Ravens Defense Moves Up To No. 1, But Kicking Itself Over Touchdowns


With the first quarter of the NFL wrapped up, the Ravens defense sits atop the NFL, allowing just 256 yards per game.

A big question heading into Sunday's game was whether Baltimore's defense is legit. The Raiders' No. 2-ranked offense was a worthy test.

After surrendering just 261 total yards to the Raiders, keeping quarterback Derek Carr under 200 yards passing and shutting down Oakland's rushing attack, the Ravens proved they can slow a top-tier offense.

In fact, Baltimore's unit actually moved up in the NFL's defensive ranking from No. 2 to the top spot.

But there was no back patting after Sunday's 28-27 loss, not after allowing the Raiders to march on a six-play, 66-yard game-winning drive in the final minutes.

"We felt like we gave the game up," linebacker C.J. Mosley said. "The stats say that we did well, but I know how we play, how we feel about our defense. We don't want to give up those kind of plays."

The Raiders started their final offensive drive at their own 34-yard line in part because of a taunting penalty on wide receiver Mike Wallace after he spiked the ball following his successful two-point conversion catch.

Carr came out in the shotgun and completed two straight passes to wide receiver Michael Crabtree for 26 yards. The Raiders quickly went into their no-huddle offense.

On the Raiders' game-winning touchdown, Crabtree juked cornerback Shareece Wright with a fake to the outside and safety Kendrick Lewis, who was in the game for one play while Lardarius Webb was on the sideline being evaluated for a concussion, couldn't get in position in time to disrupt the pass.

Crabtree hauled in the perfect 23-yard pass and dragged his toes in the back of the end zone to put the Raiders back on top.

Both Webb and cornerback Jimmy Smith said it shouldn't have mattered that Lewis was in the game. It was a "next-man-up" situation, and Webb said there's no drop-off when Lewis enters the game.

Head Coach John Harbaugh said Monday there wasn't a communication mistake on the play as much as the coverage just wasn't played well enough.

"We've got to stay deep on one of the calls – on the touchdown – they're in the right coverage and we've got to stay deep on that," Smith said. "That was on us, the defense."

Mosley took personal responsibility for letting the Raiders' final drive get moving. He said the Ravens weren't in a Cover-2 or prevent defense.

"I think, on one of the passes, they just hit it behind one of our linebackers," Mosley said.

While the Ravens defense ranks first in the league in yards allowed per game, they are currently seventh in points per game. Baltimore has allowed 18 points per game, so Sunday's 28 points aren't up to their standard.

"That's not the way we want to be remembered," defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan said. "We've come too far, and we're too proud to have that be on our record. There's a lot of pride in this locker room, and there are good things ahead for this team."

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