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Ravens vs. Cardinals: 4 game ball candidates

Top performers from the Ravens’ third straight victory in Week 8

Baltimore Ravens v Arizona Cardinals Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Baltimore Ravens escaped from Arizona with a 31-24 win over the Cardinals to improve to 6-2 on the season. It wasn’t a flawless performance by any means, especially in comparison to Week 7, but the Ravens did what they needed to do to ultimately secure their third straight victory.

The Ravens overcame an early touchdown deficit and took control of the game late in the second half, never vanquishing their lead from there on out. Who were some of the top performers from the team’s winning effort in Week 8?

Let’s break down some of most notable individual showings — vote for your game ball choice below!

Gus Edwards

In last week’s win over the Detroit Lions, Edwards rushed for a season-high 64 yards on the ground while scoring his second touchdown of the year. He followed that up with an encore showing in Arizona. The “Gus Bus” played a starring role in the team’s 31-point performance.

Edwards toted the rock 19 times, his most attempts in a single game since 2019, and churned out 80 yards and three touchdowns. His three scores accounted for all but one of the Ravens’ touchdowns on the day.

The Ravens puzzlingly did not run the ball at a high rate in the first half but began to feed Edwards as the game progressed, with positive results. All but a small handful of Edwards’ second half carries went for less than five yards. In fact, Edwards had a stretch from the end of the third quarter into the fourth quarter with six straight carries of six or more yards.

Behind the Ravens’ offensive line, Edwards began to wear down the Cardinals’ defensive front. He bounced off tacklers to pick up extra yards with regularity, including two impressive second-efforts at the goal line that resulted in touchdowns.

Michael Pierce

Pierce was a force to be reckon with against the Cardinals’ offensive line in this matchup. The veteran nose tackle filled the stat sheet with a season-high in solo tackles (four) and made his impact felt in both run defense and as a pass-rusher.

Pierce had a sack, quarterback hit, tackle-for-loss, and pass breakup. His most notable moments were two individual stops on fourth-and-short in the first half that forced turnovers on downs.

The first instance, on the Cardinals’ first play of the second quarter, Pierce got a hand up to deflect Josh Dobbs’ pass attempt to Marquise Brown. Then, on the following drive, Pierce stuffed Emari Demercado at the line of scrimmage for no gain. The Cardinals needed only one yard to convert on both attempts but Pierce denied them of it. The Ravens ultimately weren’t able to capitalize with points following either plays but they still prevented the Cardinals from breaking a 7-7 tie in the second quarter.

On Arizona’s first drive of the third quarter, Pierce sacked Dobbs for a 15-yard loss on third down and forced the ball loose. Jadeveon Clowney wasn’t able to scoop up the fumble but the Cardinals had to punt. It was a stalwart all-around showing by the seven-year veteran.

Brandon Stephens

Stephens continues to play solid football in his third career season. The Ravens’ starting cornerback recorded his second-ever interception against the Cardinals and it proved to be one of the game’s most timely plays.

Late in the second quarter, Stephens found himself in the right place at the right time deep in coverage. He picked off an overthrown pass attempt from Dobbs to wide receiver Michael Wilson in Arizona’s own territory.

From there, it took the Ravens just six plays to drive 43 yards and score a go-ahead touchdown before halftime, which gave them a 14-7 lead. Stephens had seven combined tackles on the day, which finished fourth-most on the team, and six of them were solo. He also recorded a pass breakup to accompany his forced turnover.

Stephens’ improvement in playmaking and consistency has been a revelation for the Ravens’ secondary and this game was another good example. No Cardinals’ wideout did much damage and some of their production came late in the game in garbage time.

Geno Stone

For the third straight game and fifth time this season, Stone got his hands on a football from the opposing team’s quarterback. Stone’s interception off Dobbs late in the third quarter led to the Ravens’ third touchdown of the game and expanded their lead to three possessions.

Stone again put himself in a good position in coverage to jump a route, even arguably stealing what could have been Stephens’ second interception of the game. Instead, Stone added to his league-leading mark in that category.

The former seventh-round draft pick was again an impactful force in the backend and helped the Ravens limit big plays in the passing game. Arizona did have two receptions of over 20+ yards but otherwise didn’t do a ton of vertical damage.

Honorable mention —

Justin Madubuike: Madbuike’s breakthrough season continued in this game as he added another sack, tackle for loss, and three quarterback hits.

Mark Andrews: Andrews’ four receptions and 40 receiving yards each tied for most on the team. His three non-touchdown catches each went for double digits and resulted in timely first-down pickups.

Lamar Jackson: Jackson had a solid performance, completing 67% of his passes with an impressive touchdown pass to Andrews. His yardage totals left some to be desired, however, and much of his production came in the first half.


Which player gets your vote for game ball recipient from Week 8?

This poll is closed

  • 33%
    Gus Edwards
    (87 votes)
  • 62%
    Michael Pierce
    (163 votes)
  • 0%
    Brandon Stephens
    (2 votes)
  • 3%
    Geno Stone
    (8 votes)
  • 0%
    (0 votes)
260 votes total Vote Now