Instant Analysis: Blowout win over Raiders was just what Ravens needed

Baltimore Sun staffers analyze the Ravens' 55-20 win over the Oakland Raiders.

Jeff Zrebiec, reporter: I'm not sure the fake field goal was necessary, but the Ravens did exactly what they should have done -- and needed to do -- against an overmatched opponent. The offense got its swagger back and several players who have been quiet recently, like Dennis Pitta, Ed Dickson and Jacoby Jones, made their presence felt. The defense caused some turnovers and was generally solid. And even some of the banged-up players, like Haloti Ngata, Jimmy Smith and Ed Reed, got some or all of the afternoon off. With a showdown against the Pittsburgh Steelers looming, the Raiders coming into town was exactly what the Ravens needed.

Matt Vensel, reporter/blogger: The Ravens played their most complete game of the season Sunday, dominating in all three phases for all four quarters to roll over the Oakland Raiders. They set a new franchise record for points scored, and the D played pretty well considering how many possessions the Raiders got. With a critical road game coming up in Pittsburgh next weekend and more tough games after that, we'll see if this blowout gives the Ravens a boost.

Edward Lee, reporter: The Ravens thoroughly dominated the Raiders, who looked like they were suffering from jet lag after their flight from Oakland. The Ravens should enjoy this win, but might want to bottle some of that magic for upcoming games against the Pittsburgh Steelers, the San Diego Chargers, the Steelers (again), the Denver Broncos and the New York Giants.

Aaron Wilson, reporter: The Raiders provided the elixir for a previously dormant Ravens offense. It was a classic stat day for Ravens, who got to rest an ailing Haloti Ngata and Jimmy Smith up for the archrival Pittsburgh Steelers. Joe Flacco was out of the game by middle of fourth quarter with backup Tyrod Taylor inserted. It's hard to judge this one other than to say it's encouraging that the Ravens can blow out a clearly inferior team and make it out of this one healthy except for bumps and bruises, including tight end Dennis Pitta shaking off a hit to the head and free safety Ed Reed sustaining a right shoulder stinger. These are the kind of games where you have to take care of business, and the Ravens clearly did. It's debatable whether the Ravens should have saved that fake field goal play by Sam Koch, which went for a late touchdown to expand the scoring, for a more important time later this season. Jacoby Jones' speed on kickoff returns was impressive, as he ran back a kickoff 105 yards for a score after previously tying the NFL mark for longest kickoff return with a 108-yard touchdown against the Dallas Cowboys.

Ron Fritz, sports editor: Congratulations Ravens, you beat the worst team in the NFL by 35 points and it took a fake field goal to do it. Sure hope you don't need that fake punt when the game really counts because now the NFL has seen it. As much as I've made my disdain for the Pittsburgh Steelers known, I can assure you that Mike Tomlin would never demean an opponent like that.

Mike Preston, columnist: Congratulations, Raiders. You are the worst team in the NFL.

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