5 things we learned from the Ravens 37-30 win over the Cowboys


1. Lorenzo Taliaferro is a workhorse.

16 carries for 59 yards may not seem like an amazing line, but the quality of those yards was evident on tape.  He was decisive, and no matter the situation, always seemed to find yards.  He singlehandedly carried the offense down field at times on their touchdown-scoring third quarter drive where his plunge into the endzone made the Cowboys look tired of tackling the bruising back.  It may not be immediately this season — might not even be this season at all.  But Taliaferro will be a feature back if Gary Kubiak’s offense is here for an extended stay.  And he will be one of those running backs that, come the fourth quarter and 25th touch, defenses will be waiving the white flag towards.

2. Deonte Thompson is really, really fast.

Deonte Thompson returned one of his kickoffs to the 30-yard line.  Pathetic, right?  That was his worst return of the night.  He had a 108-yard touchdown and another returned close to midfield.  Simply put, he was a dangerous weapon in Dallas on Saturday.  Either the Cowboys special teams unit is set up to be historically bad — a possibility, granted — or Thompson can reasonably be expected to be the Ravens’ starting kick returner.

3. Rolando McClain can still play football.

In his third (?) return from retirement (forgive me, I’m actually losing count), McClain showed some ability against (sort of) his old team.  Regardless, it appears as though the Ravens’ trade — featuring triggers dependent on McClain’s playing time in 2014 — could return them a sixth round pick after all.  The Cowboys broadcasters couldn’t stop talking about the potential of McClain (stop me if you’ve heard this before).  If McClain plays over half the season for the Cowboys, the Ravens will get a sixth round pick.  Crazier things have happened.  McClain didn’t look half bad, and if he can get back in shape — mentally and physically — more power to him.

4. Justin Tucker is human.

He missed a 61-yard field goal.  In all seriousness, it will be interesting to see just how far John Harbaugh’s willing to let Tucker kick from in the regular season.  I’m sure Tucker would beg and plead to try from 70, so it’s really up to the coach.

5. All the running backs will be used.

Ray Rice, Bernard Pierce, Lorenzo Taliaferro, Justin Forsett.  All four have their own strengths that add value to the game.  Forsett showed how dangerous he can be in the open field, and the Ravens appear to like him on screens.  Pierce has been dubbed the most impressive back in training camp by some so far.  Rice will surely get carries once he returns from suspension.  Taliaferro is proving too effective and powerful to keep off the field.  This is a good problem to have in an offense that favors the run, and if they establish a lead, they should have no problem holding onto it.

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