The Baltimore Ravens turned in Sunday’s most impressive performance, dominating Justin Herbert and the Los Angeles Chargers to the shocking tune of 34-6. The Ravens were well in control from the opening whistle, jumping out to a commanding 17-point lead just minutes into the second quarter, and never allowed the Chargers to gain any sort of momentum. It was routine from there, as the Ravens gave a rambunctious crowd at M&T Bank Stadium plenty to cheer about while confirming what many of us already thought to be the case prior to kickoff: the Ravens are one of the best teams in the NFL and should be discussed and recognized as such.
Many had marked Sunday’s contest as a true test for both 4-1 teams and the victor would be showered with praise. Baltimore’s victory was never in doubt, and it’s time we begin regarding them as one of the league’s truly elite teams in 2021. Sorting through the top five is a difficult exercise, but as things currently stand, Baltimore belongs in that conversation alongside the undefeated Arizona Cardinals, Super Bowl defending champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and the high-flying Buffalo Bills.
While embarking on a five-game winning streak that remains active heading into their crucial Week 7 divisional contest against the surprising 4-2 Cincinnati Bengals, the Ravens have displayed their capability to win games in a variety of ways. That’s part of what makes them so dangerous. Offensive coordinator Greg Roman is once again showcasing his ability to adapt to the strengths of his personnel. Despite losing their top three running backs to season-ending injuries prior to Week 1, the Ravens are averaging an astounding 421.7 yards of total offense per game, which ranks them in the top five of that category. Lamar Jackson has made marked improvements as a passer and the Ravens haven't missed a beat as a rushing offense despite the absences of J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards.
For all their offensive prowess, things are nearly equally as impressive on the defensive side of the ball. The season began on the wrong foot as the Ravens gave up 30-plus points in Week 1 and 2 to the Las Vegas Raiders and Kansas City Chiefs, but they've progressed nicely as a unit since then. Holding Herbert and the Chargers' offense to six points and a mere 208 yards of offense is no small feat and will catch the attention of every defensive coordinator in the league. It was the second time in the three weeks the Ravens’ defense held a team to seven points or less, including their 23-7 Week 4 win over the Denver Broncos, who managed just 254 total yards of offense.
The next time you discuss the Ravens, make sure you put some respect on their name. They've earned it.
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