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Thread: Ravens Killed on Third Down While Falling a Step Behind Steelers

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    Default Ravens Killed on Third Down While Falling a Step Behind Steelers

    Ravens Killed on Third Down While Falling a Step Behind Steelers.

    By Barry Barnes
    NFL Writer

    For a decade, the Baltimore Ravens' defense has struck fear around the league because they were nearly impossible to move the ball on. The Ravens' offense has lacked the playmaking capability that was needed to be productive during that period. Now with the talent surrounding their third-year quarterback Joe Flacco, the Ravens are clearly a legit Super Bowl contender.

    But to be taken seriously, their defense must get back to their dominating ways or at least be effective on stopping good teams on third down. After losing to the Atlanta Falcons on Thursday night, 26-21, can their defeat be viewed as not being very costly similar to the Pittsburgh Steelers' loss to the New Orleans Saints in Week 8?

    On third downs against the Falcons, the Ravens were torched by quarterback Matt Ryan and his receivers, especially by wide receiver Roddy White, who played with a right knee injury and was questionable heading into the contest. The Falcons completed 60 percent of their third down conversions (12 out of 20) and on that particular possession of a third-and-ten, the Ravens were flagged for a pass interference which ultimately led to the 33-yard touchdown pass from Ryan to White that sealed their victory with 20-seconds left in the contest.

    Ravens' nation may feel sour Friday morning after their hometown team lost Thursday night because of a questionable no call. On White's game-winning touchdown, he gave at least a nudge to Ravens' cornerback Josh Wilson and got wide open.

    Again on third-and-long, wide receiver Michael Jenkins caught a 24-yard pass that was borderline not controlled as he ran out of bounds. After the play was reviewed, the call on the field was confirmed as a catch by referee Ron Winter. But if this once solid defensive unit of the Ravens was as good as they once were, they would not have be in those questionable situations. Besides, if White would have caught the pass he dropped on third-and-four with 3:23 left in the game, the Ravens' fate may have been sealed earlier.

    Baltimore has lost three out of its last four road games and to be taken seriously, they must win when they are playing outside of M&T Bank Stadium. The Ravens' staple for years has been on the last drive with their defense on the field protecting the lead, it was a win. This is a fifth time in a season and a half that they gave up a lead in the fourth quarter. The Ravens offense, however, showed heart and guts after struggling for a majority of the contest and now it's the defense's turn to step up and make plays.

    The loss will not be too costly if the Steelers lose to the New England Patriots on Sunday night. But the Steelers' loss to the reigning Super Bowl champion Saints in Week 8 wasn't considered a big hit because they have the resilience of a team that has won two Super Bowls since 2006. On paper, the Ravens should easily bounce back, but late in the season with all of their divisional foes waiting to meet them in December, nothing is a given, especially if they struggle to stop good teams on third downs.

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    Default Re: Ravens Killed on Third Down While Falling a Step Behind Steelers

    FWIW, the Ravens have blown 4th qtr leads in each of their 3 losses this season....

    ... Sound familiar?
    "You only have one life, and you will not get out alive. Make the most of your time and have no regrets." - Me.

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    Default Re: Ravens Killed on Third Down While Falling a Step Behind Steelers

    I saw that Ray Lewis got hurt on the first play of the game, but I don't know if he ever got back in the game. I'm sure that hurt Ball more

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