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Ravens batter Bortles, keep pace in AFC North race

Baltimore's defense sacked Blake Bortles eight times to carry the Ravens to a 20-12 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday. Our takeaways:

  1. A week after Elvis Dumervil racked up 3.5 sacks on Ryan Tannehill, bookend edge rusher Terrell Suggs took Bortles down three times. He and second-round rookie defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan combined for 4.5 sacks and eight quarterback hits. The Ravens' front seven must continue to harass opposing passers at this rate to provide cover for a thin secondary comprised of cornerbacks signed off the street. With Cincinnati and Pittsburgh also winning on Sunday, the pressure is on Baltimore to take care of business at Houston and versus Cleveland in the final two weeks. It helps that both of those teams are starting raw rookies at quarterback.
  1. Joe Flacco is quietly enjoying the best season of his career, showing particularly impressive pocket movement and athleticism the past few weeks. The Ravens have an underrated offense, ranking just below the Packers in fewest three-and-outs this season. Gary Kubiak's stretch-run attack has been a perfect fit for Flacco's skill set.
  1. Bortles came out firing in impressive fashion, moving the Jaguars' offense up and down the field for four first-half field goals. He ended up getting avalanched the rest of the way behind an offensive line that rivals the Buccaneers' as the league's most inept. If there was a bright spot for Jacksonville, it was a run defense that limited Justin Forsett to 48 yards and 3 yards per clip. This defense is no longer a pushover with defensive tackle Sen'Derrick Marks and speedy linebackers Telvin Smith and J.T. Thomas giving it some backbone.

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