Ravens defense turns in vintage performance to shut down high-powered Chargers

Yahoo Sports

The Baltimore Ravens of old are back. Baltimore’s defense turned in a vintage performance to shut down Philip Rivers and the Los Angeles Chargers to come up with a huge 22-10 win Saturday night.

Baltimore’s defense was the story of the night. The team sacked Rivers four times, and applied so much pressure on every other play that all Rivers could do was dump the ball off to his running backs. Chargers wide receivers caught just eight balls during the game, three of which came on the team’s final drive of the night.

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Despite Baltimore’s strong play, the Chargers still had a chance to win the game late. With a little under three minutes left, the Ravens put the final nail in the coffin. Linebacker Patrick Onwuasor forced Antonio Gates to fumble. The ball was picked up by Tavon Young, who took it 62 yards to the end zone to seal the win.

The Ravens added yet another turnover on Los Angeles’ final drive, picking off Rivers with 1:22 to go. The Ravens were able to run out the clock on the next drive.

While Baltimore’s defense led the way, the team’s offense impressed as well. The Ravens relied on a steady diet of Lamar Jackson, Gus Edwards and Kenneth Dixon to keep the ball out of Rivers’ hands. The Chargers held the ball for just three minutes and fifty-two seconds in the first quarter.

The Ravens offense also turned in its biggest play of the night when the team needed it most. With the team trailing by four after the Chargers capitalized on a Dixon fumble, Jackson hit tight end Mark Andrews for a 68-yard touchdown to put the Ravens back on top. Justin Tucker would add a field goal later in the quarter before the defense finished things up.

With the victory, the Ravens moved to 9-6 on the season. The team not only held its grasp on a wild-card spot in the AFC, but also gave itself a chance to take the AFC North lead.

The Ravens win forces the Pittsburgh Steelers to keep pace in the division. The Steelers will have to beat the New Orleans Saints on Sunday to remain ahead of the Ravens in the standings. Even if the Steelers pull out a win, the Ravens have put themselves in good position heading into the final week of the regular season.

After watching the Ravens dismantle the Chargers, other AFC teams will have to hope Baltimore finds a way to screw this up. No team is going to want to play against Baltimore’s defense after seeing that performance.

The Ravens defense swarmed the Chargers offense Saturday. (AP Photo)

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Chris Cwik is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at christophercwik@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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