The first loss of the season always stings, but if you learn from it, it can also be something to build off of.
Despite being defeated at home, the Ravens have plenty of reason to hold their heads high. Somebody other than Joe Flacco got a rushing touchdown. Somebody other than Mike Wallace scored through the air. And Flacco didn’t turn throw an interception.
The Ravens’ defense played better than the score indicated as they forced Oakland to go three-and-out on multiple occasions, and even forced a fumble that resulted in points in the fourth quarter.
Where Baltimore’s defense went wrong was in the red zone, where Raiders quarterback Derek Carr threw three touchdowns, and two of those scores went to wide receiver Michael Crabtree.
The Ravens’ offense may have only allowed two sacks, but that’s because Flacco was able to evade Oakland defenders for the majority of the day. The absence of offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley was felt, as Baltimore’s left side of the line turned into a revolving door for Raiders pass rushers, including Khalil Mack, who was able to get his first sack of the season. Baltimore better hope Stanley returns soon.
With Oakland up 21-12 in the fourth quarter, it looked like the Ravens were done for. Then, Steve Smith, Sr. knifed through the Raiders’ secondary en route to a 52-yard touchdown, which cut the Raiders’ lead to two points.
Terrance West became the first Ravens running back since Week 16 of 2015 to score a rushing touchdown, which temporarily gave the Ravens a 27-21 lead following a successful two-point conversion. West also broke the 100-yard barrier by rushing for 113 yards.
Other than the strip-sack fumble, Joe Flacco actually performed well today, completing 32 passes for 298 yards with two total touchdowns.
Baltimore’s defense failed to record a sack or an interception today despite the stops they were able to get on third down.
The most unfortunate thing about today’s loss is potential tiebreakers down the road. If the Ravens and Raiders are fighting for a playoff spot near the end of the season, which isn’t out of the question, Oakland will have the head-to-head tiebreaker over Baltimore, which could potentially knock the Ravens out of postseason contention.
Baltimore needs to learn from this loss today and move on from it.
The Ravens will take on the Redskins next week for the “Battle of the Beltway” on Sunday, Oct. 9.