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.