The Ravens dropped the ball in San Francisco.
Yes, they let a winnable game get away from them --- again -- which has become a recurring theme this season. But this time, they really did drop the ball: At least five catchable balls fell through their hands; had they caught any one of them, another demoralizing defeat probably turns into a win. Instead, the Ravens fell 25-20 to the 49ers on Sunday to fall to 1-5, the worst six-game mark in franchise history.
It happened on both sides of the ball, too, and even afflicted the Ravens most reliable playmakers.
On the 49ers second possession, Colin Kaepernick's pass over the middle glanced right off Jimmy Smith's hands. Instead of an interception, the 49ers retained possession and hit a field goal on the next play.
Then early in the second quarter, Steve Smith had a third-down pass bounce off his hands in the end zone. The ball was slightly behind him, but the 15-year veteran has hauled in plenty of tougher catches. Instead of a touchdown, the Ravens settled for a field goal.
Not long after that, linebacker Albert McClellan sniffed out a pass in the right flat and make a leaping two-handed deflection. The ball then bounced off his chest and fell to the ground before he could hold on. The 49ers kicked a field goal on the next play.
On the Ravens next possession, Flacco threw two passes in succession into the end zone, first to running back Buck Allen and then to Steve Smith. Both were well defended, but both times the Ravens receiver got his hands on the ball but could not haul in the score. The Ravens had to settle for a field goal.
"When we get down in there (in the red zone) we gotta score touchdowns," quarterback Joe Flacco said. "That makes a big difference in this kind of game. When things aren't going well for you as a football team you gotta make every play that's out there, and we just are not doing that."