Instant analysis: Ravens defense dominates with 11-sack day in 21-0 win vs. Titans

The Ravens set a franchise record with 11 sacks in a dominant defensive effort, wrapping up a three-game road trip with a 21-0 win at Nissan Stadium.

Za’Darius Smith had a team-high three sacks, and seven other players had at least one. Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota finished with fewer completions (10) than the Ravens (4-2) had sacks. Tennessee (3-3) entered the game having allowed nine sacks all season.

Quarterback Joe Flacco, who was not sacked, finished 25-for-37 for 238 yards, one touchdown and an interception. Wide receivers Michael Crabtree and Willie Snead IV combined for 13 catches for 153 yards and a touchdown.

With the win and the Cincinnati Bengals' loss Sunday to the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Ravens moved back into a tie for first place in the AFC North. They face the New Orleans Saints (4-1) in Baltimore next Sunday.

Jonas Shaffer, reporter: Eleven sacks. It sounds weird when you say it out loud, doesn’t it? Eleven sacks. The Ravens showed a lot of improvement on offense after a lethargic display in their Week 5 loss to the Cleveland Browns, but this was a butt-kicking of the highest order. Marcus Mariota never looked comfortable, and the Ravens never let him find his footing.

Jen Badie, editor: The Ravens offense set the tone with a methodical, balanced first drive that culminated in a touchdown to Michael Crabtree, who clearly corrected his dropped-pass problems. Much had been made this past week about the Ravens needing to run the ball more, and they did, finishing with 35 rushes and 37 throws. The Titans offense couldn’t get anything started, especially in the face of the Ravens’ franchise-record 11 sacks. It was a good way to bounce back from last week.

Childs Walker, reporter: This was a perfect expression of how the Ravens want to play. They sustained long drives and finished them with touchdowns. They befuddled the Tennessee offense with their ever-shifting rush and coverage looks. They got their No. 1 receiver, Michael Crabtree, back on track. Joe Flacco reserved his best throws for third down, when they were most needed.

The Titans weren’t impressive, but the fact remains no one else has dominated them this season, certainly not in Nashville. You look at the Ravens’ scoring margin and the way they’ve controlled opponents in the second half, and the evidence is mounting that this might be a really good team.

Peter Schmuck, columnist: The Ravens did just about everything right on a day when just about everything went wrong for the Titans, scoring a big win that moved the Ravens back into a first-place tie with the Bengals, who suffered a heart-breaking loss to the Steelers earlier in the day.

Joe Flacco engineered scoring drives on their first two possessions of the game while the defense harassed Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota to the point of tying a franchise record with six sacks in the first half and broke the team record with 11 in a game.

Flacco blinked at the end of the half and threw an interception that ended another potential scoring opportunity, then opened the second half with another touchdown drive. He was obviously determined to make everyone forget last week’s unproductive performance against the Browns and succeeded, completing 25 of 37 for 238 yards and a touchdown.

The thrill of victory was tempered, however, by the injury to left guard Alex Lewis, who was taken off the field on a stretcher early in the fourth quarter.

jshaffer@baltsun.com

twitter.com/jonas_shaffer

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