RG3down

Ravens lose to resilient Redskins in OT, 31-28…

Incredible finish. Unbelievable middle. Predictable beginning.

What a game.

I knew the Redskins would catch the Ravens' run defense a bit out of time when the game began.  A lot of speed and turf issues to adjust to by the Ravens…

But to Baltimore's credit, the defense did adjust…and RG III's offense was eventually reduced to just average…

It didn't help that the Ravens were forced to play without their franchise linebacker Terrell Suggs (biceps)… But the "D" held together until the gods of football decided it was the Redskins' time to shine.

 

 

 

 

When Joe Flacco hit Dennis Pitta with this dagger route, I thought the game would be dominated by the Ravens….

 

 

 


And when RG III went down after a clean hit by Haloti Ngata in the 4th, I really thought the game was over in favor of the Ravens..

With the Washington Redskins trailing the Baltimore Ravens by eight late in regulation, Robert Griffin III sprained his right knee at the end of a 13-yard scramble. He left for one play, returned for four but was literally hopping around on the field. Eventually, he fell to the turf and could no longer continue.

Fellow rookie Kirk Cousins stepped in and finished RG3's work, hitting Pierre Garcon for an 11-yard touchdown pass with 29 seconds remaining and then running in the 2-point conversion. Yet another rookie, Richard Crawford, returned a punt 64 yards in overtime to set up Kai Forbath's 34-yard field goal to give Washington a 31-28 victory.

The Redskins (7-6) won their fourth straight game, putting more pressure on the New York Giants in the race for the NFC East title. The Ravens (9-4) missed an opportunity to clinch an AFC playoff berth and ended a 15-game winning streak following a loss, dropping back-to-back games for the first time since 2009.

Griffin completed 15 of 26 passes for 246 yards with one touchdown and ran seven times for 34 yards. Cousins was a clutch 2 for 2 — back-to-back to Leonard Hankerson for 15 yards and 11 yards to Garcon for the score after Griffin left the second time.

The Ravens got the ball to start overtime but went three-and-out. Crawford, getting a chance to handle punts for the first time after a disappointing set of games from Brandon Banks, had the big return to Baltimore's 24-yard line, putting the Redskins easily within the range of Forbath, who hasn't missed in 14 attempts in his debut NFL season.

Another major Redskins rookie contributor was Alfred Morris, who ran for 122 yards on 23 carries with a touchdown.

Joe Flacco completed 16 of 21 passes for 182 yards for the Ravens, who took a 28-20 lead on Ray Rice's 7-yard touchdown run with 4:47 to play.

Rice finished with 121 yards on 20 carries, and third-round pick Pierce had a season-high 53 yards. Anquan Boldin, who passed the 10,000-yard receiving mark, caught two touchdown passes and set up a third with a 28-yard catch-and-tiptoe-run down the sideline.

Griffin was coming off quite a week — including a Monday night win over the Giants and a donation of his jersey and cleats to the Hall of Fame for breaking the NFL single-season record for rushing yards by a rookie quarterback — but both he and Flacco struggled after halftime as both defenses buckled down after a breakneck first half.

After 15 minutes of play, Washington already had 186 yards — the most by any NFL team in the first quarter this season and the most by the franchise since 1997. The Ravens led 21-14 at halftime, but a pair of turnovers by Flacco were converted into field goals to pull the Redskins within one.

Team Stat Comparison

 
BAL
 
WSH
 
1st Downs 18 22
Passing 1st downs
7 13
Rushing 1st downs
9 7
1st downs from Penalties
2 2
3rd down efficiency
6-12 4-11
4th down efficiency
0-0 0-0
Total Plays 58 66
Total Yards 359 420
Yards per play 6.2 6.4
Total Drives 13 12
Passing 173 248
Comp – Att
16-21 17-28
Yards per pass
8.2 8.9
Interceptions thrown
1 0
Sacks – Yards Lost
2-9 3-24
Rushing 186 172
Rushing Attempts
35 35
Yards per rush
5.3 4.9
Red Zone (Made-Att) 3-4 3-4
Penalties 8-56 8-70
Turnovers 2 1
Fumbles lost
1 1
Interceptions thrown
1 0
Defensive / Special Teams TDs 0 0
Possession 29:22 34:01

Just a great win for the Redskins, give them credit. Sure, the Ravens had seized momentum in the 4th and should have closed the deal. Maybe David Reed doesn't muff a fumble recovery for the Ravens late in the 4th, maybe Flacco doesn't try to elude a sack and holds on to the ball instead of winging it into collision traffic …hard to say what that fine line is between conservative and winning football.

And for the first time in a long while, some questionable coaching decisions by John Harbaugh, such as not going for two points on the conversion after the Ravens went up 27-20 late in the 4th…

But these criticisms are all hindsight and circumstantial. Bottom line is the Ravens are still 9-4, Pittsburgh lost to San Diego, and the Bengals lost to Dallas.  It was a tough day all around for the AFC North. Advantage for the division title still resides in Baltimore.

Yes, the Ravens would have loved to win this game against the Redskins. But the knowledge they gain from this loss will probably make them stronger down the stretch. They are still 9-4, and will be one week healthier going into the final three regular season games. Despite having to face Denver, the Giants, and the Bengals in successive weeks, I like their chances. Somehow the knowledge of having faced RG III and knowing that they should have beaten him will benefit the Ravens going down the stretch.

 

Thomas Jackson

About Thomas Jackson

Jax Sports Media has been reporting on NFL teams in the mid-Atlantic region since 2006. Thomas Jackson is its senior writer. Tom started covering the Philadelphia Eagles for the MVN Network in 2007. In 2009 he joined the Bloguin Network. He now also covers the Baltimore Ravens.

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