Ravens let early lead slip, fall to Giants
— The Baltimore Ravens were handed an unexpected gift with a little more than two minutes to play.
On thirdand-4, quarterback Joe Flacco targeted wide receiver Breshad Perriman. New York Giants cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie appeared to break
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J.
up the pass cleanly, but was called for a questionable defensive pass interference. The result was a 30-yard penalty that gave the Ravens a firstand-goal at the Giants 8-yard line.
Running back Terrance West punched in a 2-yard touchdown two plays later and Baltimore took a three-point lead with 2:09 left, but the Ravens – on the verge of snapping a two-game skid – surrendered yet another deep pass from Giants quarterback Eli Manning to star receiver Odell Beckham Jr. The 66-yard touchdown delivered Baltimore a 27-23 defeat Sunday at MetLife Stadium.
“Odell made some amazing plays out there, you have to credit him,” Ravens safety Eric Weddle said. “We just didn’t get it done.”
Manning torched the Ravens’ depleted secondary for 403 yards and three touchdowns. Beckham hauled in two of those scores and recorded a career-high 222 yards receiving. The duo hooked up for a 75-yard touchdown strike with 2:10 remaining in the first quarter, on the first play of a New York possession that began after a Justin Tucker field goal had given the Ravens (3-3) a 13-10 lead.
On Baltimore’s first offensive play following Beckham’s 75-yard score, Flacco connected deep to wide re- ceiver Mike Wallace for a 70-yard gain. A face-mask penalty on the tackle gave the Ravens a first-andgoal from the 3-yard line. After three unsuccessful tries to punch it in end zone, West was brought down for a loss of a yard on fourth down.
“We have to get in there,” Flacco said. “That was a big four downs, and for us not to get in the end zone from the 2-yard line, or whatever it was, that was really tough.”
The teams exchanged field goals over the first 10 minutes of the final quarter, leaving the Giants with a
20- 16 advantage before the pass interference set up West’s touchdown.
West carried 23 times for 87 yards and a pair of touchdowns. His first score put Baltimore ahead 10- 0 less than nine minutes into the contest. The Ravens received the opening kickoff and drove 70 yards, but settled for the first of three Tucker field goals after not being able to capitalize on a first- and- goal situation.
New York then turned the ball over on its first offensive play of the afternoon, as Weddle stripped Beckham and linebacker Zach Orr recovered at the Giants 30- yard line. West scored from a yard out.
Baltimore punted on its next four possessions to end the half.
“We didn’t extend the lead there like we needed to,” Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said. “We put ourselves behind the eight- ball too often. That’s where we should have extended the lead, real simple. We had a chance to do that and we didn’t do it.”
Harbaugh also pointed to surrendering a field goal just before the half and allowing 72-yard touchdown drive to begin the third quarter as turning points.
“Around halftime, I think they scored 10 points,” he said. “That’s on us defensively.”
Flacco completed 26 of 48 pass attempts for 307 yards. Baltimore’s defense held the Giants to just 38 yards rushing for the game and intercepted Manning twice (Tavon Young and Will Davis), but were hurt by the big play. The Ravens committed no turnovers, but were penalized for 111 yards.
“Those penalties have killed us in our three- game losing streak,” Weddle said. “Coach preaches everyday, ‘ We don’t play dumb football.’ We talk about it. We play smart, tough, Ravens football. When we don’t do those things, look what happens – you kill drives, you take points off the board. When you’re in a close game like this, those are the little things that compound and put you in a situation and instead of taking a knee to win the game, you’re in a situation where there’s a Hail Mary toss up and you’re trying to win that way. Those are the things that kill you. It adds up at the end of the game.”
The Ravens return to MetLife Stadium again on Sunday to face the New York Jets in hopes of snapping the three- game skid.
Follow Sean Grogan on Twitter: @ Sean_ CecilWhig