Post-game recap of the Week 5 matchup between the Oakland Raiders and the Baltimore Ravens.
Losing consecutive games to fall to 2-2 on the season, the Oakland Raiders were badly needing to end their free fall with a win over the Baltimore Ravens. But with Derek Carr out due to a transverse process fracture in his back, that task became that much harder.
Oakland won the coin toss for the fifth time in five games, and Jack Del Rio elected to defer for the second game in a row. On the first play of the game for the Ravens offense, Joe Flacco found Mike Wallace open downfield for a 52-yard completion. With Sean Smith in coverage, this was an obvious mismatch that was exploited to put the Ravens on Oakland’s 23-yard line just 24 seconds into the game. A few plays later, Vince Mayle punched it in for a 7-0 lead.
With EJ Manuel under center, it would be imperative for the Raiders to answer with points of their own. But on the third play of the drive, exactly the opposite happened. Jared Cook fumbled shortly after the catch, and it was picked up and ran back 47 yards by Jimmy Smith for a touchdown. 14-0, Baltimore.
Despite the deficit, Todd Downing and the offense remained intent on establishing the run. Marshawn Lynch looked great to start the game, running with the same authority and elusiveness shown the first two weeks. A healthy dose of Lynch and Jalen Richard had the chains moving, and a 17-yard completion to Michael Crabtree put the offense at Baltimore’s 12-yard line. But the next three players would go nowhere, and Oakland had to settle for a field goal. 14-3 Ravens, as Tavecchio remained perfect on the year.
The Raiders defense would then allow their second 75-yard drive of the day. The first one was 5 plays for 1:52, while this one was 15 plays for 8:10. The Ravens picked up five first downs on the drive, with three of them coming on 3rd down. Baltimore went up 21-3 after punching it in from inside the 1-yard line.
Trailing by 18, the Oakland offense finally hit pay dirt. After moving to the Baltimore 41, Manuel found Crabtree open after a play-action in which he had to escape pressure and make a throw on the run. EJ delivered a dime to Crabtree in the end zone.
EJ Manuel 41-yard play-action bomb to Crabtree. Had to escape pressure, threw a dime on the run. pic.twitter.com/HgXmz4NFVR
— Only 1 Nation (@Only1Nation_) October 8, 2017
The last action of the first half was another long drive by the Ravens, this time for 70 yards. But the defense managed to hold on this one, limiting Baltimore to a field goal. The Raiders trailed 24-10 going into halftime.
Ravens were averaging 269.8 yards and 15 points per game prior to today, both ranked 30th.
They have 241 yards and 24 points at halftime.
— Nick Hjeltness (@NickHjeltness) October 8, 2017
With an opportunity to bring the game to within 7 points to start the second half, the Raiders offense instead had a run for negative 1 yard and two incomplete passes for a three and out. All together, each team started the half with two drives where they both would punt.
About halfway through the quarter, the offense breathed new life into the game. 12 plays and 65 yards put Oakland into the end zone, via a 3-yard run by Marshawn. EJ Manuel was a gamer on the drive, extending plays and keeping the drive alive with a series of throws and one scramble. Lynch ran over C.J. Mosely en route to the end zone. 24-17 Baltimore, but it felt like a game again.
If the defense could just get a stop, Oakland would have a chance to tie the game up.
The Ravens drove 72 yards, eating up 5:36 of clock along the way. They didn’t score a touchdown but a field goal put Baltimore back up by 10 points.
Oakland wouldn’t score again, while Baltimore would add one more field goal to their final total, making it 30-17.
One particular decision will be scrutinized, and that was Jack Del Rio opting to punt instead of going for it on 4th down late in the game. On 4th & 3 from the Baltimore 44, with 8:50 to go and down by 10, JDR called for the punt. The Ravens would go on to drain 6:26 of game time, essentially ending the game.
The loss makes it three in a row for the Silver and Black, and they fall to 2-3 on the season. 10 wins is usually the mark to make the playoffs, and Oakland will have to find a way to go 8-3 to reach that number. Tough sledding ahead.
Manuel looked decent on the field, but his stat line says otherwise. 13 for 26 for 159 yards and 1 touchdown was his final line, plus 2 scrambles for 15 yards.
The run game totaled 25 carries for 108 yards, good for an average of 4.3 yards per carry. Lynch had 12 carries for 43 yards and Jalen had 37 yards on 9 carries.
Crabtree was the only effective pass-catcher the offense had, hauling in 6 for 82 yards and a touchdown. The struggles of Amari Cooper continue in a big way, as he only caught 1 pass for 8 yards on two targets.
On defense, Oakland had zero sacks and zero turnovers. Against an offense that was ranked 30th coming into this matchup, it was an awful performance for this group. Flacco was 19 of 26 for 222 yards, and the Baltimore run game accrued 143 yards on 37 carries.
For some reason, Sean Smith was on Mike Wallace for much of the game, and the one-dimensional receiver picked up 133 yards on just 3 catches. Jeremy Maclin added 43 yards on 6 catches.
In total, the defense allowed 365 yards to an offense that was previously averaging nearly 100 yards less than that per game. Baltimore was 7 of 14 on third down conversions.
Up next for the Raiders is a home game against the Chargers. It already will be difficult to make the playoffs from here, but a loss next Sunday will all but ensure that doesn’t happen. It’s a must-win game.