The Ravens entered Week 3 sitting at 3-0. But they hadn’t yet faced a strong opponent. The Ravens received there first test in Week 4, and it was a thriller.
Start of Game:
Oakland started the game with the ball, and did not do much, going three-and-out.
The Ravens struggled with penalties, gaining some momentum with a 17 yard pass to Mike Wallace. An offensive holding call on Jeremy Zuttah, and an offensive pass interference flag on Kamar Aiken stalled the Ravens opening drive.
The defense continued to hold strong in the first quarter. Derek Carr continued to target Amari Cooper, and the Ravens keep shutting the connection down. Yet again, the Ravens got the Raiders off the field in three-and-out-fashion
Oakland’s second drive was a carbon copy of their first, and the same could be said for the Ravens, as penalties stalled yet another drive.
The two teams exchanged put for the first half of the first quarter. The Ravens to this point have had an extremely hard time moving the ball on a defense that has been one of the worst in the NFL. Penalties have been abundant, and have largely hurt the Ravens as well.
With just under two minutes left in the first quarter, Sam Koch punted out of his own end zone. The Ravens had a rare special teams gaffe, as Oakland’s Jalen Richard took the punt back 47 yards to set up the Raiders at the Ravens six yard line. On the first play of the drive, Derek Carr rolled out to the right, and it Seth Roberts in the end zone, giving Oakland the lead. Sebastian Janikowski knocked in the extra point.
On the ensuing kickoff, Devin Hester Sr. had his best moment as a Raven to this point. Hester took the ball from eight yards deep in the end zone, and returned it 60 yards, and set up the Ravens in Raiders territory. Joe Flacco hit Steve Smith Sr. over the middle on a third-and-three. Smith shook off the corner on him, and took the ball 17 yards down to the Oakland 23.
End of First Quarter
The Ravens drive stalled, as two Flacco shots into the end zone came up incomplete. Justin Tucker came on on fourth down, and drilled a 24 yard field goal.
Oakland started their ensuing drive with good field position as well, as a Maxx Williams necessary roughness penalty erased what was a great job by the Ravens kick coverage team. The Ravens were helped out with a penalty on Oakland. The defense did not fail to get the job done from there, getting the Raiders off the field in yet another three-and-out. The defense has been great today, only allowing a total of 56 yards.
Upon coming back on the field, the Ravens offense jumped out of the gun fast. A 21 yard by Terrance West provided the longest play from scrimmage to this point in the game. The drive looked like it would end when a pass intended for Dennis Pitta called incomplete. But a pass interference on the Raiders gave Baltimore new life. But they were not able to capitalize. The Raiders quickly got the Ravens back to third down, and the Ravens failed yet again.
The Raiders got the ball back following a touchback on a Sam Koch punt. The Raiders methodically drove down the field. Carr went 6/6 on the drive, hitting Michael Crabtree to convert on third down near midfield, and found Amari Cooper for an 11 yard gain. DeAndre Washington took the ball to the Baltimore five yard line with a 28 yard run. On the next play, Carr found Crabtree in the back of the end zone on a perfect over the shoulder throw, extending the Raiders’ lead.
Everything the Ravens had done well previously they didn’t do here. The defense didn’t disrupt the passing game, and didn’t slow down the rushing attack. The Radiers also went no-huddle for most of the drive and the Ravens couldn’t keep up. Dean Pees will need to make adjustments.
The Ravens found some momentum right at the end of the first half. A 15 yard gain by Breshad Perriman keyed a long Ravens drive. Perriman made another reception on the next play, moving the ball eight more yards. Flacco then hit Kyle Juszczyk over the middle for 17 yards. Flack took a few shots towards the end zone, but came up empty. Justin Tucker came on and nailed a 43 yard field goal.
End of First Half
First Half Notes
- Penalties, penalties, penalties. They have been brutal in this game. It has made the pace of play very slow, and painful to watch. But penalties have also been incredibly hurtful for both teams. They have seemed to come at bad times for both teams, either the offense stalling their own drives, or the defense extending the offense’s possession. Sloppy, very sloppy.
