Ravens let early lead slip, fall to Giants

Cecil Whig - - SPORTS - By SEAN GRO­GAN


— 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


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

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