For the first time in weeks, the Ravens were able to exhale.
In a 40-14 win over the Jaguars on Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium, the Ravens won their first game in weeks where there wasn’t massive drama on or off the field, or both.
The Ravens moved closer to the playoffs, despite little to no help in the AFC playoff picture, as they’ll have their home finale next week before their season finale in Cincinnati.
Here are a few takeaways from the Ravens’ win over the Jaguars.
It was clear to everyone that watched that, by the middle of the first quarter, the Jaguars weren’t going to leave Baltimore with a win.
The Ravens’ defense was stout, even without defensive lineman Calais Campbell and cornerbacks Marcus Peters and Jimmy Smith. The offense was humming all afternoon as the Ravens earned their first easy victory since perhaps November.
Four of the last five Ravens games, and five of the last seven, have been decided by one score. And even against the Cowboys on Dec. 8 two weeks ago, the Ravens were nearing the end of their massive COVID-19 outbreak and still had players out, when Dez Bryant tweeted that he’d tested positive for coronavirus.
Sunday, they were back to playing on their normal schedule for the first time since Nov. 22 against the Titans. Coincidentally, that was the last time they played at 1 p.m. on Sunday.
In one of the coolest moments of NFL Sunday, not even for the Ravens, Bryant found the end zone for the first time since Dec. 10, 2017.
Both Bryant and quarterback Lamar Jackson threw up the X after the score, as the entire Ravens roster mobbed Bryant on the bench.
He finished with just one catch on the day, but it was certainly one to remember.
Dobbins takes over
The Ravens made a bit of a surprise move on Sunday and made running back Mark Ingram inactive as a healthy scratch. On paper, the move made sense with the Ravens in need of cornerbacks, Ingram’s lack of special teams play and the emergence of J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards.
But over the last few weeks, Dobbins has taken over.
He tallied 14 carries for 64 yards on the day, and midway through the fourth quarter had nearly doubled Edwards’ total of carries.
As the Ravens march toward the playoffs, Dobbins appears to be the feature back.
Boiled down to it, Sunday’s game was nothing more than an insurance win for the Ravens in the grand scheme of the playoff picture.
With important games still going on, they did themselves a favor and boosted their playoff percentage to 95 percent with other games not taken into account — though the scoreboard wasn’t friendly.
The Ravens can’t win out and clinch a playoff spot, but they can move their chances to 99 percent if they finish the year at 11-5. In the final two games, that’s all that matters.