The Baltimore Ravens won their third straight, shutting out the New Orleans Saints

The Baltimore Ravens won their third straight, shutting out the New Orleans Saints

NEW ORLEANS — The Baltimore Ravens (6-3) won their third straight and fourth of the previous five with a Victory 27-13 above New Orleans Saintsextending their lead atop the AFC North.

Baltimore’s defense controlled the game, recording four sacks, including 2.5 sacks Justin Houston.

The Saints (3-6) have lost three of four.

Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens defense turned in its most dominant performance of the season when the team needed it most. The Ravens held the Saints to 243 yards, the fewest by New Orleans this season.

Outside linebacker Justin Houston delivered 2.5 sacks and an interception in the fourth quarter. He became the first player in Ravens history with three consecutive multi-sack games. Houston was the team’s best playmaker as the defense did not allow a touchdown until the remaining four minutes of the game.

This was a well-timed effort by the defense as its offense was extremely broken up. Lamar Jackson played without a Pro Bowl tight end Mark Andrews (inactive with shoulder and knee injuries), No. 1 wide receiver Expenditure Bateman (out for the season with a foot injury) and his two best running backs (JK Dobbins is on reserve for the injured with a knee injury and Gus Edwards was inactive with a hamstring injury). Still, the Ravens won their third straight game and headed into the bye with a one-game lead Cincinnati Bengals for first place in the AFC North.

Key game: Houston’s interception in the fourth quarter. With 8:24 left in the game, the Ravens sealed their fourth win in five games with the kind of game-closing play that has eluded them this season. Defensive end Brent Urban diverted Andy Dalton‘s, and Houston threw an interception. Baltimore quickly turned that turnover into Kenyan DrakeThe second touchdown run, giving the Ravens a 27-6 lead. It was Baltimore’s 11th consecutive game with a forced turnover, the longest active streak in the NFL. Houston is the first player in Ravens history to record 2.5 sacks and one interception in the same game.

Promising trend: The Ravens continue to be one of the fastest starting teams in the NFL. Baltimore became the first team to lead by double digits at any point in each of its first nine games of a season since 2011. Green Bay Packers, according to ESPN Stats & Information. The Ravens are just the third team to do so in the last 20 years, joining the 2009 New Orleans Saints and 2011 Packers — both 9-0 starts. This just goes to show how close the Ravens would have been to a perfect start if they hadn’t had three turnovers in the fourth quarter.

The silver lining: Jackson was spreading the ball around. Without his top two targets — Andrews and Bateman — Jackson became more unpredictable in distributing the ball. He hit eight different players on his first eight passes and finished with a career-high 10 throws. Andrews and Bateman have accounted for 39% of the Ravens’ receptions through the first eight games, and while Baltimore is more dangerous with them, the Ravens seem more balanced without them. — Jamison Hensley

Underrated stats to know: Jackson is the second player in NFL history to record 100 passing yards and 20 rushing touchdowns before turning 26, joining Josh Allen. Both were compiled in 2018.

Next game: vs. Panthers (1 p.m. ET, Nov. 20)

New Orleans Saints

The Saints (3-6) were hoping to turn a corner after their dominant performance against the team Las Vegas Raiders last week. Instead, they simply found disappointment in a prime-time loss.

Many of the same issues the Saints dealt with earlier in the season are back. Quarterback Andy Dalton struggled and the offensive line didn’t protect him, especially after losing center Eric McCoy until injury. Dalton certainly didn’t help his long-term case as the Saints’ starting quarterback by throwing a late interception, nor did the Saints’ passing game, which didn’t fare well against the Ravens’ defense as New Orleans gained just 48 yards.

The Saints largely had no answer for Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson, who made a series of impressive plays to avoid tackles all night. Now the Saints will have to regroup on a short week with Pittsburgh Steelers next on the way.

QB breakdown: Saints coach Dennis Allen committed to Dalton at quarterback as long as the offense lasted, and he certainly took a huge step back against the Ravens. Dalton needed a big game to prove that three prime-time interceptions against the Cardinals in Week 7 were a fluke, but instead the offense failed again. Dalton doubled his sack total for the season and was ejected in the fourth quarter. He’ll also lament missing the wide open one Marquez Callaway in the end zone at the end of the first half. Callaway had 5.95 yards of separation in the game, which was only the second shortcoming of the season in the end zone on a throw over 5 yards of separation.

Worrying trend: The injury came back to bite the Saints again, with McCoy the starting quarterback Pete Werner and starting defensive end Marcus Davenport everyone leaves with injuries. The Saints have been lacking all season, especially on the offensive side of the ball, so this would be another blow if all three end up sitting out any length of time. Losing Werner would hurt the most, as he took a big step forward in his second season and was a key part of the defense. — Katherine Terrell

Underrated stats to know: Dalton has a .231 primetime winning percentage (6-20), the worst of any quarterback since 2000. Kerry Collins is 5-16 for a .238 percentage.

Next game: at Steelers (1 p.m. ET, Nov. 13)

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