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Game Recap: Ravens vs. Eagles

Posted Sep 16, 2012

Philly outlasted Baltimore, 24-23, in a contest filled with scrums, turnovers and penalties.

Chaotic.

That's the word that Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh used to describe Sunday's 24-23 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field.

Both teams struggled with turnovers, penalties and moving the football in the second half. The officiating was also a point of contention after a game that was replete with scrums, challenges and confusion.

"It was a chaotic game out there and it didn't go our way at the end," Harbaugh said. "But I'm proud of our guys. I like the way we competed and I think we'll be just fine coming out of this game."

"I just feel like it was a chippy game," cornerback Cary Williams added. "Sometimes that's the way it is in the league. It had huge implications on the season."

The Eagles got their second straight win after quarterback Michael Vick led them on a 10-play, 80-yard scoring drive late in the fourth quarter. His 1-yard touchdown run with just under two minutes gave the Eagles the one-point lead that they would hold for the victory. A last-minute Ravens comeback attempt in the fourth quarter came up short when quarterback Joe Flacco and Ray Rice couldn't connect on a fourth-down play.

Vick finished the day 23-of-32 for 371 yards, with one touchdown and two interceptions. Tight end Brent Celek was his top target, finishing with eight catches for 157 yards.

"Michael Vick was the difference," cornerback Lardarius Webb said.  "He was able to extend some plays and I thought he was the difference."

While Vick shined in clutch time, both teams had their share of mistakes.

Flacco turned the ball over twice – one interception and one fumble – and the Eagles had four turnovers of their own, with three coming inside the red zone. The two teams combined for 13 penalties for 103 yards. There were five unsportsmanlike conduct calls for pushing and shoving that came after plays had ended.

"You just want to play well and sometimes emotions get the best of you and we need to do a better job of keeping our emotions intact and just making smarter plays," Williams said.

The most critical penalty for the Ravens came in the fourth quarter when a touchdown was called back after wide receiver Jacoby Jones was flagged for offensive pass interference. The score would have given the Ravens a two-score lead.

The Ravens disputed the call after the game.

"I think those guys were playing like that all game and there was a lot of holding and grabbing out there, and for them to make that call – I might sound like a little bit like a baby here – for them to make that call was a little crazy," Flacco said.

The Eagles then benefited from a crucial call on their final drive, as the officials initially ruled that Vick fumbled on third down and the Ravens recovered, but they overturned it and Vick scored on the next play.

Linebacker Ray Lewis couldn't believe the call.

"For the ball to be coming out the way it was coming out, how can you overturn that?" Lewis said. "You have to have certain type of evidence to overturn that. You can't overturn that because someone tried to push that ball."

More than the officiating, the biggest problem for the Ravens was the second-half struggles by the offense.  After an impressive showing in the season opener, the offense had trouble moving the ball and could only muster six points in a sloppy second half.

Flacco had an opportunity to lead the Ravens on a fourth-quarter scoring drive, but his comeback attempt fell short when the Eagles forced an incomplete pass attempt on fourth down. Flacco finished the game 22-of-42 for 232 yards, with one touchdown and one interception. Only 82 passing yards came in the second half. Rice finished with 16 carries for 99 yards.

"In the second half they did a good job of not allowing us to get in a rhythm, forcing us to punt the ball, and we didn't do a good job combating it," Flacco said.

The silver lining for the Ravens was undrafted rookie kicker Justin Tucker. He drilled kicks of 56, 51 and 48 yards, all at critical points of the game.

The Eagles got on the board first, when McCoy scored on a 1-yard touchdown plunge that was set up by Flacco's fumble on the Ravens' 15-yard line. McCoy's touchdown capped off a six-play, 15-yard drive by the Eagles.

The Ravens bounced right back, as Flacco led a seven-play, 58-yard scoring drive. Fullback Vonta Leach scored on a 5-yard run, which tied the score 7-7.

Baltimore took the lead in the second quarter when Flacco found wide receiver Jacoby Jones on a 21-yard touchdown strike. The touchdown came on a third-down pass down the sidelines, with Jones beating cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha to cap off a four-play, 70-yard drive.

The Ravens extended their lead to 17-7 just before halftime when Tucker drilled a 56-yard field goal. The kick tied a Ravens' franchise-record for the longest field goal set by Wade Richey in 2003.  

The Ravens let the Eagles get back in the game in the second half.

"When you've got somebody down, put them away," Lewis said. "Don't leave a team around."

In the second half, Flacco threw an interception on the Ravens' opening drive, which gave the Eagles great starting field position. The Eagles capitalized when Vick found wide receiver Jeremy Maclin for a 23-yard touchdown to make the score 17-14. Maclin was wide open on the play as cornerback Cary Williams came up in coverage thinking he had safety help, which left Maclin all alone in the end zone.

"It was a blown coverage," Williams said. "Just eyes weren't in the right place and things happen like that."

The Eagles then tied the game at 17-17 when Alex Henery made a 23-yard field goal in the third quarter.

Baltimore's offense struggled to get into a rhythm in the second half, and the first four series went interception, punt, punt and punt.

On their fifth try of the second half, the offense finally moved the ball, with the help of some Eagles penalties. Flacco hit Torrey Smith for a 40-yard gain down the sidelines and the Eagles were then flagged for illegal contact twice and roughing the passer. The series stalled, however, and Tucker then hit a 51-yard field goal to give them a 20-17 lead.

Tucker then added a 48-yard field goal on the next drive to give the Ravens a six-point lead.

But the lead was short lived, as Vick led the Eagles on the 80-play drive to seal the game and hand the Ravens the first loss of the season.

The loss drops the Ravens to 1-1 with a key game coming next week as the New England Patriots visit Baltimore in a re-match after the AFC championship game last season.

"They found a way and we didn't," Williams said. "We just didn't come through when we needed it."

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