Baltimore Sun - - SPORTS -

Jeff Zre­biec, Ravens re­porter: This may not be a pop­u­lar opin­ion, but if I’m a Ravens fan, I wouldn’t feel too much worse about this team than I did com­ing into the game. The bot­tom line is they weren’t good enough to beat what might be the top team in the league on its home field. That shouldn’t be shock­ing. The of­fense did some good things and didn’t turn the ball over. Jeremy Zut­tah’s three penal­ties re­ally hurt, and the Ravens weren’t con­sis­tent enough to win, but it was a much sharper of­fen­sive per­for­mance than many we’ve seen. On de­fense, the Ravens more than held their own against the run, but they didn’t have an an­swer for Dak Prescott, Dez Bryant and Cole Beasley. With­out Jimmy Smith, that shouldn’t have been sur­pris­ing, ei­ther. The Ravens’ path to the play­offs re­mains by win­ning their AFC North games. Ev­ery­thing is in front of them.

Mike Pre­ston, Ravens colum­nist: In the Ravens’ loss to Dal­las it was ev­i­dent that this team is still a player or two away from mak­ing a se­ri­ous run deep into the post­sea­son. Ex­cept for wide re­ceiver Steve Smith Sr., the Ravens don’t have any game-chang­ers in the lineup, as Dal­las does with Bryant and Ezekiel El­liott. The Ravens have got­ten bet­ter since the sea­son started, but a lot of their weak­nesses show up against qual­ity op­po­nents, es­pe­cially their lack of big-time tal­ent.

Ed­ward Lee, Ravens re­porter: The of­fense failed to main­tain the mo­men­tum it es­tab­lished in the first half, which has be­come a trou­bling trend in the five losses. The de­fense tried to hold up its end, but wore down un­der the re­lent­less, time-con­sum­ing pres­sure of the Cow­boys of­fense. The Ravens are win­less against op­po­nents with win­ning records and are 0-3 against the NFC East.

Mark Selig, Ravens ed­i­tor: To beat an elite team on its home turf, you’ve got to limit mis­takes and force a turnover or two. The Ravens gave away 136 yards in penal­ties and couldn’t gen­er­ate a take­away. So the game came down to who was bet­ter, and we al­ready knew the an­swer to that. In­evitably, Dal­las’ ruth­less of­fense wore down the Ravens, who didn’t rise to the Cow­boys’ level long enough to pull off an up­set.

Childs Walker, re­porter: This game ended up be­ing pretty sim­ple. The Ravens’ top-ranked de­fense needed to win the bat­tle up front all day to keep the team in the game. In­stead, the Cow­boys’ of­fen­sive line dom­i­nated the sec­ond half. With­out Jimmy Smith, the Ravens could not cover Bryant and the Dal­las re­ceiv­ing corps for 60 min­utes. And the Ravens of­fense isn’t well suited to keep up in a shootout. This loss was al­ways the most likely sce­nario and doesn’t change much in the long run. The Ravens still have plenty of chances to bat­tle for the AFC North ti­tle.

Ron Fritz, sports ed­i­tor: The Cow­boys are too big, too fast and too good. That’s the rea­son the Ravens lost Sun­day. When you can’t get to the quar­ter­back, you’re not go­ing to win. Forget Jimmy Smith’s not play­ing. With that much time to sit in the pocket, Prescott would have picked Smith apart, too. The rookie was im­pres­sive. But give the Ravens some credit. They bat­tled all the way and played a de­cent game. The of­fense fi­nally showed some flashes. But de­fen­sively they had no an­swers.

Peter Sch­muck, colum­nist: The Ravens de­fense looked solid early, but the Cow­boys wore it down and the sec­ond half was a mis­match. It’s hard to tell how this bodes for the re­main­der of the tough sec­ond-half sched­ule, be­cause the Cow­boys ap­pear to be that good. The top-ranked Ravens “D” didn’t have an an­swer when Prescott got hot down the stretch, and the Ravens of­fense was good for a cou­ple of drives, but couldn’t keep up when it counted.

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