Four down, a dozen to play and right now Raven fans are hurting. After back-to-back wins elevated expectations, a pair of three-point losses have rained on the purple party.
For the second time in six days a second-half Ravens lead turned into a frustrating loss. This time, it was a 13-10 heartbreaker to the Titans, the only 5-0 team in the NFL.
As advertised, the Ravens and Titans game was dominated by defense. The Ravens missed a chance to cash in early - in the first quarter, the Titans threw two interceptions and had five penalties, but all the Ravens could get out of it was three points. The game was tied 3-3 at the half.
The Ravens' offensive line more than held its own against Tennessee's talented front four.
Baltimore had a 132-47 yard advantage in rushing, and the Ravens didn't give up a sack.
Joe Flacco hit 12 straight passes, but at times looked like a rookie making only his fourth NFL start. Too eager to make plays, Flacco threw two picks and was saved a third on a replay challenge. He'll learn it's OK to throw it away and a punt isn't a bad thing, especially when the Ravens' defense has your back.
The biggest play in this one came with just under six minutes left. The Titans, down 10-6, were third-and-10 from their own 20 when Kerry Collins threw incomplete. Fourth down, and here comes the punt team… but not so fast, my friends! Referee Bill Carollo called a roughing the passer penalty on Terrell Suggs.
Never mind that the Titans had a false start that somehow wasn't whistled dead, Suggs' penalty should have been called "breathing on the quarterback." If the NFL home office tells us Suggs' brush deserved 15 yards, I suggest the competition committee take a hard look at changing the rule.
I'm all for protecting quarterbacks from injury, but if this play was a major rules violation, there's something terribly wrong with the rules.
That said, the Titans won the game by finishing the drive that the penalty kept alive. They went 65 yards after the penalty, with Collins hitting Alge Crumpler for the winning TD with 1:56 left in the game.
The same Ravens' defense that dominated and kept the Titans out of the end zone all day couldn't get the stop when it was most needed.
Kerry Collins, facing the Ravens for the first time since he was intercepted by them four times in Super Bowl XXXV, respects Rex Ryan's bunch. "They were a good defense then, and they're a good defense now," he said. "I'm just glad we found a way to win the game."
Welcome Back: Todd Heap and Mark Clayton each had four receptions.
Stop that Carr: Titans Chris Carr had a 49-yard kickoff return and a 33 yard punt return.
Hit and Miss: Matt Stover good from 38, wide right from 45. He's 4-of-7 this season.
Combined, the two teams the Ravens have lost to are 9-1. The Ravens' two wins have come against teams that are a combined 1-8.
Long-time and respected broadcast journalist Scott Garceau has covered Baltimore sports, including all of its pro football teams, for the last 30 years. Scott, who was the radio voice of Ravens football for the team's first 10 seasons (1996-2005), is a seven-time Maryland Sportscaster of the Year. Garceau is also honored as Baltimore's Pro Football Hall of Fame selector/voter. A native of the Upper Peninsula in Michigan, where he is a member of the area Hall of Fame, Scott has covered the NFL since 1971.