Ravens hang tough but Cow­boys prove too much in loss

Cecil Whig - - & - WHIG STAFF RE­PORT

For much of the first half Sunday, the Bal­ti­more Ravens’ top-ranked de­fense hung tough against the NFL’s third- ranked of­fense.

But a pair of sec­ond­half touch­downs and a late field goal proved too much for the Ravens to over­come as they fell to the host Dal­las Cow­boys 27-17 at AT&T Sta­dium.

With the loss, Bal­ti­more (5-5) falls into a tie with the Pitts­burgh Steel­ers for a share of first place in the AFC North, while Dal­las (91) main­tain the top record in the NFL.

Af­ter forc­ing a punt near mid­field to be­gin the third quar­ter, the Cow­boys of­fense pro­ceeded to march 92 yards in al­most six min­utes, break­ing a 10-10 tie when rookie quar­ter­back Dak Prescott con­nected with Dez Bryant for a 4-yard touch­down catch.

The Ravens of­fense then punted the ball away again, and Dal­las em­barked on another ex­tended scor­ing drive that spanned the end of the third quar­ter and the be­gin­ning of the fourth, con­clud­ing with a 13-yard touch­down pass from Prescott to Bryant.

The Dal­las quar­ter­back fin­ished 27-of-36 pass­ing for 301 yards and three touch­downs.

Bal­ti­more bat­tled back to within a score on the en­su­ing pos­ses­sion when quar­ter­back Joe Flacco di­rected the Ravens on a 75-yard scor­ing drive. The quar­ter­back com­pleted four passes, in­clud­ing three to Steve Smith Sr., who hauled in a 5-yard touch­down throw to move the score to 24-17 with just over 8 min­utes re­main­ing.

But the Cow­boys leaned on the legs of rookie run­ning back Ezekiel El­liott (25 car­ries for 97 yards) to eat up most of the re­main­ing clock, be­fore kicker Dan Bai­ley con­verted a 21-yard field goal to seal the win.

El­liott, who en­tered the con­test as the league’s lead­ing rusher, passed Tony Dorsett on Sunday to set the Cow­boys’ rookie record for rush­ing yards in a sea­son. He now has 1,102 rush­ing yards this year.

Bal­ti­more opened the scor­ing with 5 min­utes re­main­ing in the first quar­ter af­ter it drove 90 yards on the strength of four long rush­ing plays. Ken­neth Dixon be­gan the drive with a 14-yard drive and later added a 20-yard scam­per to move the team to the Dal­las 34yard line. Run­ning back Ter­rance West then gal­loped for 16 yards be­fore find­ing the end zone up the mid­dle on an 18-yard scor­ing rush.

Prescott tied the game mid­way through the sec­ond frame with a 3-yard touch­down pass to Cole Beasley. Ravens kicker Justin Tucker and Bai­ley then traded field goals to make the score 10-10 en­ter­ing the break.

Smith (eight catches for 99 yards and a touch­down) recorded his 1,000 reception of his ca­reer when he made a 22-yard catch in the third quar­ter.

Flacco fin­ished 23-of-35 pass­ing for 269 yards and one touch­down, while Mike Wal­lace added five catches for 62 yards for the Ravens, who re­ceived 42 yards rush­ing on eight car­ries from West and 40 yards rush­ing on six car­ries from Dixon.

STEVE NURENBERG/FORT WORTH STAR-TELE­GRAM/TNS

Bal­ti­more Ravens quar­ter­back Joe Flacco is sacked by Dal­las Cow­boys de­fen­sive tackle Ty­rone Craw­ford dur­ing the fourth quar­ter on Sunday,at AT&T Sta­dium in Arlington, Texas.

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