Here’s what the Baltimore Sun sports staff had to say immediately after the Ravens’ 16-10 win over the Cleveland Browns on Sunday night at M&T Bank Stadium:
Jonas Shaffer, reporter: As long as the Ravens (8-3) have a defense as good as Sunday’s iteration and a kicker as unassailable as Justin Tucker, they can hang with anybody. Lamar Jackson’s four interceptions can’t be glossed over, especially given the offense’s recent rough patch, but ultimately, the Ravens just keep doing enough. Division games are always knock-out, drag-’em-down affairs. The Ravens were just the tougher team Sunday. To hold off the Bengals (7-4) in the AFC North, they’ll need more of that.
Mike Preston, columnist: The Ravens won another ugly game, but that’s to be expected now. In fact, every game they play for the rest of the season will be that way because they have to crawl, scratch and fight for every win. Injuries have caused some problems and the Ravens haven’t been able to solve some others. So sit back, relax and let’s see where this season ends up.
Childs Walker, reporter: The Ravens did not look like the best team in the AFC, even if that’s what their record says they are for the moment. They made everything look difficult on offense, and that started with a dreadful passing performance by their franchise player, Lamar Jackson. They have scored a combined 42 points over their last three games. Right now, they are neither a grind-it-out running machine nor a big-play air force. Give their undermanned defense the game ball for a heroic performance against Cleveland’s league-best ground game. The Ravens played without their best interior lineman, Calais Campbell, but Justin Madubuike and Brandon Williams stood up to a massive challenge. Outside linebacker Tyus Bowser played like a star again. Justin Tucker was outstanding, hitting from 49 and 52 yards on a night when Cleveland’s kicker missed a crucial field goal. The Ravens found a way to get to 8-3 on a night full of odd, ugly football, and there’s something to be said for that in an NFL season defined by strange results.
Ryan McFadden, reporter: While the Ravens’ offense had perhaps its sloppiest performance of the season, the pass rush was stellar. Linebackers Odafe Oweh and Patrick Queen were disruptive throughout the evening, while cornerback Marlon Humphrey had a solid outing. Lamar Jackson had a ton of head-scratching throws, but once again, he came through when it mattered most. It’s not the prettiest win, but it’s an important divisional win nonetheless.
C.J. Doon, editor: We saw the best and worst of Lamar Jackson on Sunday night. A career-high four interceptions nearly gave the game away, but the Ravens’ defense made sure those mistakes didn’t prove too costly. Jackson didn’t have his best night passing, finishing 20-for-32 for just 165 yards, but he was able to make enough plays by buying time in the pocket and scrambling for first downs. That backpedaling touchdown pass to tight end Mark Andrews will be all over the end-of-season highlight reels. This offensive performance was one to forget, but the Ravens’ place atop the AFC North and the entire conference at 8-3 is all that matters.
Tim Schwartz, editor: One team had to win this game, and fortunately for Ravens fans the Browns’ offense scored 10 points despite four Lamar Jackson interceptions. Justin Tucker is turning into the team MVP as he keeps making big kicks. The Ravens struggled on offense, but coordinator Greg Roman deserves credit for not abandoning the running game late in the fourth quarter as Baltimore put together an 11-play, 45-yard drive that ate nearly six minutes of clock. Linebackers Tyus Bowser, Patrick Queen and rookie Odafe Oweh are carrying this team defensively — just as we all expected entering this season, right? Somehow the Ravens are 8-3 and a Super Bowl contender, even though they don’t pass the eye test right now.