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Clausen faces tall order in first Ravens start

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Clausen faces tall order in first Ravens start

BALTIMORE -- Jimmy Clausen already faced a tall order taking over as the Ravens starting quarterback less than three weeks after joining the team. Facing a tenacious Seahawks defense made the task that much tougher. Still, reviews of Clausen were somewhat positive considering the Ravens failed to reach the end zone and were trounced, 35-6, at M&T Bank Stadium on Sunday.

The loss drops the Ravens to 4-9 and clinches the first losing season in coach John Harbaugh’s eight-year tenure.

Clausen, signed by the Ravens on Nov. 24 after being cut by the Bears, was pressed into starting duty because Matt Schaub was sidelined with chest and shoulder injuries after taking a pounding at Miami last Sunday.

Clausen was making the 13th start of his career, though just the third since 2010. He finished 23-for-40 for 274 yards, a career-high, and was intercepted once.

“I thought he made some good throws. (There were) probably some throws that he would want back,” Harbaugh said. “But going in there, in that situation, and to be under fire like that, against the defense we were playing, it speaks very well for him.”

Clausen hooked up with rookie Daniel Brown on a 31-yard pass on the Ravens opening series, and totaled 58 yards on back-to-back throws to Kamar Aiken in the final minute of the first half to set up a field goal.

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But for the second time this year against Seattle, Clausen could not direct a touchdown drive. His only other start this season, with Chicago, also came against Seattle in a 26-0 loss. Clausen was 9-for-17 for 63 yards in that game. He is now 1-12 as an NFL starter, with 10 of those starts coming as a rookie with Carolina in 2010.

“I wish I could have had some throws back today, and I’ll watch the tape and just get better,” Clausen said “Like Coach said, you know, just each and every day, just work a little bit harder and get better.”

“He was phenomenal in the huddle,” left tackle Kelechi Osemele said. “He really commanded presence in there. He made eye contact with pretty much everybody on every play. (He was) good on the checks. I think he did a great job with only being here a few weeks and getting thrown in there. … I think he handled it really well.”

Did Clausen do enough to warrant starting again next week against Kansas City, even if Schaub is healthy?

Harbaugh was not ready to speculate. “I don’t know right now,” Harbaugh said. “We’ll see. We’ll evaluate it going forward.”

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Baltimore Ravens Week 6 awards after shutout win over Titans

Baltimore Ravens Week 6 awards after shutout win over Titans

The Baltimore Ravens went into the Tennessee Titans' home and completely robbed them in a 21-0 shutout win.

Here are the players and plays that stood out from the afternoon.

PLAYER(S) OF THE GAME: Ravens Defense

The Ravens defense had a historic afternoon recording a franchise-record 11 sacks. Yup, you read that right. 11 sacks.

Za'Darius Smith led the way with three, followed by Patrick Onwuasor with two and Matthew Judon, Terrell Suggs, Tony Jefferson, Kenny Young, Anthony Levine Sr. and Chris Wormley with one apiece. The 11 sacks tied for the second most by a team in league history and the most in a game since 2012.  It was so historic, the Ravens changed their Twitter name to included 11 S's. 

But that wasn't the only impressive part of the Ravens' afternoon. Marcus Mariota was limited to 10 completions and the defense allowed just 51 passing yards  —  the fewest in franchise history  — and 55 rushing yards. The Titans finished the afternoon 1-for-10 on third down as well.

With the shutout, the Ravens defense cemented its place as one of the NFL's most elite units in 2018. A win that must have been extra sweet after a 12-9 overtime loss to the Browns the week prior and with former defensive coordinator Dean Pees staring back from the opposite sideline. The Ravens remain the only NFL team to not allow a second-half touchdown this season. 

COMEBACK PLAYER OF THE GAME: Michael Crabtree

After dropping what would have been the game-winning touchdown Week 5 against the Browns, Michael Crabtree said his priority this week was to get back into the lab and correct his mistakes. Out the gate, the veteran receiver stayed true to his word finishing the Ravens' first drive catching three passes for 52 yards and one touchdown. Earlier in the week, Joe Flacco had faith his receiver would get over the hump of six drops in five games and was willing to stand by him until it happened.

"Besides just trying to give him the confidence that, you know, I'm still going his way when he calls for it and I still believe that it's going to be the difference...it's something that he'll definitely get over," Flacco said.

The patience worked as Crabtree finished the day with six receptions for 93 yards and one touchdown leading all Ravens receivers.

But more importantly, the relationship between Crabtree and Flacco continues to grow.

"That’s trust. That’s what you need in football, you know," Crabtree said postgame. "Quarterback, receiver relationship. It’s only going to get better. It’s all about how much time you put in, how much work you put in. I’m new; this is my first year here so I got to do what I got to do."

STAT OF THE GAME: Flacco makes his way into the history books

With 25 completions Sunday against the Titans, Flacco became the third different quarterback in NFL history to complete 25 or more passes in nine consecutive games, per the NFL's communication department. Drew Brees sits atop the list with 11 and 10 consecutive games followed by Peyton Manning with nine. Flacco finished the 21-0 win 25-for-37 with 238 yards, one touchdown and one interception. 

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Ravens pile up team-record 11 sacks against former defensive coordinator

Ravens pile up team-record 11 sacks against former defensive coordinator

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Baltimore Ravens swarmed around their new defensive coordinator, Don "Wink" Martindale, celebrating after a game that will go down in the record books.

Getting 11 sacks along with a shutout against the man Martindale replaced makes this mark even sweeter.

Za'Darius Smith had a career-high three sacks as the Ravens piled up the franchise-record Sunday in routing the Tennessee Titans 21-0 in the rain, just missing the NFL record shared by five teams by one.

Baltimore coach John Harbaugh called it an "historic defensive performance."

The Ravens (4-2) smothered Tennessee, allowing just 106 yards of offense while they turned Marcus Mariota's day into the worst of his NFL career. Eight different Ravens sacked Mariota, and four got their first sack this season at his expense. The Titans never got closer to the end zone than the Ravens 37, each time pushed back with yet another sack.

"We want to be something special out there," Ravens linebacker Matthew Judon said. "For Wink, it's great to go against his predecessor, and he stepped up and we came through and pitched a shutout. You don't ever talk about unicorns while you're doing it, but we got it done. We got it done for him, and we celebrated after."

Martindale was promoted to defensive coordinator when Dean Pees retired after last season. His retirement lasted less than a month with first-year coach Mike Vrabel luring Pees to join him as the Titans' defensive coordinator.

Asked about Pees, Smith only said that the coordinator told him at his pro day at Kentucky that the linebacker would be a Raven.

"Love him to death, but hey, we won tonight, so we're going to leave it at that," Smith said with a smile.

The Titans (3-3) had not been shut out at home since the franchise relocated to Tennessee.

"That's the headline: The `Tennessee Titans didn't do nearly enough on all levels to win the football game,'" Vrabel said. "Or even make it competitive."

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