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What you need to know from the Ravens' 36-21 loss to the Panthers

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What you need to know from the Ravens' 36-21 loss to the Panthers

The Baltimore Ravens entered Week 8 as the No. 1 scoring and No. 1 overall yards-per-game defense in the league. But If you happened to watch Week 8 matchup against the Carolina Panthers, you would have never believed that.

The Ravens' opening drive was the highlight of the 60 minutes. After that, there wasn't much too write home about as the defense couldn't stop Cam Newton and a banged up offensive line never got its footing.

Here's what you need to know from the 36-21 loss. 

— Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg's creativity was put on display in the Ravens' opening drive. While it wasn't perfect, it was different. Ultimately the 11-play, 75-yard drive displayed both Joe Flacco and Lamar Jackson running for 13 and 17 yards respectively before Alex Collins dodged several Panthers defenders on his way to a 14-yard touchdown.

Oh, and Justin Tucker nailed the extra point. 

— With that creativity came a lot of poorly executed gadget plays. On a third-and-1 with Jackson under center, the QB ran to his right then attempted a pass to a wide-open Willie Snead. What could have been a huge third-down conversion fell short solely because of a bad throw. That play was followed up by a successful fake punt that was overturned due to an illegal formation penalty. The good field position given to the Panthers after the call resulted in a Christian McCaffrey touchdown to tie the game at seven.

— Running back Alex Collins had his third fumble in eight games. That fumble resulted in a touchdown as well. While the Ravens have typically benched Collins after fumbling, their leading rusher was right back on the field their next drive. He was a vital piece of their late third-quarter touchdown and finished the day with 11 rushing attempts for 49 yards and one touchdown.

— Former Maryland Terrapin wide receiver D.J. Moore gave the Ravens defense trouble all day long. The first-round draft pick finished the day 5-of-6 for 90 yards in addition to 39 rushing yards. 

— The troubles for the Ravens defense didn't stop there. With the Panthers threatening in the red zone, safety Eric Weddle deflected Cam Newton's pass intended for Devin Funchess, but McCaffrey was right there ready to make the diving catch in the end zone to put the Panthers up 21-7. The Ravens' No.1 overall defense gave up 21-points in the first half alone after entering Week 8 allowing just 14.4 points-per-game. 

— The Ravens ended the first half in embarrassing fashion. With five seconds on the clock, backup quarterback Taylor Heinicke found Greg Olsen all alone on the left side of the field for a 13-yard gain before running out of bounds. That set up a 54-yard field goal from Graham Gano with two seconds left in the half and the Panthers went into the locker room at halftime up 24-7.

— The defense was unable to lock up Cam Newton for the entire 60 minutes after Eric Weddle described him as a "fast dinosaur" earlier in the week. Newton finished the day 21-of-29 for 219 yards and two touchdowns. He added 52 rushing yards and one rushing touchdown as well.

— A bright spot late in the game was Jackson's 22-yard touchdown pass to tight end Hayden Hurst. The Ravens' two first-round draft picks provided a glimpse into the future as that was Jackson's first touchdown pass and Hurst's first touchdown catch.

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4 must-see moments from the Ravens' Week 15 win over the Bucs, including Marlon Humphrey's big day

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4 must-see moments from the Ravens' Week 15 win over the Bucs, including Marlon Humphrey's big day

It was a wet and dreary day in Baltimore as the Ravens earned a 20-12 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Winning four of their last five games, Lamar Jackson and the Ravens extended their run to the postseason in a total team effort.

Here are four must-see moments from the Week 15 win.

1. Humphrey's big day

Cornerback Marlon Humphrey further cemented he's worthy of a Pro Bowl nomination during Sunday's game. The 2017 first-round draft pick laid a huge hit on Bucs running back Ronald Jones in the first quarter for a loss.

Then Humphrey picked off quarterback Jameis Winston early in the fourth quarter to earn his first interception of the season and a career-high four passes defensed on the day. 

2. Chris Moore puts Ravens on the board

After a slow start, the Ravens finally got on the board late in the second quarter thanks to a five-yard touchdown by wide receiver Chris Moore.

Jackson ran to the left to throw off the Bucs defense before shovel passing that ball to Moore who ran it into the endzone from the right. Simple yet effective.

3. Gus 'the bus' drives to the endzone

Running back Gus Edwards has taken the Ravens' running game to new levels. Ranked 27th in the league heading into Week 11, the teams run game is now ranked second in the NFL after Sunday's performance. 

This 10-yard touchdown run gave the Ravens some breathing room early in the third quarter as they took a 17-9 lead. An introvert in the locker room but an extrovert on the field, Edwards has 100 consecutive rushes without a loss of a yard marking the longest active streak in the NFL.

Edwards finished the day with a game-high 104 yards on 19 carries and his third 100-yard game this season.

4. Jackson in action...again

Five games as the starter and we know for certain that Jackson can, and will, run the ball down the field.

Facing 3rd-and-seven, the QB magically avoided a sack and ran for 11 yards to pick up the first down.

Even though Jackson's effort was offset by a 15-yard unecessary roughness penalty against running back Kenneth Dixon, the play was still impressive.

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As Ravens get closer to playoffs, confidence among one another is apparent

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As Ravens get closer to playoffs, confidence among one another is apparent

Most NFL teams would fear putting their season in the hands of two rookies, but quarterback Lamar Jackson and undrafted free agent Gus Edwards have taken the Baltimore Ravens' confidence to a new level.

You can feel the effects on both sides of the ball as the offense and defense have been working cohesively since their Week 10 bye. Jackson and the offense have dominated time of possession over those four weeks, which in hand allows the defense to have fresh legs each time they take the field as they remain the No.1 total defense in the league.

With two games to go and the postseason in sight, the respect among teammates is apparent.

"We appreciate it so much, the way our offense is playing," linebacker C.J. Mosley said following the team's 20-12 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. "It's keeping their offense off the field. It allows us to take care of our business, get us rest when we need it, and that is huge."

Heading into the fourth quarter of Sunday's win, Jackson had already hit 100 yards rushing on 13 carries and kept his offense on the field for 37:10 compared to the Buccaneers' 22:50. Plus with the help of Edwards' 104 rushing yards on 19 attempts, the Ravens have rushed for at least 190 yards in five-consecutive games. The last team to do this was the 1976 Pittsburgh Steelers.

Then there is the defense. In eight of their 14 games in 2018, the Ravens have held their opponent to under 300 yards, and on Sunday held the Bucs to a season low 241 total yards and 156 net passing yards. Cornerback Marlon Humphrey had his first interception of the year and a career-high four passes defensed while dealing with a groin injury in a standout performance.

"We're playing great team football right now to a T," safety Eric Weddle added. "We're playing well off each other— running the ball, controlling the clock, third-down conversions. We just know, as a defense, we just need to continue playing at a high level to give our offense more opportunities. Who knows what's going to happen."

Total team effort has put the Ravens in control of the sixth and final AFC playoff spot and half a game back of the Steelers for the AFC North. As they head to Los Angeles to take on the Chargers in Week 16 and then back to Baltimore to face the dynamic Baker Mayfield and the Cleveland Browns, it appears the offense and defense have together found what works for them in a style of play that pundits deemed unattainable just weeks ago. 

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