: The Ravens didn't allow themselves to become complacent against a vulnerable NFC South team, remaining aggressive and focused as they improved to 3-0 against that division this season.
LOOKING AHEAD: The Cincinnati Bengals aren't looking so formidable these days, humbled by blowout losses to the New England Patriots and the Indianapolis Colts. If All-Pro wide receiver A.J. Green returns this week, the Bengals are much more dangerous on offense. Even without him, they have weapons in quarterback Andy Dalton and running back Giovani Bernard, along with a hard-nosed defense led by linebacker Vontaze Burfict.