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Ravens Rebound And Stake Their Place Atop The AFC North With A Big Win At Home Over Cincinnati

Patrick Smith. Getty Images.

Dominating performance. Don't care one bit that Joe Burrow goes down midway through the 2nd quarter. Don't care in the slightest. 

The Ravens' presence in the AFC North in the last few years has been defined by injuries down the stretch in the game that matter most, with nobody benefitting from that more than the Bengals. I won't apologize one bit for their guys having to deal with some of the type of adversity the Ravens have recently. They've seen the likes of Anthony Brown, Josh Johnson, and Tyler Huntley in some preeeeeeetty important football games from us. Godspeed on the recovery, but not sorry.

Regardless, the Ravens came out with a statement touchdown drive and moved the ball pretty effectively throughout the night. Lamar had to move his feet a bit more than I would've liked in part due to Ronnie Stanley being out, and that was a mixed bag… but ultimately he and Odell Beckham made some big time plays and Gus Edwards was a physical force as per usual to shorten the game in the 2nd half.

Defense did what they were supposed to do with Jake Browning when he came into the game. Tightened up the run game (which was wobbly at times in the early going) without fear of getting beat by the QB and they made his life hell. They made Joe Burrow's life hell too, which has been a really big step forward for this defense. We've been known for our pressure for years, but we haven't gotten QB's on the ground like we have this year. #1 in the league in sacks and didn't necessarily compile them today (we had 3) but the pressure was constantly a factor. 

And I would be remiss for not mentioning the way Kyle Hamilton has been playing this year. He's a man possessed on all levels. He's a weapon on the blitz, he's physical at the catch point, he's tight in coverage…. he is every bit of the player we drafted in the top half of the 1st round last year. Tonight's game wasn't necessarily his standout game of the year, but he is just so damn impressive every week.

Driver's seat. That's where we were when we started the night in the AFC North and that's where we finished. Both the Browns and Bengals have serious question marks at QB down the stretch here (again, not apologizing) and the Steelers continue to be frauds. Just take care of business and keep Lamar Jackson healthy and we'll be playing at home in the postseason. Play to our capabilities, and we just might be playing for a #1 seed.

Mark Andrews injury hurts in a big way, but we've got time for some other guys to get healthy and get back out there for the stretch run. Things are looking up again in Baltimore.