OAKLAND — The Ravens entered Sunday’s game against Oakland with a two game losing streak and a lot of drama. Joe Flacco was slammed by fans and media alike all week after turning in another sub-par performance and the defense appeared to have lost their edge.
Despite all of this, the Ravens looked like a brand new team when they stepped on the field in Oakland. Even with a depleted line, Flacco and company put up 23 points of offense and jumped on a struggling Raiders team. The Ravens ended up winning 30-17, putting their season back on track.
In desperate need of a hot start, the Ravens offense came out of the gates with a quick touchdown drive. Joe Flacco connected with Mike Wallace for a 52-yard completion on the very first play from scrimmage. Third year tight end Vince Mayle capped off the drive with a nice end-around touchdown run.
The only wrinkle in the Ravens’ hot start was Terrance West going down with an injury. After busting a 13-yard run on a draw play, West was tackled and remained on the ground in pain. He would end up being carted off and ruled out for the remainder of the game.
The defense also got off to a great start. On the third play of Oakland’s first drive, Patrick Onwuasor forced Jared Cook to fumble and Jimmy Smith was right there to scoop it up and take it 47 yards the other way for a touchdown.
The Ravens maintained their lead and entered halftime up 24-10 thanks to a clock-eating touchdown drive and a field goal by Justin Tucker. By winning the time of position and turnover battle, the Ravens found more success in the first half than the past two weeks combined.
Both offenses stalled coming out of the half with a pair of three-and-outs. The Raiders put together a successful drive on their third possession of the half. Marshawn Lynch put the finishing touches on a 65-yard drive with a goal line touchdown run to cut the Baltimore lead to just seven.
With the Oakland crowd coming back to life it looked like the Ravens were in serious trouble. Flacco led his team down the field for a much needed score. The veteran QB looked like the “Joe cool” we all know and love with the game on the line.
There were two crucial third down scenarios on the drive and Flacco found the open man each time to keep the drive alive. The offense pounded their way into the red zone and had a 1st-and-goal situation, but failed to put seven on the board. Instead, they would settle for a field goal to put them back up by 10.
On the ensuing Oakland possession, the Raiders moved the ball just into Ravens territory before being shut down and forced to punt. The drive shaved an additional four minutes off the clock and put the ball back in the Ravens hands with just under nine minutes to play.
For the first time in weeks, the offensive line played a quality game and allowed Alex Collins and Javorius Allen to run downhill with ease. This was on full display in the fourth quarter when the Ravens running backs picked up 42 yards on the ground to put the game on ice. Tucker added his third field goal of the afternoon and the Ravens went on to win 30-17.
In addition to West’s injury on the first drive, the Ravens lost two more players over the course of Sunday’s win. Both Carl Davis and Matt Skura went down with leg injuries and neither one was able to return. Jimmy Smith’s health was also a big question mark. Despite having a big impact on the game with his fumble recovery, Smith was seen standing on the sideline for most of the afternoon. He only played seven snaps on defense, still dealing with an Achilles injury.
Snapping a two game losing streak looked like a long shot coming into this game, especially with all the injuries. However, the offense proved that they can get the job done even with a depleted core. A Steelers loss makes the win even sweeter as the AFC North rivals find themselves tied for the division lead once again. The Ravens will return home next weekend for a 1:00 pm matchup against the Chicago Bears.
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