Ravens rely on run game to bully Saints, stay atop AFC North
Lamar Jackson did his job and the Baltimore Ravens’ defense did theirs, as they came away with a 27-13 win over the New Orleans Saints on Monday night to remain at the top of the AFC North.
There wasn’t much offense in this game, but the Ravens did what they could to get ahead of the Saints early on.
On a beautiful play, Jackson looked like he was going on a designed run to the right side when tight end Isaiah Likely, filling in yet again for the injured Mark Andrews, leaked out and caught a 24-yard pass from Jackson for the first touchdown of the game and a 7-0 lead.
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Then, Jackson took his Ravens on a 12-play drive that resulted in an easy Kenyan Drake one-yard score to pull ahead and Baltimore wouldn’t look back.
Jackson had just 133 yards passing on 12 of 22 for one touchdown while rushing for 82 yards on 11 carries.
Their defense was on top of Saints quarterback Andy Dalton all night after they dealt with Alvin Kamara in the backfield. The Ravens had four sacks on Dalton, including 2.5 from veteran edge rusher Justin Houston.
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Houston even had a batted ball with 8:31 left in the fourth quarter that resulted in an interception to set up Drake’s second touchdown of the game that iced the Ravens’ victory.
Drake finished the game with 93 yards on 24 carries with his two scores, as the Ravens continuously go to the next man up in the backfield.
Ravens safety Marlon Humphrey, the team’s leading tackler on the night with seven takedowns, had one sack while Calais Campbell tallied a half-sack.
Roquan Smith, who Baltimore traded for prior to the NFL deadline with the Chicago Bears, tallied five tackles with his new squad and was key in holding Kamara to just 30 yards on the ground on nine carries. He had three catches for 32 yards as well.
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Late in the fourth quarter, the Saints had their best drive of the game and the Ravens decided to gift Juwan Johnson a 41-yard touchdown after Marcus Peters thought he pushed him out of bounds after a first-down catch. Instead, Johnson tip toed his way down the right sideline to make it 27-13.
Dalton went 19 of 29 for 210 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Chris Olave was the leading receiver with 71 yards on six receptions.
Also, for the first time in quite some time, the Ravens outscored their opponent in the fourth quarter, 10-7 in this one.
The Ravens, now 6-3, are getting their key pieces back and they will go on their bye next week to continue getting healthy for a second-half push.
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New Orleans, at 3-6, will hit the road to face the Pittsburgh Steelers next Sunday.