Here’s what the Baltimore Sun sports staff had to say immediately after the Ravens’ 13-3 win over the Carolina Panthers in Sunday’s Week 11 game at M&T Bank Stadium:
Jonas Shaffer, reporter: The Ravens have to hope this isn’t a Pyrrhic victory. Yes, it’s another win, their fourth straight, but at what cost? Left tackle Ronnie Stanley (ankle) and safety Kyle Hamilton (knee) have been two of the team’s best players over the past month, and neither returned to action after third-quarter injuries. The offense was unlucky at times, but the Ravens and Lamar Jackson left points on the board with poor execution. The defense continues to round into form as an elite unit. The mood in Baltimore would’ve been much different if they hadn’t shown up.
Childs Walker, reporter: The Ravens survived an unexpectedly difficult afternoon thanks to a timely strip by cornerback Marcus Peters, a fierce all-around effort from their defensive front and a pair of fourth-quarter drives on which their running game finally woke up.
Yuck would be a good word to describe the Ravens’ offense over the first three quarters as the Panthers crowded the line of scrimmage to choke off the run. Lamar Jackson helped the Panthers out when he dumped an interception right into the arms of a 330-pound defensive tackle, and he took a few inopportune sacks. The defense, with Patrick Queen marauding in the middle and Kyle Hamilton making plays from his nickel back spot, was good enough to hold Carolina down. But the Ravens did not want to mess around like this against a team they were favored to beat by double digits.
Injuries to Hamilton and left tackle Ronnie Stanley added to their misery on a cold, blustery afternoon. If you could call a win disappointing, this one was, but aesthetic failings aside, the Ravens have put themselves in strong position to roll to the playoffs.
Ryan McFadden, reporter: While the offense looked lifeless, Baltimore’s defense delivered a masterclass performance, forcing three turnovers in the fourth quarter. Linebacker Patrick Queen was flying around the field, totaling 12 tackles and a half-sack. The Ravens kept Panthers quarterback Baker Mayfield uncomfortable all game, recording four sacks and seven hits against the former Cleveland Browns starter. When the Ravens needed some momentum down the stretch, they received it from their star cornerbacks. Marcus Peters’ forced fumble followed by Marlon Humphrey’s third interception of the season allowed the Ravens to secure a win, even though it was uglier than anticipated.
C.J. Doon, editor: For as frustrating and lifeless as the Ravens’ offense looked for most of the afternoon, the defense played with the kind of energy that could carry this team down the stretch. Inside linebackers Patrick Queen and Roquan Smith set the tone early with some big hits, and the secondary followed suit by blanketing Panthers receivers all game long. With the game still hanging in the balance in the fourth quarter, cornerback Marcus Peters provided a spark with a forced fumble that quickly led to a touchdown. Marlon Humphrey then put the nail in the coffin with a late interception. The injuries to rookie safety Kyle Hamilton (knee) and left tackle Ronnie Stanley (ankle) loom large given how well both have played this season, especially of late. Their health is the biggest takeaway from a game the Ravens will want to quickly forget.
Tim Schwartz, editor: The Ravens are lucky the Panthers lined up against them Sunday, because a more formidable opponent probably would have beat them. Quarterback Lamar Jackson looked out of sync all day but found enough comfort throwing to wide receiver Demarcus Robinson and tight end Mark Andrews, and that was about it. On the plus side, this defense is becoming more menacing every week as coordinator Mike Macdonald figures out how to use all his weapons. Outside linebacker David Ojabo’s presumptive debut next week will make it even more fun to watch. But the Ravens’ hopes of a deep playoff run might’ve taken a massive hit if left tackle Ronnie Stanley’s ankle injury is serious. He has been their anchor since returning earlier this season.