A crazy game in Baltimore led to a Ravens win in the end, but that could all be overshadowed by the loss of their top corner, and arguably top defensive player in Lardarius Webb. In the first half, Webb was tangled up with Dez Bryant and ended up falling to the ground on what looked like little to no contact. That is never a good sign. He was originally diagnosed with a knee sprain, but since reports have read that Ravens officials fear he has torn his ACL. This would be absolutely devastating news for Baltimore whose secondary has been exploited all year. Cary Williams has been a shell of his former self and Jimmy Smith has yet to crack the starting lineup despite that. In fact, when the Cowboys were driving late in the game, Chykie Brown, a frequent healthy scratch was covering Dez Bryant on several plays. Brown held his own more than I would expect, but was a clear downgrade to that of Webb. If Webb is in fact loss for the season, Baltimore will be scrambling to replace him.
Back to the game at hand. Baltimore played a back and forth game until the end. They could not stop anyone on the ground. Even with Demarco Murray leaving the game and Felix Jones getting dinged up, they couldn’t even stop their third string RB. Baltimore gave more rushing yards at 227 yards than they have ever given up in a single game. This is the second straight week they were torched on the ground and is ever growing concern. With the secondary taking a hit as well, the whole defense is going to be analyzed heavily in the near future. Suggs return could not be needed any more at this point. Overall Baltimore was outplayed in almost every way. They were out gained 481 yards to 316. Dallas had possession of the ball for 40 minutes of the game. They had 27 first downs to Baltimore’s 18. This was not a pretty game for the Ravens.
They did have a few things go their way, however. Jacoby Jones tied an NFL record with a 108 yard kickoff return for a TD. When is the last time Baltimore scored on kickoff? David Reed I believe, but the point is the Raven’s have been lacking a serious return threat for some time now. That ended up being huge. They also picked off Romo once in what looked like a scoring drive for Dallas. That was the one turnover of the game, meaning Baltimore didn’t turn the ball over once.
The offense really didn’t play a bad game either. Ray Rice had over 100 yards from scrimmage and a TD. His 43 yard reception extended a drive and lead to a score. Flacco was efficient, completing 17 of 26 for 234 yards and a score. Boldin had a big second half with 98 yards and Torrey Smith had a great TD grab. The Cowboys secondary has a lot of talent, but they were hampered with injuries as well when Claiborne left in the second half with a leg injury.
This game got very crazy at the end. Dallas scored a TD with 30 seconds left to bring it within 2. The game looked over when the Cowboys could not convert a two point conversion. However, an onside kick than went through Ayanbedjo’s legs ended up being the Cowboys ball. A pass interference on Brown brought them into FG range, and gave Dan Bailey an attempt from 51 yards out to tie his career high. He left it wide left though, and Baltimore barely squeaked out a victory.
So, the Ravens stand at 5-1 now, and with Cincy’s loss they have a commanding lead in the AFC North. Still, they haven’t won great games in their last two, which leaves me a bit concerned. Now that Webb is likely gone for the year, the defense has more holes than ever before. With Houston on tap, they need to figure some things out.