The Baltimore Ravens gave up the lead late in a game for the third time in a row to lose to the Bengals 28-24 Sunday. The last touchdown came by way of a 7 yard touchdown pass from Andy Dalton to A.J. Green with 2:16 left in the game. It was the second lead that the Ravens gave up to the Bengals in the fourth quarter.
The momentum swings in the fourth quarter were constant. Elvis Dumervil registered a sack-fumble that C.J. Mosley took 41 yards for a touchdown. M&T Bank Stadium was rocking until Dalton and Green hooked up on an 80 yard touchdown. Steve Smith Sr. scored his second touchdown of the day on the Ravens’ next series but it wasn’t enough in the end.
The Bengals scored 14 points in the fourth quarter, which is a testament to the Ravens’ inability to close out games. It is something that really frustrates head coach John Harbaugh. “It’s very disappointing. We had the lead twice in the fourth quarter and couldn’t hold onto it,” Harbaugh said. “You have the lead in the fourth quarter; you have to play the kind of defense that gets them stopped. We had the sack-fumble, picked it up, and ran it in for a touchdown. You have to come out and stop them again if you want to win.”
Smith Sr. posted a record day for the Ravens. His 13 receptions tied Priest Holmes for the most ever by a Ravens receiver. He also had 186 receiving yards, which is the third most by any Ravens player in a single game.
Unfortunately for the Ravens, Smith’s numbers weren’t the most outstanding numbers by a wide receiver on the day. Green set a career high with 221 yards receiving. Jimmy Smith traveled with Green for the most part, but the 80 yard touchdown came with Green in the slot against cover three. Kendrick Lewis didn’t get a jam on Green and the smooth receiver made him pay for it. Green broke a tackle and found his way to the end zone.
Explosive plays like Green’s touchdown have hurt the team in the last two games. This was supposed to be reduced with the signing of Kendrick Lewis. Lewis explained what happened on Green’s long touchdown. “We were in the fire zone. There was a miscommunication back there and you saw what happened.”
Jimmy Smith took the loss very hard. He sat at his locker, staring into it in disbelief. Smith told the media that he was too emotional to talk. He sat and talked with Steve Smith Sr. for a long time before he went back to his locker.
During training camp, Smith said that he wanted to prove that he is one of the better corners in the NFL. Although Green had a great game, he didn’t hesitate to say that Jimmy Smith is one of the best corners in the league. Green cited Smith’s interception and said that he knew Smith was going to make some plays.
The Ravens started the game off very poorly on offense. They were balanced with 12 rushing attempts as well as 12 passing attempts. Things changed drastically in the second half. The Ravens only ran the ball five more times but ended up with 49 pass attempts. Justin Forsett talked about how patience is something that needs to be present on every play as well as the scheme overall.
Forsett said that the team has to keep on “chopping wood” and that the big plays will come. “Patience has been the key for me. You just have to keep working. When it clicks, we will hit it and get back to be that explosive running team that we can be.”
Marshall Yanda wasn’t as understanding when it came to not running the ball. “We need to run the ball better,” Yanda said. “I feel like we haven’t got going yet, and we need to just figure it out. It needs to start now.”
The defense has to get better in the fourth quarter. Lardarius Webb pointed to the fact that they couldn’t get off the field on third downs as a reason for giving up the leads. Lewis felt that it’s on the secondary. “As a secondary and a defense, we need to know how to put the fire out,” Lewis said. “How to stop people when the game is on the line, especially at home.”
Dumervil was correct when he said that the energy and effort was there, but it was execution that doomed the Ravens in the end. The Ravens will get an opportunity to get the bad taste out of their mouth quickly. They have a short week because they will travel to Pittsburgh to take on a Steelers team that is without quarterback Ben Roethlisbeger.