Ravens de­fense crum­bles in the crunch

6-play, 66-yard TD drive by Raiders late in the fourth quar­ter erases 6-point lead

Baltimore Sun - - RAVENS INSIDER - By Ed­ward Lee ed­ward.lee@balt­sun.com twit­ter.com/Ed­wardLeeSun ed­ward.lee@balt­sun.com twit­ter.com/Ed­wardLeeSun

Every de­fense in the NFL wants an op­por­tu­nity to make a stand and ce­ment a vic­tory.

But with a six-point ad­van­tage late in the fourth quar­ter of Sun­day’s game against the Oak­land Raiders at M&T Bank Sta­dium, the Ravens de­fense wilted. Oak­land needed just six plays to march 66 yards in 1:24, a se­ries capped by a 23-yard touch­down pass from quar­ter­back Derek Carr to wide re­ceiver Michael Crab­tree.

In a clas­sic matchup of strength ver­sus strength — the No. 2 de­fense in the league against the No. 2 of­fense — the Ravens folded late and lost, 28-27.

“On de­fense, you want to be in a po­si­tion to close it out,” out­side line­backer Elvis Dumervil said. “But we didn’t.”

Oak­land’s win­ning drive got off to a fa­vor­able start thanks to a taunt­ing penalty on wide re­ceiver Mike Wal­lace for spik­ing the ball in the di­rec­tion of a Raiders player af­ter con­vert­ing a 2-point at­tempt that gave the Ravens a 27-21 ad­van­tage with 3:36 left in the game.

Oak­land gained first downs on its first two plays, with Carr find­ing Crab­tree for catches of 15 and 11 yards. Af­ter an in­com­ple­tion, Carr con­nected with tight end Clive Wal­ford for a 17-yard com­ple­tion to the Ravens 23-yard line.

On the en­su­ing play, safeties Eric Wed­dle and Lar­dar­ius Webb broke up a po­ten­tial touch­down pass from Carr to Wal­ford. Webb and Wal­ford were in­jured on the play and went to the side­line.

Ken­drick Lewis filled in for Webb, and Carr and Crab­tree took ad­van­tage. Crab­tree ran sev­eral yards up­field and feinted to his right. When cor­ner­back Sha­reece Wright took the bait, Crab­tree beat Lewis to the end zone, caught the ball, planted his right foot in­bounds and dragged his left toe to com­plete the score.

Carr said he no­ticed that the Ravens had four de­fend­ers lined up deep to pre­vent a long com­ple­tion for a touch­down.

“That drive meant so much to us,” he said. “Bal­ti­more has had one of the best de­fenses in the NFL for, it seems, for­ever.”

Said Crab­tree: “The cor­ners were play­ing me out­side. I made up my mind I was go­ing to ex­e­cute, and I wasn’t go­ing to stop run­ning.”

Ravens cor­ner­back Jimmy Smith said the sec­ondary failed to stick to the de­fen­sive strat­egy on that se­ries.

“We’ve got to stay deep,” he said. “On the Raiders re­ceiver Michael Crab­tree beats the Ravens’ Ken­drick Lewis for a 23-yard game-win­ning touch­down in the fourth quar­ter. “That drive meant so much to us,” said Raiders quar­ter­back Derek Carr. “Bal­ti­more has had one of the best de­fenses in the NFL for, it seems, for­ever.” touch­down, we were in the right cov­er­age. We’ve got to stay deep on that. That was on us as a de­fense.”

Carr and Crab­tree have been es­pe­cially op­por­tunis­tic against the Ravens. In the past two meet­ings, they have con­nected for 16 catches for 199 yards and four scores.

The Raiders took ad­van­tage of the Ravens’ per­son­nel. Wright has sur­ren­dered four touch­downs in his past two starts, and Lewis was in the game be­cause of an in­jury to Webb.

But Webb dis­missed the no­tion that his ab­sence and Lewis’ in­ser­tion opened the door for the touch­down.

“It’s not go­ing to im­pact any­thing,” said Webb, who passed the con­cus­sion pro­to­col af­ter the game. “We’ve got Ken­drick Lewis com­ing in, and he’s not any drop-off with him and Wed­dle. I didn’t get to see the last play. I just heard about the last play. So I re­ally don’t know ex­actly what hap­pened be­cause I didn’t get to see it. But it’s no drop-off.”

