Sunday, September 29, 2013
Rapid Reaction: Bills 23, Ravens 20
By Jamison Hensley
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- A few thoughts on the Baltimore Ravens' 23-20 loss to the Buffalo Bills:
What it means: Undone by interceptions and no ground game, the Ravens (2-2) were upset by the banged-up Bills (2-2). Baltimore didn't show up in the first half just a week after routing the Houston Texans. The Ravens fall into a three-way tie for first place in the AFC North with the Cincinnati Bengals (2-2) and Cleveland Browns (2-2).
Picked apart: Quarterback Joe Flacco threw a career-worst five interceptions against a makeshift Buffalo secondary, and the Bills converted those turnovers into 13 points. The most interceptions Flacco had previously thrown were four (Week 2 in 2010 at Cincinnati). His fourth interception came late in the third quarter, when the Ravens were down six points (20-14) and in Bills territory. His last one occurred in the final minute of the game when the Ravens were within 15 yards of a game-tying field goal.
Stock Watch: Rising -- wide receiver Torrey Smith. The Ravens' top playmaker caught five passes for 166 yards and scored his first touchdown of the season. It makes you wonder why the Ravens didn't go to Smith more often. Falling -- the Ravens' run game. Even with the return of running back Ray Rice, the struggling ground attack couldn't get anything going against the second-worst run defense in the league. The Ravens managed 24 yards on the ground and couldn't break a run longer than 7 yards. Baltimore completely abandoned the run game after halftime, running the ball two times in the second half.
Streak ends: The Ravens saw their streak of not allowing a touchdown end at nine quarters. Cornerback Corey Graham, who replaced injured Lardarius Webb, was beaten by Robert Woods for a 42-yard score. It was the first touchdown given up by the Ravens' defense in 30 drives. The Ravens then gave up another touchdown in the second quarter after a Flacco interception (which went off Ed Dickson's hands).
What's next: The Ravens stay on the road next Sunday, visiting the Miami Dolphins (3-0), who play at the New Orleans Saints on "Monday Night Football." Baltimore is 0-2 on the road this season.