BALTIMORE – The Ravens rallied from behind again, but could not finish the job as their undefeated streak came to an end at the hand of the Raiders, 28-27.
Here is our instant analysis after watching the Ravens fall to the 3-1 Raiders in Baltimore.
1. The Ravens walked the tightrope again, but this time they fell.
After taking a 27-21 lead in the fourth quarter, the Ravens couldn’t keep Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (four TD passes) from engineering the game-winning drive. The Raiders marched 66 yards in just six plays, with Carr hitting Michael Crabtree for a 23-yard touchdown pass. Crabtree made a pretty move to beat Ravens cornerback Shareece Wright in the end zone.
This was the best offense the Ravens had faced all season, and they did not pass the test. Carr has thrown seven TD passes against the Ravens in his last two games against him. All for Ravens games have been decided by six points or less, but this time they were on the losing side
1. Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith Sr.’s 51-yard touchdown ignited the Ravens’ offense.
It was the kind of inspirational play that has been a signature of Smith’s career. Catching a slant pass, Smith (eight catches, 11 yards) stiff-armed Raiders cornerback David Amerson to the turf, streaked by safety Reggie Nelson, and outran the Raiders’ secondary to the end zone.
The Ravens trailed, 21-12, in the fourth quarter at the time and needed a spark. Smith lit the fuse, with the 51st 100-yard game of his career. Among wide receivers, Smith ranks fourth in the NFL all-time for 100-yard games, tied with Andre Johnson and Terrell Owens. Too bad for Smith that his effort came in a loss.
3. Ravens running back Terrance West (21 carries, 113 yards, one touchdown) did more than enough to earn another start.
With a career high West got rolling in the second half, although he did lose a fumble in the third quarter. The Ravens shook up their backfield, starting West, activating Buck Allen as the backup running back, and deactivating Justin Forsett. West ran with authority and got stronger as the game went on. West gave himself a chance to hold onto the starting job, but the running back rotation will get more interesting when rookie Kenneth Dixon (knee) returns, maybe next week. You have to wonder how, or if, Forsett will fit in.
4. Without LT Ronnie Stanley (foot) and LG Alex Lewis (concussion), the Ravens’ offensive line was dominated.
Neither left tackle James Hurst, left guard Ryan Jensen, nor right tackle Rick Wagner could handle Raiders pass rushers Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin.
The Ravens were called for five offensive holding penalties, and when they didn’t hold, quarterback Joe Flacco was under duress. The Ravens must hope Stanley and Lewis get back quickly, because Flacco may take a pounding in the interim.
5. After their first loss, the Ravens will get ready for the Redskins.
The Ravens played a winning team for the first time and didn’t measure up.
Their next challenge is to beat the Redskins (2-2), who have won two straight, and visit M&T Bank Stadium in Week 5.