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At First Glance: Ravens vs. Raiders


John Eisenberg:  With the toughest stretch of their schedule looming, the Ravens couldn't afford to slip up at home against the fast-fading Raiders. They made sure they didn't with strong showings on both sides of the ball. Joe Flacco was at his best, dropping throws of all kinds into an array of hands. Baltimore's receivers struggle at times to gain separation from defenders, but not in this game; they were wide, wide open all day. Defensive Coordinator Dean Pees rightfully employed an aggressive scheme against an offense missing its top backs. The Raiders had some success against it through the air, but Carson Palmer was under too much steady pressure to keep the score close. The Ravens hadn't enjoyed an easy win since their season opener, so this was welcomed and also needed heading into Pittsburgh week.

Ryan Mink:  This was a statement game for the Ravens. After five straight narrow victories, Baltimore put an absolute thumping on the Raiders. This doesn't prove that the Ravens are the best team in the AFC, or erase all of their issues. But it will give the Ravens a shot of confidence heading into a critical three-game stretch against the Steelers, Chargers and Steelers. The passing offense got on track, especially behind the tight ends. The defense saw a revival in the pass rush, especially from Paul Kruger. Special teams scored two touchdowns and we get to compare touchdown celebrations between Sam Koch and Jacoby Jones. When you're doing that at the end of a game, you know it's been a good day.

Garrett Downing:Talk about a convincing victory. The Ravens couldn't have looked much better than they did Sunday against the Raiders, as they delivered their most convincing victory since the season opener against Cincinnati. The offense was a machine, as quarterback Joe Flacco moved the ball up and down the field the entire game. Flacco spread the ball to his receivers and tight ends, and just about everything went right for the offense. The defense had another strong showing and special teams was also impressive, as Jacoby Jones returned a kickoff for a 105-yard touchdown and punter Sam Koch ran in a touchdown on a fake field goal. When your punter is scoring touchdowns, you know things are working in your favor. After narrow victories in recent weeks, the Ravens dominated on Sunday and now they hope to ride the momentum into Pittsburgh for a key matchup next Sunday against the Steelers.

Sarah Ellison:  Finally a stress-free and FUN Ravens win. That was the game Ravens fans have been waiting for (and then some) – it was absolute domination of an inferior team (on paper) for 60 minutes. Expecting that to happen consistently in the NFL isn't realistic, but Baltimore played a complete game for the first time since Week 1 and the results are why fans don't like settling for less.  The passing offense was humming. With a franchise record 55 points (two special teams TDs), Joe Flacco, Ray Rice, Torrey Smith, Dennis Pitta, Ed Dickson, Jacoby Jones , Anquan Boldin and even Tandon Doss were all involved and impactful. And Baltimore showed little mercy, keeping the foot on the gas pedal. The fake field goal for a touchdown could be criticized as running up the score, but this is the NFL, not pee wee football.  On defense, Terrell Suggs and Paul Kruger shined. For the first time this season, the unit looked a little more like the defense of old, but curb the enthusiasm for now because Oakland was forced to be one-dimensional. This is the perfect time for a blowout win, as it legitimized the now 7-2 record and gives the Ravens momentum as they head into a tough three-game stretch, kicked off by a nationally-televised primetime battle in Pittsburgh next week.

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