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Instant observations: five things about the Ravens 27-17 loss

Instant observations: five things about the Ravens 27-17 loss

ARLINGTON, Texas – Five observations after watching Cowboys (9-1) roll to their ninth straight win, 27-17, over the Ravens:

1. The Ravens (5-5) stepped up in competition and it showed.

This could be a preview of what faces the Ravens down the stretch. They didn’t play poorly, but it wasn’t good enough. They still have three tough road games on their schedule – at New England, at Pittsburgh, at Cincinnati. The AFC North is clearly up for grabs, but the Ravens saw what the team with the NFL’s best record looked like, and looked overmatched in the second half.

2.  Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott is unflappable whether Tony Romo is in uniform or not.

Prescott keeps showing why this is his moment, his team. He was off target on several throws early, but once he settled down, he was superb. The Cowboys scored on every second half possession, and Prescott (27 for 36, 301 yards, three touchdowns, no interceptions) was the catalyst. He can throw on the run, he reads defenses calmly, and he scrambles when necessary. Most of all, he wins, and he is surrounded by tremendous talent. Romo was dressed for the first time all year after a back injury, but on this team, he is simply the backup quarterback. Prescott is the man, and the in the second half, the Cowboys’ offense took over the game and wore down the Ravens’ defense. 

3. Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant owned the red zone, without Jimmy Smith (back) in action.

The Ravens sorely missed Smith, their best and most physical cornerback. Bryant caught two touchdown passes, and on both of them, he simply outmuscled or outmaneuvered Ravens corners. On his first touchdown, Bryant basically boxed out Shareece Wright like he was an undersized point guard. On his second touchdown, Bryant muscled past Tavon Young to reach the end zone after Young tried to tackle him. The Ravens need a healthy Smith to matchup with top receivers. They must hope Smith’s back problems do not linger.

4. Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. is a player for the ages, regardless of his age.

Smith (eight catches, 99 yards, one touchdown) did everything in his power to bring the Ravens back. Not only did he surpass 1,000 catches for his career, Smith played with the passion he always brings. On the Ravens’ final scoring drive, he was hit hard twice after making the catch, but popped up each time unfazed. Smith cannot be intimidated. He should have a bust in Canton in his future, because his career is Hall of Fame worthy.

5.  There were some encouraging signs for the Ravens’ offense. 

Their 90-yard drive in the second quarter was probably their best of the season, and their 75-yard drive in the third quarter was nice as well. Joe Flacco (23 for 25, 269 yards, one TD, no interceptions) had a solid game at QB, but the Ravens’ offense didn’t have the ball enough in the second half. But the Ravens look like a better offensive team in November than they did in September and October.

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Ravens' Sam Koch teaches celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay how to punt

Ravens' Sam Koch teaches celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay how to punt

Sam Koch teaching celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay how to punt at M&T Bank Stadium isn't exactly the football highlight you'd expect to find in late February. 

But hey, here we are. 

Ramsay is pretty good at punting based on this clip, though we don't know exactly how many attempts and cuss-word filled rants went on before it. 

His connection to the Ravens? Glad you asked. Ramsay opened a restaurant in Horseshoe Casino Baltimore in 2017. He met a few players and toured the stadium back then, so he's returned to get more action on the field. 

Maybe now Ramsay can teach some Ravens players to make his perfect burger. 

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Lamar Jackson's college teammate recounts the time he tackled the elusive QB

Lamar Jackson's college teammate recounts the time he tackled the elusive QB

Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson is hard enough to bring down during live action, but that task is impossible during practices when he's donning an alternate, no-contact jersey in practice. 

But during a live scrimmage when he was at Louisville, linebacker Jonathan Greenland claims he did what many NFL defenders struggled to do in 2019: Tackle the ever-elusive Jackson. 

"I actually tackled him one time. I think that was our freshman year when he was live for like one time," Greenland said at a podium appearance during the NFL combine. "He probably ain't gonna tell you that. But I always got the video and all that."

Greenland and Jackson were both members of Lousiville's 2015 recruiting class.

Greenland may have tackled him once, but on another play, Jackson showed he was on a different level than most others on the field. 

"He took it for like 60-70 yards," Greenland said. "I'm running down the field, but I'm not catching him, No. 1. But, two, it's just like 'this kid gonna be special.'"

The two former Cardinals played together from 2015 to the 2017 season, which was Jackson's Heisman Trophy year before the quarterback entered the draft. 

Meanwhile, Greenland returned to Louisville in 2018 but suffered a season-ending wrist injury on the first series of the season. He transferred to Florida for his final season of college. During his only season as a Gator, Greenland racked up 52 tackles, 14.5 tackles for loss, 9.5 sacks and three forced fumbles. 

That production alone is enough for teams to covet the pass rusher in the draft. But if you're an NFL team that Jackson terrorized in 2019, a proven ability to tackle the Ravens star quarterback is an added reason to select Greenland.

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