An­other fac­tor was Oak­land’s de­ci­sion to go no-hud­dle four times on those six plays, in­clud­ing be­fore the game-win­ning score. Its of­fense had played quickly in the sec­ond quar­ter, too. Ravens out­side line­backer Al­bert McClel­lan ac­knowl­edged that the no-hud­dle of­fense pre­vented the de­fense from get­ting the right group­ing on the field.

“That kind of caught us off guard a lit­tle bit, as far as us putting the right per­son­nel out there in the sit­u­a­tions we wanted,” he said. “It kind of caught us off guard a lit­tle bit, but we’ve still got to over­come it.”

The de­fense now must wait a week be­fore it can try to redeem it­self against the Wash­ing­ton Red­skins at M&T Bank Sta­dium. In­side line­backer Zachary Orr said the play­ers will take a crit­i­cal look at them­selves.

“Guys are al­ways go­ing to be up­set, and that’s a good thing, be­cause guys don’t like to lose,” Orr said. “That’s what you want to see [in] ev­ery­body — guys that hate to lose, and we’ve got a bunch of guys on the team that hate to lose. So there’s prob­a­bly go­ing to be some guys that are re­ally up­set in the meet­ing room once we watch the film and break it down.” Oak­land and al­lowed de­fen­sive end Khalil Mack to hit quar­ter­back Joe Flacco twice.

“It wasn’t very good, es­pe­cially the first half,” he said. “I didn’t play well enough to help the team win. Ob­vi­ously, it’s good com­pe­ti­tion, but this is the NFL. I’m go­ing to go back and look at film and see what I need to fix and work like crazy in prac­tice to fix it.”

Whether Hurst will line up at left tackle against the Wash­ing­ton Red­skins on Sun­day will de­pend on Stan­ley’s sta­tus. The sixth over­all pick has been both­ered by a foot in­jury over the past two weeks, but he played in the team’s win against the Jack­sonville Jaguars on Sept. 25 be­fore sit­ting out against the Raiders.

Stan­ley de­clined to say how close he was to play­ing against Oak­land. Asked whether the in­jury could be a long-term con­cern, he replied: “I don’t think so. Coach Har­baugh knows more about it than I do.” Dumervil quiet in 2016 de­but: Out­side line­backer Elvis Dumervil’s de­but in 2016 did not un­fold as he would have liked.

Dumervil, who had sat out the first three games be­cause of a foot prob­lem re­lated to off­sea­son surgery, was ac­tive for the first time and made his first ap­pear­ance on the third play of the game. But aside from a pres­sure or two, he was not much of a fac­tor. He had no sacks or tack­les.

“I’ve got a long way to go,” said Dumervil, who was on the field on pass­ing downs; Al­bert McClel­lan made his fourth con­sec­u­tive start at the strong-side line­backer spot. “I felt rusty, but I’m go­ing to keep work­ing, and we’ll get it go­ing.” End zone: The Raiders im­proved to 2-2 in games in the Eastern time zone in two sea­sons un­der coach Jack Del Rio, and the for­mer Ravens lineback­ers coach made it known that he is tired of hear­ing about the East Coast trou­bles of West Coast teams. “First of all, at some point, we [should] re­ally stop talk­ing about the time zone,” Del Rio said. “Good foot­ball teams find a way to win wher­ever they are. There are some things you have to do as a team, and we’ve em­braced that.” … Safeties Eric Wed­dle and Lar­dar­ius Webb were checked for con­cus­sions in the fourth quar­ter but were cleared. Tight end Maxx Wil­liams left the game in the sec­ond quar­ter with a knee in­jury and did not re­turn. … In ad­di­tion to Dumervil, run­ning back Buck Allen, cor­ner­back Jer­raud Pow­ers and guard John Urschel (shoul­der) were ac­tive for the first time this sea­son. … The Ravens de­ac­ti­vated cor­ner­backs Shel­don Price (thigh) and Will Davis, rookie run­ning back Ken­neth Dixon (knee), de­fen­sive tackle Wille Henry and rookie out­side line­backer Matthew Judon. … Cor­ner­back Jimmy Smith, kicker Justin Tucker, wide re­ceiver Mike Wal­lace and Wed­dle rep­re­sented the Ravens for the coin toss.

KEN­NETH K. LAM/BAL­TI­MORE SUN

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