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Further review: Late-game defense letting Ravens down


Further review: Late-game defense letting Ravens down

OAKLAND - Since late last season, the Ravens haven’t been able to count on their defense in late-game situations.

Simply put, the Ravens haven’t protected leads like they used to. It started last season, even before they lost linebacker Terrell Suggs to his season-ending Achilles injury. Dating back to 2014, the Ravens have lost their last four games that were decided by six points or less, and the fourth-quarter defense in all of those losses was suspect.

Watching the Ravens give up killer drives late in games has become a familiar sight. It happened again Sunday during their 37-33 loss to the Raiders.

After the Ravens took a 33-30 lead with 2:44 left, Raiders quarterback Derek Carr methodically led a game-winning touchdown drive – nine plays, 80 yards, in just one minute, 44 seconds.

RELATED: Ravens pass rush in trouble without Suggs

Had they at least held the Raiders to a field goal, perhaps the Ravens would have won in overtime. But the Ravens’ defense couldn’t contain Carr all day - 30 of 46, 351 yards, three touchdowns, one interception. Now the Ravens are 0-2, in as much September trouble as they have ever been under coach John Harbaugh.

Consider this snapshot of the Ravens’ recent late-game defense:

 - Against the Broncos in Week 1, Denver milked 10:56 off the clock in the fourth quarter with a 17-play, 81-yard drive. The Broncos settled for a field goal. But burning almost 11 minutes off the clock left the Ravens with just one more possession. That final drive ended with Joe Flacco throwing an interception, and the Ravens lost 19-13.

- In last season’s playoff loss to the Patriots, the Ravens twice led by 14 points, but couldn’t hold either lead. The Ravens led, 28-14, in the third quarter, but the Patriots outscored the Ravens 21-3 from that point and escaped with a 35-31 win that ended the Ravens’ season.

-  Last November 30th against the Chargers, the Ravens led 33-20 with just over six minutes left. But Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers engineered two late scoring drives and the Chargers won, 34-33, at M&T Bank Stadium. That loss may have cost the Ravens a division title.

Last year, the Ravens’ secondary was ravaged by injuries. But with corners Jimmy Smith and Lardarius Webb healthy, Carr still picked apart the Ravens’ secondary, and there was plenty of blame to go around.

“Our secondary, we got some miscommunication, and they got too many big plays,” Webb said following Sunday’s game. “If we didn’t give them a big play, we gave them a penalty. You can’t do both.

“Right now, everybody’s sad, everybody’s down. We’re 0-2. I don’t know what this feeling feels like. But I know I’m coming back on Monday and Tuesday, ready to get my boys ready…We will be back.” 

The motto “Play like a Raven” is supposed to include playing stellar defense in clutch situations. But unless the Ravens’ defense improves in late-game situations, recovering from a 0-2 start will be extremely difficult.

MORE RAVENS: Flacco on late-game loss to Raiders: 'It stinks'

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Ravens' Eric DCosta not ruling out taking a quarterback at No. 16

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Ravens' Eric DCosta not ruling out taking a quarterback at No. 16

And with the No. 16 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, the Baltimore Ravens select.... a quarterback?

Assistant general manager, and soon to be general manager, Eric DeCosta isn't ruling out the possibility that the Ravens use their first-round pick on drafting a quarterback to eventually replace Joe Flacco. 

"I feel like if there is a guy there that we think is really too good to pass up, we're going to take him," DeCosta told the team's website on the chance of draft a quarterback in the first-round. 

Quarterback is just one of many offensive needs for the team. Joe Flacco's stats have been trending downward as the 33-year old is entering his 11th season.


Owner Steve Bisciotti though may disagree with DeCosta.

At his annual State of the Ravens press conference, Bisciotti said, "That’s not really something that we’re worried about right now. We’ve got bigger fish to fry, I guess. I don’t consider that a big worry," in regards to looking at life after Joe. Bisciotti also noted the team would be looking at all options in free agency and the draft for weapons for their QB.

From the sound of that, it appears the team's first choice would be a wideout, but the Ravens haven't drafted a quarterback since Joe Flacco back in 2008. 

The 2018 NFL Draft class has a handful of strong quarterbacks to choose from and not a ton of first-round wide receivers. 

Former Ravens scout, Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com has predicted the team with take Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield in the first-round. 

"It basically depends on our evaluation and how we feel about the guy, what we think he can become as a player and what we think his upside is and if he's there," DeCosta said

Backup Ryan Mallet is a free agent so the organization will have to find someone to fill the role, whether it's someone on a one year-deal, or the future QB of the franchise. 


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Ravens sign Michael Crabtree to three-year deal

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Ravens sign Michael Crabtree to three-year deal

The Baltimore Ravens have signed wide receiver Michael Crabtree to a three-year deal on Friday according to general manager and executive vice president Ozzie Newsome.

The deal is apparently worth $21 million, according to Adam Schefter.

After being released by the Raiders on Thursday following the signing of Jordy Nelson, Crabtree heads to the Ravens less than 24 hours later.


The 31-year-old is coming off a 2017 season when he recorded 58 receptions for 618 yards and eight touchdowns. In 2016 he posted 89 receptions for 1,003 yards and eight touchdowns.

Since 2015, the Texas Tech product has scored 25 receiving touchdowns, the fifth-most in the NFL. Crabtree and Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown are the only NFL players to post at least eight touchdown catches in each of the past three seasons.


In all, Crabtree has played nine NFL seasons – six of them with San Francisco (2009-14) and three with Oakland (2015-17). The former first-round draft pick (10th overall, Texas Tech) has registered 579 receptions for 6,870 yards (11.9 avg.) and 51 touchdowns in 125 career games (122 starts).

“Michael has played very well against the Ravens, so we know firsthand the attributes he brings to the game,” Newsome said in a team statement. “He is a smart, tough, physical receiver who battles for the ball. We like his temperament and believe he is a good fit for our football team, on and off the field.”

Since he entered the NFL in 2009, Crabtree’s 51 receiving scores rank 10th among active wide receivers, while his receptions (579) are seventh, and his receiving yards (6,870) are 12th.