Sunday, October 13, 2013
Rapid Reaction: Baltimore Ravens
By Jamison Hensley
BALTIMORE -- A few thoughts on the Baltimore Ravens' 19-17 loss to the Green Bay Packers:
What it means: The Ravens (3-3) couldn't overcome a slow start by their offense and a poor finish by their defense. This ended the Ravens' two-game winning streak. Baltimore could fall out of first place if Cincinnati wins at Buffalo (the game is currently in overtime). It marked Joe Flacco's first loss at home in 11 games against the NFC.
Coming up short: The Ravens didn't go down easily. In the fourth quarter, Flacco converted a fourth-and-21 with a 63-yard pass to Tandon Doss. He then hit Dallas Clark for an 18-yard touchdown to get within 19-17 with 2:07 left. But the defense couldn't stop the Packers as Matt Elam failed to pull down tight end Jermichael Finley on third-and-3, leading to a 52-yard pass play and ending the Ravens' hopes for a comeback.
Questionable decision, part one: Down 3-0, the Ravens couldn't punch the ball into the end zone in the second quarter despite three runs inside the Packers' 3-yard line. On fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line, Bernard Pierce was stopped short of the goal line. It was the worst moment on a bad day for the Ravens' running game.
Questionable decision, part two: The Ravens remained aggressive while still trailing by a field goal. With 20 seconds left before halftime, the Ravens chose to throw the ball instead of running out the clock. On second down, new Ravens left tackle Eugene Monroe got beat easily, which led to Flacco getting stripped from behind. That fumble led to a short Packers field goal and allowed Green Bay to take a 6-0 lead into halftime.
Falling: Running back Ray Rice. It was another game where he didn't get many open holes and failed to break tackles. He gained 34 yards on 14 carries, a 2.4-yard average.
Rising: Wide receiver Jacoby Jones. In his first game since the season opener, Jones provided a spark on returns and in the passing game. He scored the team's first touchdown with an 11-yard catch in the fourth quarter.
Home streak ends: The Ravens' streak of not allowing a touchdown at home ended at a critical time. After the Ravens closed to within 9-3, cornerback Lardarius Webb got beat on a 64-yard touchdown pass to Jordy Nelson with 2:12 left in the third quarter. Dating back to last season's playoffs, the Ravens had gone 14 straight quarters without giving up a touchdown at M&T Bank Stadium. It was the biggest blemish on another strong defensive effort.
What's next: The Ravens play the first of three division games in four weeks when they head to Pittsburgh to face their AFC North rival Steelers.