The Ravens stood toe-to-toe with the best team in the NFL – for a half.
Baltimore's top-ranked defense was picked apart in the second half as the Dallas Cowboys offense methodically marched down the field on three long drives.
After being tied at halftime, the Cowboys pulled away for a 27-17 win at AT&T Stadium, snapping the Ravens' two-game winning streak.
The Cowboys (9-1) didn't take their first lead of the game until the third quarter, but once they found their legs, the Ravens (5-5) struggled to stop them.
The Ravens' front seven did a solid job against Dallas' hulking offensive line and running back Ezekiel Elliott, holding him just shy of 100 rushing yards (97 yards). But this game wasn't won or lost in the trenches against the rushing attack as much as billed.
The absence of Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith (back) loomed large, as rookie Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott threw for 301 yards and three touchdowns, including two to Pro Bowl receiver Dez Bryant, whom Smith would have largely covered.
The Ravens defense didn't make the Cowboys uncomfortable enough in the second half and didn't get any turnovers. Prescott was pressured in the first half, but had all day to throw in the second. Baltimore's offense hurt itself with first-half penalties and simply didn't get the ball much in the second half as Dallas dominated time of possession.
Baltimore is still in first place in the AFC North with six games remaining, including three against their AFC North rivals that will largely determine whether they reach the playoffs.
- The Ravens strung together a six-play, 90-yard drive on their second possession of the game to take a 7-0 lead. It mostly came on the backs of the running game, as Kenneth Dixon burst through the offensive line for a 20-yard gain, followed by 16- and 18-yard runs by Terrance West, the second going into the end zone.
- Dallas faced a first-and-30 situation in the second quarter, but gave up a first down when wide receiver Brice Butler made a good catch over cornerback Shareece Wright. The Cowboys finished off the drive with a 3-yard touchdown catch by receiver Cole Beasley on third down, tying the score at seven.
- The Cowboys strung together an 11-play, 92-yard drive on their first possession of the second half. Dallas found its run-pass balance for the first time as Elliott posted 39 total yards on the drive and Bryant proved to be too much for Baltimore to handle without cornerback Jimmy Smith. He hauled in a 4-yard jump ball for a touchdown.
- Baltimore's defense gave up too much underneath, then got exposed when it started blitzing. Bryant caught his second touchdown pass on a 13-yard slant in front of rookie cornerback Tavon Young to cap a 13-play, 80-yard drive. With 11 minutes, 30 seconds left in the fourth quarter, the Cowboys took a 14-point lead.
- The Ravens and wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. weren't about to go down without a fight. They marched back down the field on Smith's back. The veteran notched three catches for 44 yards on the drive, including a 5-yard touchdown in which he took a big hit and still hung on. It wasn't enough, however, as the Cowboys ate up most of the clock on the final drive and extended the lead by 10 points to close out the game.
Standout Player of the Game
WR Steve Smith Sr.
Smith became just the 14th player in NFL history to reach 1,000 career catches, and he wasn't done there. Smith snagged four more passes after hitting the milestone. He finished with eight catches for 99 yards and a touchdown.
On The Horizon
The Ravens will return to M&T Bank Stadium for a huge game against the AFC North rival Cincinnati Bengals, who have beaten Baltimore five straight times. The Ravens' path to the playoffs is by winning the division.
Check out all the best photos from AT&T Stadium as the Ravens battle the Cowboys.