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Instant analysis: With Ravens’ 37-20 win over Patriots, they show they are contenders

The Sun’s sports staff weighs in on the Ravens beating the previously undefeated New England Patriots 37-20 Sunday night at M&T Bank Stadium.

Jonas Shaffer, reporter: Earl Thomas said after Sunday’s game that Lamar Jackson is playing at an NFL Most Valuable Player level, and it’s hard to disagree. He’s doing it a different way than most quarterbacks, but it’s effective just the same. He’s always been able to make magic with his legs, but when the Ravens needed him to make passes on third down and fourth down, he did that against an elite secondary. If this Ravens defense can continue to force turnovers and score plays, there’s not a team in the AFC that should scare them.

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Childs Walker, reporter: The Ravens have to be taken seriously as a contender. They proved their uniquely versatile running attack will play, even against a defense that came in on a historic roll. They took their share of punches from the defending Super Bowl champions and punched back every time. The Ravens certainly could have folded after they allowed the Patriots to rise from the dead with a pair of horribly timed fumbles. The game seemed like it might go that way as Tom Brady cut through the Baltimore defense for much of the second and third quarters. But the Ravens retook control of the game in the fourth quarter, something you don’t usually see against Brady and Bill Belichick. The Patriots did a better job negating Lamar Jackson’s running than any previous Ravens opponent, but the second-year quarterback still did an excellent job engineering a pair of fourth-quarter touchdown drives. Though Jackson’s final passing line won’t blow anyone away, he relied on his arm rather than his legs to covert a few essential third downs. Mark Ingram II delivered a monster game as a runner and receiver, despite being stripped for one of those fumbles. The Baltimore defense proved it could produce game-changing turnovers as readily as the Patriots. Nick Boyle, one of the team’s great unsung heroes, scored his first career touchdown. This was a night to celebrate everything the Ravens have become with Jackson as their centerpiece.

Daniel Oyefusi, reporter: After a 1-yard touchdown run by quarterback Lamar Jackson gave the Ravens a three-score lead on the New England Patriots, MVP chants started to break out across M&T Bank Stadium. It was fitting. Through the team’s four-game win streak, and showcased during Sunday night’s 37-20 win over the then-undefeated Patriots, the second-year player has been the team’s driving force. He led a Ravens offense that jumped to an early 17-0 lead. Even after two fumbles allowed New England to make it a game, the defense stepped up with a key 70-yard scoop-and-score from cornerback Marlon Humphrey, his second in as many games. The team’s win against the Seattle Seahawks two weeks ago was a message to the rest of the league that the Ravens are contenders. With the team returning key players from injury Sunday, and another statement victory against what many viewed as the league’s best team, the Ravens are no longer flying under the radar. We’ll see how they respond to the extra attention in the weeks to come.

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