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Instant observations: five things about the Ravens 27-17 loss

Instant observations: five things about the Ravens 27-17 loss

ARLINGTON, Texas – Five observations after watching Cowboys (9-1) roll to their ninth straight win, 27-17, over the Ravens:

1. The Ravens (5-5) stepped up in competition and it showed.

This could be a preview of what faces the Ravens down the stretch. They didn’t play poorly, but it wasn’t good enough. They still have three tough road games on their schedule – at New England, at Pittsburgh, at Cincinnati. The AFC North is clearly up for grabs, but the Ravens saw what the team with the NFL’s best record looked like, and looked overmatched in the second half.

2.  Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott is unflappable whether Tony Romo is in uniform or not.

Prescott keeps showing why this is his moment, his team. He was off target on several throws early, but once he settled down, he was superb. The Cowboys scored on every second half possession, and Prescott (27 for 36, 301 yards, three touchdowns, no interceptions) was the catalyst. He can throw on the run, he reads defenses calmly, and he scrambles when necessary. Most of all, he wins, and he is surrounded by tremendous talent. Romo was dressed for the first time all year after a back injury, but on this team, he is simply the backup quarterback. Prescott is the man, and the in the second half, the Cowboys’ offense took over the game and wore down the Ravens’ defense. 

3. Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant owned the red zone, without Jimmy Smith (back) in action.

The Ravens sorely missed Smith, their best and most physical cornerback. Bryant caught two touchdown passes, and on both of them, he simply outmuscled or outmaneuvered Ravens corners. On his first touchdown, Bryant basically boxed out Shareece Wright like he was an undersized point guard. On his second touchdown, Bryant muscled past Tavon Young to reach the end zone after Young tried to tackle him. The Ravens need a healthy Smith to matchup with top receivers. They must hope Smith’s back problems do not linger.

4. Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. is a player for the ages, regardless of his age.

Smith (eight catches, 99 yards, one touchdown) did everything in his power to bring the Ravens back. Not only did he surpass 1,000 catches for his career, Smith played with the passion he always brings. On the Ravens’ final scoring drive, he was hit hard twice after making the catch, but popped up each time unfazed. Smith cannot be intimidated. He should have a bust in Canton in his future, because his career is Hall of Fame worthy.

5.  There were some encouraging signs for the Ravens’ offense. 

Their 90-yard drive in the second quarter was probably their best of the season, and their 75-yard drive in the third quarter was nice as well. Joe Flacco (23 for 25, 269 yards, one TD, no interceptions) had a solid game at QB, but the Ravens’ offense didn’t have the ball enough in the second half. But the Ravens look like a better offensive team in November than they did in September and October.

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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?