Instant analysis from the Ravens' 23-16 win over the Colts at M&T Bank Stadium
By The Baltimore Sun
Dec 23, 2017 | 7:35 PM
The Baltimore Ravens defeated the Indianapolis Colts, 23-16 at M&T Bank Stadium. (Kevin Richardson / Baltimore Sun video)
How our reporters and editors saw the Ravens’ 23-16 win over the Colts at M&T Bank Stadium on Saturday:
Jeff Zrebiec, reporter: After how last year's playoff hopes ended, the Ravens needn't apologize for winning a game that gets them one step closer to the postseason, no matter how close or ugly the game was. But they certainly should understand — and they appeared to after the game — that they're going to have to play a lot better next week against the Cincinnati Bengals if they're going to get back to the postseason. Give the offense credit for not making mistakes and for sustaining drives. But the Ravens need to punch the ball in the end zone more if they're going to make noise in January. And the defense badly needs to discover a pass rush and shore up the middle of the field. But worrying about those things over a two-day Christmas break is a heck of a lot of better than the alternative, which would be losing to a team playing out the string and seeing their playoff hopes dashed.
Mike Preston, columnist: The Ravens were fortunate to play one of the worst teams in the league Saturday. This is the time of year serious contenders peak and the Ravens haven't played a good game in the past two weeks. It is good they won Saturday but it's hard to have confidence in this team with such a sub par performance. The Ravens still struggle in pass defense and getting a consistent pass rush and that will hurt them in the post season. Fortunately, other teams that will be in the post season will have weaknesses as well.
Peter Schmuck, columnist: This wasn't the statement performance the Ravens were looking for against a woeful Colts team that showed up and gave a pretty good account of itself on an ugly night in its old hometown. The Ravens offense moved the ball steadily, conducting five drives of 10 plays or more, but got sloppy in the red zone on several occasions. Nice stop at the end, but the defense showed again that when it doesn't force turnovers, it can't dominate anybody. But a win is a win and the Ravens are still on the road to the playoffs.
Edward Lee, reporter: Ravens fans will rejoice over Maurice Canady's pass breakup to cement Saturday's 23-16 win against the Colts, but it should not have gotten to a one-score affair. The Ravens took their foot off the gas and allowed the Colts to make this a contest. A win is a win, but a better effort will be needed against the Bengals in the season finale.
Childs Walker, reporter: For a team with playoff aspirations, that was way too close for comfort. The Ravens kept the Colts in the game with a few inopportune decisions and an underwhelming defensive performance. They couldn’t get to Indianapolis quarterback Jacoby Brissett for most of the game, despite frequent blitzes, and they also struggled to stop veteran running back Frank Gore over the middle. When this defense isn’t creating turnovers, it’s very ordinary. On the other hand, quarterback Joe Flacco delivered another solid performance in his post-bye renaissance.
Ron Fritz, sports editor: The play of the Ravens’ defense was astonishingly bad. They couldn’t tackle, they couldn’t pressure the quarterback and they couldn’t catch the ball for interceptions. The Ravens’; vaunted special teams unit even let a punt get blocked. Honestly, you can’t feel all that good about playing the Bengals next week, but if the Ravens win they are in the playoffs. But after today’s performance, I wouldn’t count on a long stay.