1. The Baltimore Ravens defense did their thing
The week 16 matchup against the San Francisco 49ers was always going to be one of the biggest tests for the Baltimore Ravens defense. If the Ravens faced a daunting list of quarterbacks this season, this would be the best group they face all year.
Still, the fact that this Ravens defense has mostly faced backup-caliber players, and the few good quarterbacks had success against them raised the dial-up for what this game could be.
As it turns out, the Ravens' defense is as good as it looks on paper. The Ravens dominated this game. Brock Purdy threw four interceptions and was sacked twice. Even Sam Darnold took two sacks in mop-up time late. The defense was relentless. It was easily the best they had played all season.
What was more impressive was seeing them put the game away. Too many times this year we saw the Ravens let an offense linger in the fourth quarter. The best offense in the NFL cut the lead to 14 and got the ball to the one-yard line, but the Ravens made four stops and turned them over on downs. The team made sure to win by more than one score.
This was not a performance we had seen from this unit before. This is huge because they are about to face the Miami Dolphins next week, and Miami is another great test for this defense. Now, the expectations for how this group will perform are even higher.