- The Ravens need to get a running game. I have no idea where the Ravens’ preseason running game went, but they need to find it, and fast. The commentators on CBS mentioned this, and they are dead on. The Ravens have become predictable. They cannot run the ball and it forces Flacco to drop back and throw many more times than he should.
- The offensive line struggled mightily. Flacco continually was drilled by Oakland pass rushers, and the Ravens just cannot allow this to continue.
- With the exception of Oakland’s long touchdown drive, then defense has been fantastic.
First Half Winners
- Jimmy Smith - Smith has done a pretty good job of keeping the dangerous Amari Cooper in check. Holding Cooper to just 32 yards in one half is pretty impressive.
- C.J. Mosley - Mosley continues to be the sure tackle the Ravens need. The linebacker has already totaled 4 tackles in the game.
First Half Losers
- James Hurst - Hurst has been called for holding multiple times. The replacement for Ronnie Stanley has not provided any kind of value to the team. In his defense however, he has had to block Khalil Mack, and that is a near impossible task. But he needs to do at least not get called for penalties that are hurting his team.
- Marc Trestman - The Ravens offense looks really bad. There is simply no other way to put it. The Ravens have no ability to run the ball, and Flacco has had to throw the ball way to many times, 29 attempts in the first half. Play action plays haven’t worked, because defenses don’t have to respect the run. The play calling by Trestman has also been poor. The Ravens need to stop taking so many shots down the field. Flacco is known for his deep ball, but the Ravens are not connecting on the deep shots. Penalties have played a factor in the play calling, but Trestman needs to realize that deep shots just aren’t working, and as a result it is hurting the team. The Ravens have had to punt many times because a drive stalls after a deep attempt fails. The Ravens kept it simple at the end of the first half, using many short passes, and moved the ball well. Just keep it simple Marc.
Start of Second Half
The Ravens got the ball back to start the second half, and failed to build on the momentum they had from the first half. The Ravens used many short pass on the opening drive, and they overall worked well. A holding penalty on Jeremy Zuttah stalled the drive near midfield. Sam Koch pinned the Raiders deep in their own end, but a fair catch interference call on Kamar Aiken gave the Raiders much better field positioning. The penalties need to stop, now seven penalties worth 75 yards.
The Ravens defense continues to dominate, quickly getting Oakland off the field again. Upon getting the ball back, the ground game seems to be getting going. Terrance West put together two straight 10+ yard carries, albeit, he fumbled after picking up a first down, but the Ravens recovered. Despite the near-disaster, the Ravens continued to pound West. West, in addition to Javorius “Buck” Allen ran the ball down Oakland’s throat. A toss to West set the Ravens up inside Oakland’s five yard line. The Ravens struggled however that close to end zone, including Flacco missing a wide open Kyle Juszczyk in the end zone. But Flacco took matters into this own hands, punching it in himself on fourth and goal for his second rushing touchdown of the year. The Ravens went for two, but failed to convert, leaving them trailing.
The Ravens pass rush continues to cause problems for the Raiders. The Raiders offense has not been able to move the ball on Baltimore at all in the second half, allowing the offense the ability to get back in the game. Dean Pees to this point has done a fantastic job.
End of Third Quarter
Just as the Ravens started to build momentum, it all went away, as Oakland’s Bruce Irvin strip sacked Flacco. Oakland recovered the fumble, and took over in Ravens territory. This was purely on the offensive line as Flacco had no time at all to get rid of the ball.
The Ravens defense completely imploded on Oakland’s ensuing possession. The Ravens got the Raiders to a third-and-16, but allowed Amari Cooper to get within inches of the first down maker. On fourth down, the Raiders went for it, but an offsides call on Brandon Williams gave Oakland the first down without even running a play. Later, on another third-and-long, allowed Carr to find Crabtree in the end zone, extended Oakland’s lead.
