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Ravens-Rams Instant Analysis


Ravens-Rams Instant Analysis

Rams 31, Ravens 17
at Edward Jones Dome

ST. LOUIS -- Not much should be read into this loss as no Ravens player on the fringe made a strong case for making the final cut now that preseason is over.

Coach Jim Harbaugh rested most of his starters in last year's preseason finale, too, so his decision wasn't a surprise. He only used four projected starters against the Rams' first-team, but he could be seen badgering his team on the sideline for its sloppy play from start to finish.

While the offense initially moved the ball well under backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor, it failed to score with him in the game and gave up a costly fumble inside its own 10-yard line as the deficit grew to 14-0 after the first quarter. Curtis Painter relieved Taylor in the second half and tossed three interceptions.

Rookie lineman Kelechi Osemele, who is projected to start at guard, was in the lineup at right tackle. He was joined by projected starters at linebacker Paul Kruger and Albert McClellan and defensive back Cary Williams.

Bernard Pierce, who has a firm grip on the No. 2 running back spot, averaged nine yards on his first three carries as the Ravens moved the ball to St. Louis' 41-yard line until the drive stalled.

A breakdown of what happened for the Ravens:

Player of the game: Vacant.

Telltale stat: Four turnovers and no sacks of the Rams' QBs.

Turning point: Taylor was hit from behind and stripped with the Ravens on their on 14. Robert Quinn was credited with the sack, the strip and recovery that gave the Rams a 14-point lead to put the game out of reach early.

Highlights: Osemele played right tackle where he was matched against Rams defensive end Chris Long. He kept him off the quarterback, not allowing a sack. ... Deonte Thompson was solid returning kicks on special teams and had a difficult 11-yard TD catch across the middle in the fourth quarter. He finished with six receptions for 68 yards.

Lowlights: It was a dreadful showing by Brendon Ayanbadejo as his decision-making and ability to close out plays. He was sucked inside on third-and-2 and allowed Steven Jackson to get wide for a first down. He whiffed on a few tackles on one drive alone and allowed a 23-yard gain on a touchdown drive by the Rams by going for the strip rather than the tackle. ... Ayanbadejo, Nigel Carr and Paul Kruger were beaten on routes underneath for touchdown throws by Sam Bradford. ... Sergio Kindle was called for a roughing the passer when he hit Bradford long after he threw the ball on 3rd and 15. That led to an automatic first down and three plays later a 21-0 deficit. ... Justin Tucker missed his first field goal of the preseason since winning the job earlier this week from Billy Cundiff. The kick sailed wide left from 57 yards. ... Playing left tackle, Cord Howard was beaten badly on the edge, allowing the sack of Taylor that caused the fumble. ... Giving up a 46-yard catch to Steve Smith, cornerback Jimmy Smith fell down and then stopped playing after the catch. The receiver eventually fell, too, but he wasn't tackled and still inbounds. ... After Curtis Painter overthrew Bobby Rainey for an interception by Craig Dahl, Dorian Graham stripped Dahl and recovered the ball for Baltimore. Then Painter throws a high pass that deflects off the 5-foot-8 Rainey's hands and is picked off by Janoris Jenkins and returned 76 yards for a touchdown. ... The kickoff coverage remains inadequate as Rainey was drawn inside and sealed with a block that allowed Chris Givens to return the ball to the Rams' 36 and an offsides penalty advanced it to the 41.

Nice recovery: After being called for 35-yard pass interference call that put the ball in the red zone in the second quarter, Danny Gorrer intercepted Rams backup QB Kellen Clemens.

Notable: Anthony Allen, after being virtually ignored in the previous two games and playing just special teams, got five carries in the second half in front of undrafted rookie Damien Berry who played special teams until the fourth quarter when he had a 10-yard rush.

Up next: Harbaugh will cut down his roster to 53 players on Friday.

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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?