The Ravens' top-ranked defense faced its stiffest test of the season on Sunday at Dallas, and after controlling the game early, the Ravens were simply worn down by a deep Cowboys offense.
The Cowboys scored the final five times they had the ball, mounting three straight drives of more than 70 yards.
In short, the Ravens' top-ranked defense simply couldn't get off the field.
It's time to hand out report cards to the defense and special teams after the Ravens' 27-17 loss.
DEFENSIVE LINE: C+
The Ravens were impressive early, holding Ezekiel Elliott to 26 yards in the first half -- he had no official carries in the second quarter. They also got some heat on Dak Prescott early and took him out of his comfort zone.
But it didn't last.
The Ravens wore down under the Cowboys time-consuming drives in the second half.
Elliott finished with 97 rushing yards, and the Cowboys averaged 3.9 yards a carry. When the Ravens rushed only three or four, Prescott had all day to throw.
Brandon Williams, with eight tackles, and Michael Pierce, with five, matched their career highs.
Zach Orr led the Ravens with 11 tackles, but after some early pressure, all semblance of a pass rush disappeared in the second half.
Tight ends Jason Witten and Gavin Escobar totaled seven catches for 58 yards and were a matchup problem all day.
Za'Darius Smith failed to set the edge on two of Elliott's longer runs.
Albert McClellan recorded the Ravens' only sack, which came on the Cowboys' first possession.
The Ravens faced a tough task without Jimmy Smith (back), and indeed, Dez Bryant proved to be a huge matchup problem. He beat Shareece Wright for one touchdown and dragged Tavon Young into the end zone on another score. Young was also flagged for a 33-yard pass interference penalty.
Jerraud Powers had a lot of trouble in the slot with Cole Beasley (5-59), including a couple of whiffed tackles.
The safeties helped out in run support, and Lardarius Webb finished with a season-high eight tackles, but the Ravens just couldn't get off the field on third down.
SPECIAL TEAMS: B
On a day when kickers around the league were shanking at a record pace, Justin Tucker remained perfect, hitting two extra-point tries and a 46-yard field goal. He has now made 30 straight field goals, the longest streak in the league after Adam Vinatieri's record run of 44 ended Sunday.
Sam Koch averaged 47.4 yards on five punts with one touchback, which came when Kamar Aiken's shoe grazed the goal line, a costly inch.
Penalties continue to be an issue; an illegal block penalty on Kamalei Correa wiped out much of a 35-yard kick return by Devin Hester, and Matt Judon was offside on a kickoff that the Cowboys returned only to the 10. The ensuing kick was a touchback, meaning the offside cost 15 yards of field position. After the game, coach John Harbaugh sounded especially irked about that penalty.