Here’s what the Baltimore Sun sports staff had to say immediately after the Ravens’ 37-26 win over the New England Patriots in Sunday’s Week 3 game at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts:
Childs Walker, reporter: The Ravens pulled out a tense road win thanks to a strong all-around performance from their offense, a pair of timely interceptions from Josh Bynes and Marlon Humphrey and a huge forced fumble by rookie Kyle Hamilton. They got their running game on track with J.K. Dobbins in the lineup, Justice Hill making the most of his opportunities and Lamar Jackson dazzling as usual. Mark Andrews delivered his typical big day, and Devin Duvernay showed what a valuable player he has become with a 43-yard punt return and a tough touchdown catch in the corner.
All of that said, this was another alarming day for the Ravens defense against an offense that hardly set the world on fire in Weeks 1 and 2. They avoided the catastrophic communication lapses we saw against the Miami Dolphins, but their cornerbacks could not cover DeVante Parker, and they struggled to bring down running back Rhamondre Stevenson once he cleared the line of scrimmage. Their run defense, so stout last season, has become a problem right along with their coverage.
They’re also in danger of losing the war even when they win battles. Can they go even one week without suffering a significant injury? Rookie Daniel Faalele had to step in for Patrick Mekari at left tackle, a position he looked unprepared to play until he settled down in the second half. Nose tackle Michael Pierce and edge rusher Justin Houston, both effective through the first two weeks, left before halftime. We saw how this played out last season; they can’t keep taking these blows.
Mike Preston, columnist: The Ravens were able to hang on for the victory, but this was a battle between teams that aren’t very good. They both have a lot of holes, but the Ravens have quarterback Lamar Jackson, who makes up for a lot of the team’s shortcomings. It’s good that it’s early in the season and both teams have time to improve, but will they? The Ravens’ weaknesses on the offensive line and at the linebacker positions are glaring.
Ryan McFadden, reporter: The Ravens’ defense redeemed itself after getting torched by the Dolphins last week. Baltimore forced four turnovers, including three in the fourth quarter. At one point, the Ravens appeared to be letting the lead slip away, but Lamar Jackson made sure his team didn’t repeat the past.
C.J. Doon, editor: The Ravens learned their lesson. With the Patriots threatening to erase another big fourth-quarter lead, cornerback Marlon Humphrey’s interception in the end zone and rookie safety Kyle Hamilton’s forced fumble on a big catch-and-run by Nelson Agholor kept the lead intact, and Lamar Jackson added the exclamation point with a 73-yard drive capped by a 9-yard touchdown run with three minutes left. With four touchdown passes and another 100 rushing yards, Jackson continued to build his MVP case while giving the Ravens’ defense some breathing room as it figures itself out.
Tim Schwartz, editor: Take a second and imagine what this team would be without Lamar Jackson under center. It seems like every week he is breaking team or NFL records and yet the Ravens still struggle to put teams away. Four timely second-half turnovers, thanks to several poor decisions by Patriots quarterback Mac Jones and a key forced fumble by rookie Kyle Hamilton, helped prevent a second straight devastating loss. But this is the Lamar Jackson show, and we’re all just witnesses. He is dominating defenses — he ran for 107 yards, surpassing 100 for the second straight week, and jumped right to the front of the MVP conversation while accounting for five touchdowns — and has put the Ravens on his back for a 2-1 start. With the mighty Buffalo Bills coming to town next week, this was a must-win.