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Ravens vs. Panthers final: Staff reactions to Ravens 13-3 victory

The gang reacts to the Week 11 contest

Carolina Panthers v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images

An ugly win is a win as the Baltimore Ravens defeat the Carolina Panthers 13-3.

In a lackluster game in a lackluster early window of football, the Ravens exit with a win and a narrative-changing defensive performance.

Early in the year, the Ravens were heavily criticized for their fourth quarter defense. Today, albeit against the Carolina Panthers, the defense shut the doors on Baker Mayfield and company with three turnovers in the fourth quarter and back-to-back sacks which caused a turnover on downs. I can’t help but wonder if we’ve not only seen the defense turn the page, but change novels entirely.

On offense, I am puzzled at the lack of power and speed we’re accustomed to seeing. The offensive line was pushed around more firmly than in games prior. The playcalling was suspect at times and the execution was middling. It’s striking to see a complete lack of wide receiver Devin Duvernay after Rashod Bateman went down and coaches have mentioned his usage needing to be higher each week. But, give credit to Demarcus Robinson for forcing his name to be called rather than wait to be called on as he generated his second career 100-yard receiving game.

The third phase of the game is typically where the Ravens have the edge over their opponents. In grind-it-out games like this, the Ravens look to their special teams unit to make a play. Today, they didn’t and it nearly cost them. Multiple flags on punts weren’t costly, but they weren’t where the Ravens usually gain their edge.

In all, the Ravens end Week 11 as the No. 1 team in the AFC North and keep the Bengals at bay as they continue to stack wins. — Kyle Barber

Today’s display against the Panthers was certainly not what you would want to see from a 6-3 team coming off a bye week, but a win is a win in the National Football League and the Ravens are now 7-3 with a rather forgiving schedule down the stretch. This win felt like a typical pre-Lamar Jackson Baltimore victory with a suffocating defense and an offense that did just enough to get by in the end. With a superstar like Jackson at quarterback, however, points should not be this hard to come by. A worry of mine and many others is that the Ravens will once again hit a wall in the playoffs if they are unable to run the ball effectively. Wide receiver Demarcus Robinson stepped up when needed today, but the passing game remains lackluster with a former MVP under center. Whether the blame should fall on the receivers, offensive coordinator Greg Roman, or Jackson himself is debatable and the answer probably involves all three to varying degrees, but in order to make meaningful noise in January, the passing game must improve down the stretch of the season.

Baltimore’s defense on the other hand has only continued to get better and is primed to carry the team through the remainder of the schedule and into the postseason. With safety Marcus Williams’ return on the horizon and the awaited debut of rookie outside linebacker David Ojabo just around the corner, Mike Macdonald’s unit should continue to stifle opposing offenses. Inside linebacker Roquan Smith has been a welcome addition to the middle of the defense alongside Patrick Queen, giving the Ravens a tantalizing duo at the inside linebacker position. — Dustin Cox