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Passing game ground to a halt


Passing game ground to a halt

The Ravens had first-and-goal from the 10-yard line early in the second quarter. After Ray Rice ran for 4 yards on first down, Joe Flacco twice threw incompletions intended for Anquan Boldin in the end zone, and the Ravens had to settle for a field goal.

It was that kind of missed opportunity that defined the Ravens on Sunday in their 23-20 loss to the Steelers.

Flacco finished 16-for-34 for 188 yards, with one touchdown and one interception. His quarterback rating of 61.9 was his worst at home this season and his second-lowest at home in the past three years.

Flacco, who also lost a fumble after James Harrison rushed from the blind side and knocked the ball from his hand, said, “I think we missed a couple of opportunities early in the game to take a better hold of the game. I thought we could have put up 30 or 40 points today, and we didn’t do it. That’s probably the best reflection that we hurt ourselves a little bit.”

The Steelers brought the league’s No.1-ranked defense to Baltimore, but the feeling in the Ravens locker room afterward was that this was one that got away.

“It shouldn’t have been close. If we execute, it wouldn’t have been a close game,” said Ravens receiver Torrey Smith.

“Everything’s about execution,” Smith added. “They didn’t do anything special. We stopped ourselves. They made plays. We didn’t.”

The Ravens indeed had their chances. The Steelers lost starting cornerback Ike Taylor to an ankle injury early in the game, and the Ravens at times picked on his replacement, Cortez Allen. Anquan Boldin caught a 28-yard touchdown pass against Allen, but the Ravens also missed  other opportunities.

They came out firing, throwing on their first six offensive plays, including a deep pass that went in and out of the hands of Smith, who was covered by Taylor. Ray Rice and Tandon Doss both dropped passes while open, and Flacco underthrew Smith a couple of times, allowing Steelers defensive backs to break up the pass.

“It’s definitely frustrating,” said Smith, who was targeted eight times and finished with three catches for 33 yards. “Regardless of how tough it might be, it’s my job to make a play. More often times than not I make it. A couple of plays I left on the field I’m very upset about.”

Boldin, who finished with a team-high five catches for 81 yards, was also upset with the officiating, still hot afterward about a pass interference call against him that nullified a 17-yard gain. Boldin said he was being held.

“They were making bad calls all night,” Boldin said. “They may not want me to say it, but it’s just what it was. You can’t allow a guy to hold, and then when a receiver breaks free, call pass interference. I mean you can’t have it both ways. If you’re going to allow us to play football, let us play football.”

In the end, though Boldin, like others, lamented the missed chances.

“We felt like we left plays out there,” Boldin said. “We felt like we could have put them away early. (We) missed opportunites here and there.”

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Ravens sign Crabtree to three-year deal

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Ravens sign Crabtree to three-year deal

The Baltimore Ravens have signed WR 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 Shefter.

After being released by the Raiders 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 WR 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.

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Ryan Grant's health issue and why the Ravens couldn't control voiding his contract

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Ryan Grant's health issue and why the Ravens couldn't control voiding his contract

The most obvious move in the NFL this offseason was the Ravens signing a new wide receiver (or three). It was less obvious why the team decided to commit so much money to former Redskins receiver Ryan Grant.

Grant has long been beloved by his coaches and teammates, but the results have never been there on game day. He has some potential to improve if given a larger role in a team's offense, which he likely would have had in Baltimore, but it never made much sense to offer him a 4-year contract worth nearly 30 million, with $14.5 million guaranteed.

Thankfully for fans who were uninspired by the reported agreement, Grant was unable to pass his physical and will not be joining the team.


At a press conference Friday morning, GM Ozzie Newsome called the void a "medical decision" that Newsome had no control over. 

NFL insider Ian Rapoport reported that Grant is recovering from a Grade 2 sprained ankle that would need two months rest.

You have to feel for Grant, who by all accounts has worked his tail off for many years just waiting for his chance. It's never easy missing out on nearly $15 million dollars guaranteed, but Grant should be able to find work with another team.

The timing of this news, coming so soon after former Raider Michael Crabtree became available, seemed fishy to some.

At Friday's press conference, Newsome also said the team would have still pursued Crabtree if they signed Grant. 

It's probably not fair to suggest that an NFL franchise would actually so publicly back out of a deal just because another option came along, as any team with that reputation would struggle to attract future free agents. That said, it could end up working out splendidly for the team.

Besides, if all else is equal, shouldn't a team located in Baltimore be going after a guy named CRABtree?