NCAA Football

Saints-Ravens score, key points: Lamar Jackson stars as Baltimore crushes New Orleans for third straight win

Andy Dalton entered Monday night’s showdown with the Ravens, a longtime AFC North foe, in a string of surprises as the caller of one of the most explosive offenses in the NFL in recent times. Anyone betting on the former Bengals quarterback to show up in prime time, however, only needed to look at the other sideline to know better. Lamar Jackson, king of the standout play this side from Patrick Mahomes, captured the spotlight late in Week 9, pulling off an erratic attack from Baltimore to help the Ravens get past the Saints in New Orleans. His legs, along with a monster night for veteran pass rusher Justin Houston, headed a 27-13 victory for the visitors, giving the Ravens their third consecutive “W” to remain at the top of their division.

The Saints, meanwhile, drop to 3-6 with the ugly loss and a full game behind the Buccaneers and Falcons in the sloppy NFC South. Despite another relatively productive night for rookie wide receiver Chris Olave, they failed to register any pace with the ball in their hands, and Dalton had his worst performance since taking over from Jameis Winston in Week 4.

Here are some additional hints from the Ravens’ defeat on Monday night:

Why the Ravens won

It wasn’t because they figured out how to move the ball through the air with consistency; DeSean Jackson’s debut predictably ended early due to injury, and James Proche was by some means the only receiver to record at least two receptions. But Lamar Jackson still played his part, finding Isaiah Likely on a perfect floater for an early touchdown and showing the moves of an elite running back, around and beyond the pocket, teaming up with a busy Kenyan Drake (two TDs) to help fuel the game’s upper backfield. Defensively, the Ravens were just as, if not more, impressive; Justin Houston, 33, moved back to 23 with 2.5 sacks and a slanted pass pick, while Marlon Humphrey took down his own takedown in the blitz and rookie Roquan Smith made his presence felt, recording a third down. Neutralizing Alvin Kamara, the “D” beat Andy Dalton from start to finish.

Why did the saints lose

Dennis Allen’s team simply lacked execution and energy on either side of the ball. It was a totally unfortunate performance for a team under the lights in their own field with a chance to exact revenge in an ugly division. Andy Dalton never looked comfortable facing pressure from the front from Baltimore, taking some nasty kicks in particular from Calais Campbell and Justin Houston. The ground game was non-existent. Even worse, Allen’s defense tried and failed to use a heavy dose of blitz to bottle up Lamar Jackson, whose athletics won the night. In doing so, it also became something of a sieve against the rush, allowing Jackson and Drake to combine for 175 yards. The Ravens were just physically faster and stronger – frankly better – during the match.

Inflection point

The Ravens only led 7-0 in the second quarter, so it’s not like Baltimore ran out of the gate, but the minute the Saints went to three and out after Lamar Jackson’s first goal, the air that was left of New Orleans entering the contest seemed to deflate. Taysom Hill opened the team’s third offensive series, but had a short run nullified by a penalty, and then Dalton absorbed one of Houston’s several sacks to close the drive, preserving the Ravens’ momentum. At the end of their subsequent streak, the Saints managed just 13 total plays with four possessions.

game play

Give this to the one-man band in the Ravens offense: facing a third-to-one, 17-6 in the fourth, Lamar practically sealed the win with his elusive run for the clubs:

What is the next

The Ravens (6-3) will rest before returning in Week 11 to host the Panthers (2-7), who returned to Baker Mayfield in a big loss to the Bengals on Sunday. The Saints (3-6), meanwhile, will travel to Pittsburgh to face the Steelers (2-6), who lost to the Eagles before saying goodbye this week.

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