Win. Win pretty. Win ugly. It don't matter as long as you get the W.
Lamar Jackson played damn near the worst game of his career. Myles Garrett was making Alejandro Villaneuva look like a turnstile (which was to be expected), but even when he had a clean pocket, Lamar made a good handful of inexcusable throws. 3 picks in 5 pass attempts is a quick way to catch an L. There's a reason no QB had won in 6 years after throwing 4 picks...
And he'd be the first to tell you, the Ravens won in spite of him today. In fact, he already did
With that said, he still managed to make a game-changing play in a game that had few of them offensively. The 2 throws on the one drive to Mark Andrews were nothing short of remarkable.
Lamar also managed to find himself with a 13-10 lead with 6:27 left, and led the team on a 11 play, 5:18 field goal drive to drain the clock and force the Browns into a much more challenging scenario at the end with no timeouts. It was a vintage 2019 Ravens drive that moved the ball effectively on the ground and with simple throws, and only stalled out after a ticky tack holding call on Ben Powers that turned a 2nd and 1 situation into a 1st and 20. The Browns almost assuredly never see the ball at the end there without that flag, and a bigger narrative coming out of this game is how the Ravens offense finished the game. But I digress.
Major kudos goes out to the defense on another lights out performance. These guys are really finding their stride. I don't care how banged up or terrible Baker Mayfield may be, holding that offense to 40 yards rushing is big time stuff. That just doesn't happen, especially with both Chubb and Hunt playing. Patrick Queen has really turned it on since shifting from the MIKE position to the WILL, and Odafe Oweh continues to terrorize tackles and QB's. Tyus Bowser can do it all and made the game-winning tackle for the 2nd consecutive week. And the secondary wasn't perfect but they were good enough, playing physical and only allowing a couple of big plays.
With some of the limitations this offense has on the line, it's becoming increasingly clear that the Ravens aren't going to light up the scoreboard the way they have the last couple of seasons (or earlier this year). But they're still explosive and the defense is coming around at the right time in spite of their myriad injuries. With the weather turning and a lot more AFC North football on deck, that type of hard-nosed football is going to be what decides the division. We may finally be settling into an identity for this season, and one that can work provided Lamar doesn't turn the football over. With trips to Pittsburgh and Cleveland on deck, you better get used to games like the one we just watched. And that's alright by me. It's gotten us to the top of the AFC, why change?
8-3. Not apologizing for it. Let's keep it rolling.