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Instant analysis from Ravens’ 34-6 win over Los Angeles Chargers

Here’s what the Baltimore Sun sports staff had to say immediately after the Ravens’ 34-6 win over the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday afternoon at M&T Bank Stadium:

Jonas Shaffer, reporter: The Ravens aren’t easy to predict. But they’re also proving hard to beat. Lamar Jackson wasn’t transcendent, and still the Ravens won by 28 points. Their defense was elite, their special teams play was a galaxy away from the Chargers’, and the offense made plays when it had to. With a win next week, the Ravens will enter the bye week with just one loss. Considering all that happened in August and September, that’s awfully impressive.

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Mike Preston, columnist: If the Chargers were one of the best teams in the AFC, the rest of the conference is in trouble. The Ravens dominated Los Angeles in every phase of the game from the opening whistle until the final gun. There were questions about the Ravens’ defense before the game, but very few afterward.

Childs Walker, reporter: This was a mature performance from the Ravens against a surging opponent that was expected to run up and down the field on them.

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Lamar Jackson didn’t come close to matching his career-best passing performance from six days earlier, but he didn’t need to. The Ravens took what the Los Angeles defense gave them from the start, mixing runs from five ball-carriers with low-risk throws to tight end Mark Andrews and rookie wide receiver Rashod Bateman.

On defense, they confused Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert with blitzes and disguised coverages. Herbert missed throws that should have been routine for a player of his skill and finished with the second-worst passer rating of his career. The Ravens delivered their best tackling performance of the season, preventing Chargers running back Austin Ekeler from becoming a major factor in the game. They also outclassed the Chargers on special teams, baiting them into ill-advised kickoff returns while Devin Duvernay set up a spirit-crushing touchdown drive with his 47-yard kickoff return to start the second half.

The Ravens didn’t need any late-game theatrics this time. Instead, they put themselves in the first class of AFC contenders with an all-phases beatdown.

Ryan McFadden, reporter: Coming into the game, I expected to see Lamar Jackson and Justin Herbert duke it out in a battle between two of the top young quarterbacks in the game. That didn’t happen. The Ravens defense did a solid job at keeping Herbert out of rhythm. After missing two games, Ravens safety DeShon Elliott was all over the field making plays, as he recorded an interception and a pair of pass breakups. The Ravens’ running game was able to take advantage of a struggling Chargers defense. Meanwhile, rookie receiver Rashod Bateman played well in his NFL debut.

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C.J. Doon, editor: This is the Ravens team the rest of the league doesn’t want to see. Baltimore played a complete game in all three phases to dismantle the Chargers, a team that entered Sunday as an emerging contender in the AFC led by a budding star in quarterback Justin Herbert. Fellow MVP candidate Lamar Jackson didn’t even play his best, and the Ravens still won easily — albeit against a Los Angeles defense that has put up little resistance against the run this season. If the Ravens defense can continue to play as well it did Sunday, limiting what’s been an effective Chargers offense to a combined 4-for-16 on third and fourth down, the Buffalo Bills might be the only team standing in Baltimore’s way on the road to the Super Bowl.

Tim Schwartz, editor: What a demolition by the Ravens. Their defense, facing one of their toughest tests of the season, looked championship caliber for the first time, something no other team in the league wanted to see. Those missed tackles that had haunted them to this point were not on display, and with a big lead, they pinned their ears back and got after second-year quarterback Justin Herbert seemingly with ease. Le’Veon Bell, Devonta Freeman and Latavius Murray each turned back the clock and scored rushing touchdowns. Returner Devin Duvernay had a big day and, paired with kicker Justin Tucker, Baltimore might have the best special teams unit in the league. The Ravens are getting healthier and more dangerous by the week. Look out, AFC.

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