The Ravens could not answer Oakland’s touchdown. The offensive line struggled yet again, allowing Khalil Mack to sack Joe Flacco, and falling victim to yet another holding penalty. The line just cannot block the Raiders front line.
The Ravens would get the ball back with just over six minutes left. On the first play, Flacco found Steve Smith down the field, Smith broke two tackles and brought it into the end zone for a CLUTCH 52 yard score! The man is a beast!
Where Steve Smith came up huge on offense, Lawrence Guy comes up huge on defense. Guy stripped DeAndre Washington, and Tavon Young recovered the fumble. The Ravens started with the ball inside the red zone. The Ravens have ALL of the momentum right now.
Kyle Juszczyk pounded the ball inside the Oakland five yard line, and Terrance West brought it into the end zone, giving the Ravens the LEAD! The Ravens went for two, and Joe Flacco hit Mike Wallace, who made a spectacular catch in the back of the end zone.
Oakland got the ball back with 3:36 on remaining on the clock. But the defense could not do their job. Oakland drove 66 yards in less than 90 seconds, and capped it off with Crabtree’s third touchdown of the game. Oakland regains the lead.
The Ravens got the ball back with just over two minutes left. Terrance West pushed the pile for an 18 yard gain on the first play, moving the ball to the Ravens 39 yard line. Steve Smith kept the drive alive with a big conversion on third and four. But the drive stalled from there, as Flacco threw four straight incompletions. The Ravens were not able to get inside of Tucker’s range. Oakland got the ball back, took a knee, and the Ravens fell for the first time in 2016.
End of Game: 28-27 Raiders
Second Half Notes
- The offense showed up in the second half. They proved that they do in fact have a running game. Trestman did a much better job with the play calling, and it helped the Ravens get back in the game.
- The defense overall was solid, but wasn’t always clutch, especially at the end, allowing Oakland to score with little time left in the game. Despite letting up 28 points, the defense did a really good job slowing down Oakland players not named Michael Crabtree.
- Not having Justin Forsett to pass block in this game proved huge. Flack had no time to throw, and the running backs didn't help block.
Second Half Winners
- Steve Smith Sr. - Age will never catch up with this guy. Smith finished with eight catches for 111 yards, and one clutch touchdown. He was as reliable as always, and moved the chains in some key spots, especially on the last drive, even though it stalled.
- Terrance West - West came up huge in the second half. The Ravens running game has struggled for three and a half games, but West brought it to life in. He finished with 113 yards on 21 carries, and a touchdown. He seemingly got at least five yards every time he touched the ball. With his spectacular seconds half, West made Justin Forsett almost expendable. The Ravens offense looked so much better with one back in a workhorse role. It will be interesting to see how the Ravens build on this, especially with Kenneth Dixon back next week.
- C.J. Mosley - Mosley could do no wrong in todays game, finishing with seven total tackles. He was major key for keeping the Raiders second leading rushing attack to just 62 total yards.
- Lawrence Guy/Tavon Young - Guy forced a Raiders fumble at a crucial time in the game, and Tavon Young made the recovery. Neither did much else, but huge play warrants them as winners.
Second Half Losers
- Offensive line - Boy, does this team need Ronnie Stanley, and Alex Lewis/John Urschel back. They could not block Oakland at all. They were one massive turnstile for Khalil Mack and the Oakland front. It almost seemed as if there was at least one penalty on the offensive line every drive.
- Shareece Wright/Kendrick Lewis - Wright was burned by Crabtree multiple times, most notably, when Carr hit Crabtree for the game winning score. Lewis was not there to help at all on Crabtree’s score at the end. Not a good day for either of them.
- Joe Flacco - While he made some really good throws, he also made some really bad ones. He also missed on 20 of his 52 passing attempts. That just is not good enough to win an NFL game.
The Ravens were clearly the better team in the second half, but the defense choked at the end. The Ravens have come out on top in every close game this season, which has been all of them, they were bound to come up short at some point, and this was it. The Washington Redskins will make the short trip up I-95 to face the Ravens in Week 5.