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When are the Ravens going to show some consistency?

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Miami Dolphins v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Who would have thought that after the team lost four of five coming onto a primetime stage, and looked dreadful in doing so, the Ravens would come out and slam the Dolphins 40-0?

I surely didn’t.

The Ravens win over the Dolphins was dominant in every facet of the game. Well, that is if you don’t count playing dirty to be a facet of the game. The Ravens defense lived up to its potential, recording its second shutout of the year, and found the end zone twice on, first on a C.J. Mosley pick six and later on a Jimmy Smith pick six. With Brandon Williams now back to 100%, the run defense returned to the elite level of play that is normally associated with the Ravens. Jay Ajayi’s first carry went for 21 yards, he totaled only two more yards on his next 12 carries. All in all, the Dolphins had 45 total rushing yards.

The offense finally found its groove as well. Alex Collins rushed for 113 yards on 18 carries, while picking up 30 receiving yards on two catches. This against a rushing defense that came into the game ranked among the best units in the NFL. Joe Flacco, before he took the hit from Kiko Alonso, was having arguably his best game of the year. Flacco was 10/15 for 101 yards and a touchdown on a perfect pass to Jeremy Maclin. Ryan Mallett didn’t do anything when he came in, but he didn’t have to, due to how much success the Ravens were having the running the ball and the lopsided score.

The Ravens have found a formula for success, elite defense and running the football, but can the Ravens sustain this?

History from this season would say no. The Ravens shut out the Bengals in Week 1, and played very well against the Browns in Week 2. In those two games combined, the Ravens had 10 takeaways.

Despite the hot start, the Ravens were promptly steamrolled by the Jaguars in London, and gashed by Le’Veon Bell and the Steelers in Baltimore the next week.

The Ravens then headed off to Oakland, to face an E.J. Manuel led Raiders team. Baltimore played very well in that game. The Ravens threw the ball downfield, leading to a 133 receiving yard day for Mike Wallace, Jimmy Smith returned a fumble for a touchdown and the Ravens cruised to a 30-17 win.

The Ravens, again with momentum, came back home to face the Bears. It was a game that the Ravens were favored to win, but a game in which the Ravens couldn’t muster an offensive touchdown. Two special teams touchdowns pushed the game into overtime, where the Ravens were unable to move the ball and eventually lost. In the next game, the Ravens anemic offense showed up yet again, while the Ravens defense couldn’t stop Latavius Murray and the Vikings. A garbage time touchdown to Chris Moore made the score appear much closer than the game actually was, but it made sure the Ravens wouldn’t go two straight games without an offensive touchdown.

On a short week, the Ravens came back from Minnesota to face the Dolphins in primetime. Suddenly, the good Ravens showed up again, and Baltimore won 40-0.

The Ravens have been the most inconsistent team in football this season. One week they look like Super Bowl favorites, and the next, a team primed for a top five draft pick.

Who are the real Ravens? Are they the team with two shutouts on the year, or are they the team that was thoroughly dominated at home against the Bears?

At the moment, we don’t have an answer. There is a clear formula for success, dominant defense and running the football. The Ravens have found their star in Alex Collins, and the defense has returned to its elite level with Brandon Williams back at full strength.

The Ravens have said all year that they need to go back to film to fix things, and they have finally found the solution that has been searched for. However, the question emerges: Can the Ravens keep this up?

Again, it’s a question with no answer at this time. The Ravens obviously want to keep up what they did against the Dolphins, but who knows if they truly can?